Davis: Voting for governor

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Vermont's primary is August 9. If history is any indication, a small percentage of voters will decide the two candidates at the top of the ticket for governor as well as all the other seats up for grabs. This election for governor is important because the incumbent is not running and whoever wins the seat will set the tone for politics in the state for at least two years, and more likely longer.

Last week three of the Democratic candidates for governor came to talk to the Senior Solutions Advisory Board of which I am a member. We listened to their mini-speeches of priorities and qualifications and then we asked questions.

Sue Minter, Matt Dunne and Peter Galbraith would all be intelligent and competent governors. The all have a passion for working to make Vermont the best state possible. But there are differences that have to be considered.

Minter has a long history in state government and she was the person who was responsible for cleanup and recovery after tropical storm Irene. She did a remarkable job and was able to get Vermonters to dig in and fix things not only in the short run but also for the future.

Listening to her talk about issues from support for the elderly population to transportation and housing makes me believe she understands how things really work. For me, that translates into a governor who will actually get things done. She stresses teamwork and she has proven she knows how to get teams to work together.

When it comes to health care and issues affecting elders she seems to understand some of the systemic problems and is able to offer realistic approaches. What struck me in particular were her comments about the need for coordination among the variety of health care and supportive services. That means she has done her homework and knows where to put her energy as governor.

Dunne is also a seasoned legislator who has spent a number of years working for Google. He likes to stress the point that Vermont needs an information technology savvy governor. There is no doubt that his skill set would be a big asset to state government. And it is no surprise that one of his priorities would be to fix the troubled-plagued Health Connect web site.

He also has a number of ideas for raising revenue to pay for some of his bold ideas to move the state forward. They seem doable and he has a new kind of energy that would be a breeze of fresh air for Vermont.

Peter Galbraith served as a Windham County state Senator and he also has international credentials as an ambassador. His ideas seemed well crafted but that was the problem. They were crafted and did not seem to reflect some of the realities facing state government. I got the impression that he was too intent on selling himself as a product and not letting people see this man who wants to become governor.

In addition, Galbraith had a well known track record in the Senate of not being able to get along well with his peers. He is not a compromiser and he did not prove to be a consensus builder. Those qualities would make it difficult for him to be an effective governor.

The Republican candidates for governor are Lt. Governor Phil Scott and Bruce Lisman. It is clear to anyone remotely interested in politics that Lisman has no chance of beating Scott in the primary. Scott has a reputation of being a nice guy who is well liked. He may be a somewhat liberal Republican, but being a nice guy isn't enough to be governor.

When it comes time to cast your vote I hope you think about what the candidate could actually do while in office and how they would direct the future of Vermont.

Richard Davis is a registered nurse. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at rbdav@comcast.net. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.


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