The two major candidates for governor of Vermont offer a clear choice for voters.
Republican Phil Scott has dodged a lot of questions about where he stands on issues and I find that troubling. When asked about the legalization of marijuana he has said that we should go slowly and wait to see how things play out in other states. He did not state clearly whether he is opposed to legalization, stating he might not be against it down the road. Vermonters deserve a clearer answer.
Scott has said that he would get rid of the current health care exchange and opt for a federal version. That kind of change would be disruptive to a lot of Vermonters and could cost the state more money than it could save. This kind of move sounds more like politics than pragmatism.
From what I have seen and heard, Scott talks a good game and throws out ideas. I would like to hear more detail in relation to his "accomplishments" while in the Legislature and while serving as Lt. Governor. I suspect he may be proud of pushing legislation to include items that are more conservative than the democratic majority.
"Even as a member of the minority party my approach of listening, learning and leading has led to numerous legislative accomplishments, program developments and fiscally responsible changes that I'm proud to have championed," he says on his website. So why does he not list those changes? That's because Scott is touting style over substance, so if we want a governor who acts like a nice guy but who may not be able to get things done, he is your man.
Then there is the conflict of interest issue. Scott is a partner in the Dubois Construction Company and they have received state contracts during the years that Scott has served in state government. While that fact did not create a legal problem, I find it odd that the issue of conflict of interest only arises now when Scott is running for governor. He said he will sell his shares in the company if elected but that is too little too late.
Democrat Sue Minter was Vermont Transportation Secretary and she was in charge of the tropical storm Irene recovery effort. It was a monumental task that she proved she could handle and the state is better off for it.
Minter's economic plans differ markedly from Scott who has adopted a page out of the Republican playbook that pushes for business support and tax reductions to businesses as a major strategy. Minter has a more global approach as stated on her web site. "Growing Vermont's economy for the future will take investing in infrastructure and downtowns, fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, developing a workforce for the 21st century and supporting our local green economy."
Minter knows a lot about Vermont's infrastructure and in order to implement her plans she will not have to spend time getting up to speed. Her plans focus on the strength of Vermonters and that is something we need to keep in mind when we are casting our ballots.
In terms of economic growth, Minter has stated she wants to support Vermont families while Scott pushes for the old style Reagan policies of trickle-down economics where government gives a break to businesses so they can make all of us strong. How's that working now?
The most impressive ideas I have heard from Minter have to do with health care reform. I had a chance to question her directly in a small group and I was impressed with her understanding of what the real needs are in the health care system. She recognizes a need for reform measures that aim to coordinate care because she has seen how much fragmentation there is among the large variety of service providers we have in the state. We need a governor who understands issues at that level of detail, not someone who paints health care issues with broad strokes and easy to understand sound bites.
Richard Davis is a registered nurse. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.