Fox 44 "News" - A Closer Look at Anthony Pollina
Vermont's independent candidate for governor is having a tough time getting mentioned by his opponents on the campaign trail. Anthony Pollina says that's a good thing, because it's a sign that he's viewed as a serious contender in his run for the corner office.
Pollina knows the value of experience especially when it comes to running for Vermont's highest elected office for a second time.
"I find where ever I go first of all people know who I am and the work I've done over the years has, I think, created not just recognition but a trust," said Pollina.
During his first run for governor in 2000 he won less than 10% of the vote.
But this time he says things are different and voters are angry.
"People are just as frustrated with Montpelier as they are with Wall Street and I think they're really tired of being taken for granted," he said
In July, the 54 year old switched from the progressive party to become an independent to help increase his base, especially among republicans who were uneasy about backing a candidate from a liberal party. Pollina shrugs off criticism that switching parties during a campaign sends the wrong message to voters.
"You get involved in politics, everybody wants to put you in a box based on what party you are and a lot of folks said we want to support you but the party labels are a little bit of a problem for us. Can we find a way to move outside of those boxes? So that's what we've done," he said.
Pollina is better known this time and viewed as a much more serious candidate, winning endorsements from 3 unions including the Vermont State Employees Association.
What hasn't changed is perception that he's an outside candidate. Republican governor Jim Douglas and democrat Gaye Symington, who talk about each other often, rarely mention Pollina's name.
"I think they're afraid to talk about me because they understand that people recognize who I am. People do support a lot of my ideas particularly around the economy and my commitment to Vermonters. They are afraid to elevate their opponents," said Pollina.
Those ideas include a state self health insurance plan.
Pollina is also calling for regional energy zones to encourage more small scale renewable power generators and make the state less reliant on the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant.
"I would like to see Vermont Yankee shut down as soon as possible. It's not Vermont owned and it's not Vermont contracted and it's showing itself to not be particularly safe or reliable," he said.
Pollina insists his background makes him an effective leader, which includes serving as a senior policy advisor with the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, and co-founding the Vermont Milk Company which aims to keep farming viable.
He says a recent Rasmussen Reports poll putting him ahead of Symington underscores what he already knows, that he is a much better candidate this time around. Pollina says voters sense it and so do his competitors.
"I think Gaye Symington, as well as governor Douglas understands that to beat a challenger you need a lot of momentum, and right now we've got the momentum," said Pollina.