Primary Preview: Gov. Phil Scott
Governor Phil Scott is seeking a second term in office later in November, but first he has to get through the Republican primary in August.
Governor Scott says Vermont is heading in the right direction and that he's proud of what his administration has accomplished in two years. "We had a very successful first term. Two years of no new taxes and fees, albeit one in the end of this session, Scott said.
He also points to lowering unemployment taxes, investing in affordable housing, and adding 4,000 workers to the payrolls. But he says, more work needs to be done. "Our workforce decline is something that we have to address," he said.
Scott says his second term will focus on getting more young people to raise their families in the Green Mountains, and that includes immigrants. "Legal immigration is something that should be highlighted. We should be attracting more people to the state of Vermont. We need more workers in the state of Vermont. We have jobs, we have opportunities, now we need people," he said.
When asked about his accomplishments during his first term, one major piece of legislation was noticeably left out -- gun control. "It certainly wasn't something that I was working on," Scott said.
This spring, Scott signed gun control restrictions into law, which among other things, increased the purchase age to 21 and banned high-capacity magazines. It came in response to the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and after a planned mass shooting at Fair Haven Union High School was exposed. The laws, which received bipartisan support in Montpelier, caused outrage among gun rights advocates.
"I chose action over inaction, and I know I disappointed many people in Vermont, but I am still a believer in the 2nd Amendment," Scott said.
He says keeping people safe is his number one priority, and that he's an independent when it comes to doing what he think is right. That includes publicly disagreeing with the Trump administration when he feels it's necessary. That's something he's done on immigration and climate change. "I have been a Republican a lot longer then the President has. Served the state for almost 18 years trying to make life better for Vermonters. I call them as I see them," Scott said.
And when asked if he has had any regrets in his first term?
"No regrets. Obviously we can always reflect on what we have done, and we probably could do things better," Scott said.
And making Vermont a better place is something he says he strives to do every day.