Vice President Mike Pence visiting Vermont

Published: Aug. 29, 2019 at 3:26 PM EDT
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Vice President Mike Pence landed at the Burlington airport just before 11 a.m. Friday in a white plane with no emblems on it, much different than last year when he landed in a big blue and white plane with Air Force Two on the side.

The vice president made a stop in Burlington for some biking on the bike path before heading to Hubbardton and Lake Hortonia, arriving late Friday afternoon-- a repeat visit from last year.


Our Ike Bendavid filed his report from Hubbardton, just a few miles away from Lake Hortonia, because there is no cell service near Lake Hortonia. That's why people told him they visit or live there-- it's a place where they can go and relax. It's also where Vice President Mike Pence is vacationing for the second year in a row.

With the radio on and the boats in the water, it's another day on the lake.

"It's a beautiful location," said Russell Liskov, a visitor from Connecticut. "We have always loved it. It's quiet, as you see, there is nobody around here."

What locals call a hidden gem of a vacation spot is not so hidden anymore with a second visit from the vice president of the United States.

"Everybody is excited to see him," said Gary MacDonald of Hubbardton.

Pence is spending the weekend for the second year in on row on Lake Hortonia. His motorcade arrived late Friday afternoon as state and federal authorities secured the area.

MacDonald says he hung up his American flag in anticipation of the arrival.

"What would I say to him? Thank him for his service and thank him for everything that he does for us," MacDonald said.

But not everybody is excited about the arrival.

"I figured I would use my freedom of speech and send a little message," said Alan Grossman of Hubbardton.

On the same dirt road that leads to the lakefront home where Pence is staying, Grossman wanted to make his political stance clear with a homemade Bernie Sanders sign.

"I wish I had a premade sign," he said. "But I don't so I did the best I could."

Last year, from a boat, our Ike Bendavid was able to see the vice president at the house where he was staying. Nearby residents and neighbors say they say him paddle boarding and on boats, as well enjoying his vacation on Lake Hortonia.

"We saw him driving around on a pontoon boat," Liskov said. "We don't want to bother the guy. He works hard enough."

Friday, state police could be seen patrolling the waters and blocking off roads. Our crew went as far as they were allowed toward the house where Pence is staying but they were stopped by the Secret Service.

It's still unclear how long the vice president will be staying in Vermont. But we do know that his boss, President Trump, has requested that Pence is in Poland Saturday night.


Our Cat Viglienzoni spent the day tracking the vice president's travels in the Burlington area.

She saw the helicopter flying over Burlington and went to see if Pence was seeing the sights of the Queen City. As she spotted the motorcade at the U.S. Coast Guard station at the Burlington Waterfront, a group of cyclists came out. One of them was Mike Pence.

As state police and Guard members waited for the vice president's arrival at the airport Friday morning, so did a few onlookers. Most of whom had no idea the country's second-in-command was arriving in minutes.

"We're sitting here at the Medical Store and voila! We see Vice President Mike Pence," Michelle Kolssak said.

The Kolssak family is visiting Vermont from Chicago for a hockey tournament and happened to be here. The daughters thought the motorcade was pretty neat!

"I thought it was pretty exciting to see Mike Pence, our vice president," Karly Kolssak said.

"I think it was pretty cool seeing the vice president," Taylor Kolssak said.

Kimberly Lyford of Swanton also happened to be there watching and she wasn't impressed.

"I thought, what the heck, I'll sit here and watch it. But it didn't give me like goosebumps or anything like that," Lyford said. "Spending all this money for him to drive by-- it was like, there was no wow-factor for me, no wow-factor at all."

Our cameras caught up to the motorcade later at the Coast Guard station in Burlington. And we got video of the vice president and his entourage heading out the bike path toward the skate park. He gave us a wave before biking off but he didn't come back the same way.

Overhead, a helicopter circled the city keeping a watchful eye.

We asked people on Church Street what they thought of his visit and got mixed reactions.

"I think it's great that any vice president or president comes to a part of the country that really has issues that need to be addressed," said David Call, who supports the visit.

"Not great," said Corrinne of Rochester, New York, who didn't share her last name. "We wish he hadn't come at all. It kinda ruined my vacation."

"I think it is exciting that he is taking the time to come to a small state like Vermont. Other candidates have been here and I think it has made a difference for them," said Ellen Baker of Burlington.

"I just feel like it is an administration that has done a lot of damage to our country, our country's reputation, and to people's lives, and people's families, and it's really sad," said Donica Reardon, who opposes the visit.

We don't yet know how much this visit will cost Vermont. State police cannot comment on any visit while it's happening.

We know last year's visit cost them $100,000. But that was also a longer trip, so this one may be less.

However, we won't know for sure until it's over.