Recapping Vt. Governor's Debate on WCAX

Published: Oct. 17, 2018 at 10:48 PM EDT
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Republican Gov. Phil Scott and Democratic challenger Christine Hallquist faced off in Channel 3's governor's debate Wednesday night.

After a quick coin toss the candidates were off, answering questions from Channel 3 and viewers. Hallquist touted her big plans and promised voters they won't result in tax increases.

Scott and Hallquist laid out their opponent's biggest weakness and tried to reinforce them.

"I think part of what I'm seeing is over-promising -- promising the world in order to get elected. And that's what politicians -- they fall into that trap, trying to appeal to the electorate in promising free college, free everything,” said Scott.

"Phil Scott lacks any long-term vision. It's very short-term thinking. It's almost thinking to the week. I believe the leader should have a vision that outlasts the leadership," said Hallquist.

Hallquist says she'll deliver a statewide fiber optic network, universal primary care and paid family leave -- without requiring Vermonters to pay more.

"I'm not going to raise taxes for health care. We're going to move to a less expensive model,” said Hallquist. "Universal primary care pays for itself."

Scott says her promises aren't realistic.

"Now these sound nice, they make nice sound bites, but Vermonters are going to pay and that's what we've tried to prevent over the last two years. We didn't raise a single tax or fee for the general fund," said Scott.

Hallquist blamed Scott for the extended legislative session that almost resulted in an unprecedented government shut down. She says his leadership style didn't work.

"I propose a completely alternative model to this command and control model. That works great during fire and power outages, but collaboration is the right answer,” Hallquist said.

She also sought to tie the governor to his fellow Republican, President Donald Trump -- but Scott brushed it off.

"Time and time again I've pushed back, worked with others, worked with other governors throughout the country in trying to do whatever we can to protect our states," said Scott.

With three weeks left before the election, both will try to reach the middle of the road voters. Whoever attracts more is likely to prevail.