Thoughts From Vermont


This is continued from last week.

So I’m over here at Killington the skiing conditions are awesome. I didn’t get a chance to ask the Vermonter in my high-speed gondola what his position was about the upcoming race for Governor in the Green Mountain state.

I have my own ideas and speculation. For starters I think the Republican nominee has more or less been decided and this Lt. Governor Brian Dubie, former Air Force F-16 Pilot and officer in the Vermont and later Massachusetts Air National Guard. Some politicos I’ve spoken to in Vermont say that Lt. Governor isn’t much more than a ceremonial position. I’m not sure if this is the case but it appears to me that Dubie has really used the office to advance some issues most namely would be some his trade missions that have produced tangible results. One of these trade missions has been to South Korea where a biotech company is announcing in the Caledonian Record newspaper plans to build a factory near Jay Peak Ski Resort which will employ over 350 people. Jay Peak is near Newport, Vermont and the Canadian border and has some of the highest unemployment rates in the state. I wish projects like this were happening over here in New Hampshire. When Dubie speaks in public I think he comes across as plain spoken which resonates well with many voters, at least it did when he ran for Lt. Governor. But this is a state that has sales, income taxes and property taxes that are commensurate with New Hampshire.

Every Vermonter I’ve spoken with says taxes are just too high in Vermont for what the state is providing.

The Democratic candidate will be a bit harder to call. The leading name I’m hearing is former Senator Doug Racine who comes from the right area of Vermont to be a Democrat, Burlington. I think there is at least one analysts report out there that says no candidate for major office in Vermont in the past 30 years has ever won without first gaining the political and financial support from sources that originate in Chittenden County. So if this is the case I think it will be interesting to see which way the pendulum will swing. I’ll give a slight advantage to Dubie in this one.

I’m thinking about this race because I think there are so many areas in which Vermont and New Hampshire could be working together on issues that face both states in issues that range from education to transportation systems. I’ve been attending meetings of the Vermont Rail Council which meets quarterly in Montpelier. The Vermont Rail Council was created about seven years ago via an executive order and as such the council which is comprised of appointed members serves as a major policy arm of both the Governor and the Vermont Agency of Transportation. And right now the big news in Vermont is the federal grant for $50 million dollars to upgrade the trackage of the New England Central Railroad (NECR) which is the major north-south rail artery through Vermont.

And a project that will indirectly affect New Hampshire.