Campaign 2014

Voters may be forgiven for feeling unaware of the issues and candidates in the race for state Treasurer. While the Legislature gets to decide how the state spends its money, it’s the treasurer’s job to oversee the funds in the state’s bank accounts, and that includes pension funds for public employees.

Angela Evancie / VPR

In the final weeks of the campaign, the future of Medicare benefits for Vermont seniors has become a hotly debated issue in the race for governor.

It's an explosive subject because candidates who suggest changes to Medicare risk losing the support of many voters over 65.  

So how did Medicare become an issue in the governor’s race? 

Lt. Governor's Debate

Oct 28, 2014

Candidates for lieutenant governor met in a live debate on VPR on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.

Bob Kinzel and Jane Lindholm moderated a 90-minute debate with the three candidates running for lieutenant governor: incumbent Republican Phil Scott, Progressive and Democratic nominee Dean Corren, and Marina Brown of the Liberty Union Party.

Dan Feliciano, the Libertarian candidate for governor who’s using an anti-single-payer message to draw conservative votes, will hit the television airwaves for the first time this election cycle.

Nina Keck / VPR

State’s Attorney races are often among the more ho-hum campaigns each election season. But this year, several incumbents face strong challenges, including Rutland’s State’s Attorney Marc Brierre.

Brierre has worked as a state prosecutor in Rutland for more than 30 years and was appointed to lead the office in 2009 by then-governor Jim Douglas. 

Douglas has lauded what he calls Brierre’s principled leadership and has encouraged voters to re-elect the 63-year old military veteran.

Angela Evancie / VPR

For an office that can't actually do that much, the race for Vermont's Lieutenant Governor – between incumbent Republican Phil Scott and Progressive/Democratic candidate Dean Corren – is getting a lot of attention.

VPR's Peter Hirschfeld explains why.

Angela Evancie / VPR File

Recently, top Republicans held a secret meeting to urge Libertarian Dan Feliciano to drop out of the governor’s race because they feel Feliciano is drawing votes away from GOP candidate Scott Milne.  

The effort was unsuccessful, and points to a continuing rift between two factions of the Vermont Republican Party.

Political analyst Eric Davis of Middlebury College looks at the role of voter turnout in statewide and legislative races and which parties are better organized for voter turnout; gives an update on the governor's race between incumbent Democrat Peter Shumlin and Republican challenger Scott Milne; and he describes a quietly-held meeting between the Milne campaign and Libertarian Dan Feliciano in which Republicans tried to convince Feliciano to leave the race.

Courtesy Dean Corren

Candidates have a week and a half of campaigning left before Election Day, and Dean Corren is among those working hard for votes. He's the Progressive and Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, and he's our guest Friday on Vermont Edition. We'll look at why he's made single-payer health care his top priority and the challenges in implementing that system.

Also in the program, political analyst Eric Davis looks at the impact of what will likely be a low voter turnout election.

And we listen back to some of the voices in the week's news.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne says Vermont is in need of a short-term economic stimulus. And his controversial plan would extend substantial tax cuts to Vermont businesses and their investors.

It took a while for Milne to unveil any specific policy proposals. But the challenger to Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin is looking to generate some late-race momentum with what he admits is a quote “provocative” concept.

The Ebola virus has infected very few people in the United States, and none here in Vermont. But political debate about the disease has spread to the state’s congressional race. 

Incumbent Democrat Peter Welch and his Republican opponent Mark Donka have very different opinions about whether a travel ban is the best way to fight Ebola. 

Vermont’s teachers’ union isn’t happy with Gov. Peter Shumlin. In the midst of the South Burlington teacher strike that ended earlier this week, Shumlin weighed in on the issue, saying he believes strikes should be illegal for Vermont teachers. Shumlin favors binding arbitration for teachers and school boards in labor disputes.

The NEA agrees, but they were more than slightly irritated that Shumlin chose to raise the issue in the middle of a strike.

Toby Talbot / AP

Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott is running for his third term as Vermont’s second in command and as the highest-ranking Republican in the state.

He shares his thoughts on single-payer health care, school funding, renewable energy, job creation and stimulating the Vermont economy. And we’ll get his reaction to the IBM sale of the Essex plant.

Also on the program, we talk with Christine Ryan, executive director and lobbyist for the Vermont State Nurses' Association, about the shortage of psychiatric nurses in the state.

iStock / Thinkstock

Property tax reform has become a key issue in the race for lieutenant governor. Although the two leading candidates have very different plans to reduce tax burdens on the middle class, they both see an expanded role for state government in education funding.

Republican incumbent Phil Scott and his Progressive and Democratic challenger Dean Corren do agree on one thing: Many middle class families are getting hammered by higher property tax burdens.

Scott Milne, by his own account, likes to keep things "boring." But political insiders have been wondering just how boring the Republican candidate can afford to be; Gov. Peter Shumlin has already put out four television ads and as of Oct. 15, Milne's only ad buys were on Facebook.

Andy Duback / AP/file

Election Day is a little more than two weeks away. That has candidates and parties scrambling to connect with voters.

As part of our ongoing coverage of Campaign 2014, we hear from Vermont Republican Party Chairman David Sunderland, Progressive State Representative and House Caucus Leader Chris Pearson, and Democratic State Representative Kesha Ram.

They discuss their priorities as voters go to the polls to elect members of the Legislature. And we look at whether  the Democrats will be able to maintain their large majority in the Vermont House and Senate. 

Angela Evancie / VPR File Photo

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne voluntarily disclosed his personal financial information Thursday, despite Vermont’s lack of financial disclosure laws for politicians. Milne released his 2012 and 2013 tax returns and a completed “Ethics in Government Act Financial Disclosure Statement,” which is required for members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dean Corren’s media blitz is in full swing in October, as the Progressive/Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor’s $34,500 in media buys this month more than quadruple his previous spending. But the big increase doesn’t push Corren past incumbent Phil Scott, who dropped $50,000 this month for media help from Hen House Media in Williston.

Bob Kinzel / VPR

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Milne has unveiled an education plan that he says will reduce property tax burdens and make higher education more affordable for Vermont students.

The key to the plan is convincing local school boards to make significant cuts to their budgets by reducing staffing levels.

Milne’s press conference in the library of Spaulding High School in Barre marked the first time in his campaign that he’s met with a group of reporters to discuss a major policy issue.

The Vermont Democratic Party is among the most powerful political organizations in the state. And its vast electoral resources have been the difference between victory and defeat for many candidates.

But not everyone with a ‘D’ before their name gets to enjoy all the benefits that the Democratic Party has to offer.