4 Issues: Candidate Sue Minter On Guns, Taxes, Marijuana And Health Care

Jun 17, 2016

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter stopped by Vermont Edition on Wednesday for a one-on-one interview as we look ahead to the August primaries. This interview is part of VPR’s "Meet the Candidates" series, where we will address a range of topics, but also want each participating candidate’s thoughts on four specific issues: gun control, taxes, marijuana legalization and health care.

Questions on these four topics were posed to Minter by host Jane Lindholm during the Vermont Edition interview on June 15. Below are the audio clips from the sections of Minter's interview that addressed these particular topics, as well as an excerpt quote from Minter's response. (You can find the full interview with Sue Minter here.)

Gun control

"This has really been an issue that I stepped forward with early in my campaign after the tragedy in Colorado with Planned Parenthood, and I decided to support strong measures to promote gun safety with background checks for all gun sales, and I'll tell you why. You know, people tell me that we don't have a problem here in Vermont. But I know we do. And it often is behind closed doors ... We have background checks existing at all federally-licensed gun dealers, and what I'm saying is let's do the same for all gun sales. But I also, after the tragedy in Orlando, have stepped forward to say we also need to ban assault weapons."

Taxes

"I really think what we need to do is look at a very broad tax reform. When you think about it, we are building our tax code based on a system that was started in the 1950s. And when we add and add and add, it really becomes unwieldy. Our economy has dramatically changed since then ... I do hear property tax as the biggest cost driver for so many sort of middle class Vermonters, those who may not qualify for the income sensitivity provisions in the current system. I think we've got to address the rising property tax. That would be the priority."

Marijuana legalization

"I do support the legalization of marijuana and I'll tell you why ... I know that A) we're a high-using state of marijuana and B) that young people say they have greater access to marijuana than they do to alcohol. That's because prohibition hasn't worked ... I have three key issues. First, how do we regulate and distribute this? I want to make sure that we are getting people to use — when they do use — safe products, so I want to use the medical dispensaries as the distributors and build slowly from there. Second, as a mom, I am so concerned that we have robust education and prevention programs ... But third, as the former secretary of transportation, I'm very concerned about the impaired driving challenge that we already have and I want to know that our program will include enforcement and a roadside test."

Health care

"Really for me the priority for health care begins with making sure Vermont Health Connect functions. Not only for the people it serves — and I am one of them — but to make sure we can restore faith in government that has been so undermined. I care deeply about making government function and function well and providing good customer service."

"That said, now the second key thing is reducing costs because it is health care costs that are really driving and breaking the banks of our families, our schools and driving property taxes and our state budget. So if we do nothing about the rising cost of health care, we are losing out ... We have to really reform how we deliver care and how we pay for it."

Click each audio file to hear the candidate's full comments on these four topics. Listen to the entire interview on these and many other topics here.