Incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott turns to his re-election campaign for the general election, after securing his party’s nomination Tuesday night by warding off a challenge from Keith Stern.
"I believe public safety is [a governor's] highest obligation, and so I decided to take action, instead of inaction," Scott told VPR Wednesday afternoon. "And there were a number of people who were disappointed and angry about that, that signing, and chose themselves to take action."
In Scott's bid for a second two-year term, he’ll now face Democratic gubernatorial nominee Christine Hallquist on Nov. 6.
“We’ve been making some changes, but we need to continue. Because we know, I believe, that Vermont is unaffordable,” Scott said. “We have an affordability crisis on our hands, and we have the means to do something about it.”
Scott listed balanced budgets and level property tax rates — aside from the non-residential rate in the last legislative session — as accomplishments during his first term as governor. He also highlighted reductions in income tax rates and free tuition for those in the National Guard.
While Scott wouldn't commit to a pledge to not raise taxes or fees during his conversation with VPR, he said it's something he'd evaluate year-to-year, especially as Vermont experiences a budget surplus.
"I'll continue to advocate for living within our means, being able to utilize those surpluses to make investments as well, to give taxpayers relief," Scott said. "Because if we can't give them relief, if we can't make it more affordable in Vermont, we're not going to attract nor are we going to keep people here. And that's our biggest issue that we face."
Listen above to Scott's interview with VPR All Things Considered host Henry Epp.