Q: Why should a REALTOR® vote for you?
A: My reputation is one of being not only a leader, but also someone who can act in the best interest of all Vermonters, reaching across party lines to bring about policy changes that are critical to sustaining our collective futures. Over the past decade in the Vermont Senate, I have served in leadership roles as Chair of the Senate Institutions Committee and Vice-Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, as well as numerous conference committees with members of both the Senate and House. In all of these capacities, I have earned the respect of my House and Senate colleagues, regardless of political affiliation. It's been said that I "have no agenda other than to move our state forward," and my leadership style has done that, even during the most difficult times.
Getting Vermont back on a track of economic recovery -- whether we're talking about the housing market, manufacturing or the energy sector -- calls for leaders who can put their personal agenda aside and work, as I have, with members of all parties and persuasions. As Lieutenant Governor, I would lead by example, drawing on the relationships I've built over the last 10 years to encourage my colleagues in the House and Senate to also set partisan rhetoric aside to get things done. I believe this is what Vermonters expect of their Lieutenant Governor.
On a personal note, I'm a native Vermonter who has invested in Vermont as a father, a sportsman, a business owner, and a state legislator. I was born in Barre, and currently am a resident of Berlin. I graduated from Spaulding High School in 1976 and the University of Vermont in 1980. I am co-owner of DuBois Construction Inc. in Middlesex, and I got there by working hard, from the ground up. My construction career began in 1976, working during the summer as a laborer at DuBois. By 1986, Don DuBois and I were running the day-to-day activities of the company.
My real-world, hands-on construction experience has been invaluable to the work faced over the last 10 years in the Legislature, and in particular, in the Institutions and Transportation Committees. I have been a true "citizen legislator," bringing the perspective of a hard-working Vermonter and a business owner to every issue I have faced as a state senator. I would bring this same perspective to the office of Lieutenant Governor.
Q: One of the Lt. Governor's many roles is presiding over the Vermont Senate, how would you describe your leadership style and what qualities will make you a good leader?
A: According to the Vermont Constitution, the Lieutenant Governor exercises executive responsibilities for the Governor in the Governor's absence, presides over the Senate, and casts a tie-breaking vote in the Senate if necessary.
This last role calls for a leader who's comfortable making tough decisions when all eyes are on him -- which I've demonstrated time and time again, most recently this past spring, as one of only four Vermont Senators to vote against shutting down Vermont Yankee. I believed at the time, and I still believe, that that was absolutely the right decision. I didn't feel that the Legislature had enough information to make that call and to put 650 people out of work. Even though that position wasn't popular with everyone, I wasn't afraid to stand up and speak my mind.
While the legislative duties of the Lieutenant Governor end with the adjournment of the legislative session, the executive responsibility -- to exercise the office of Governor in the Governor's absence -- is a role for which the Lieutenant Governor must always be "on-call". Along these lines, I have also heard consistently that Vermonters expect their Lieutenant Governor to be a true statesman: someone who bridges both leadership and legislative experience with the ability to work alongside any other member of government -- regardless of party affiliation -- to bring about the best possible results for Vermont citizens.
Q: How would you use the office of Lt. Governor to grow existing Vermont businesses, as well as attract new business and investment to Vermont?
A: The office of Lieutenant Governor is all about relationships. It's about working hard behind the scenes to bring people together in the Legislature and achieve consensus on key issues. Particularly right now, those key issues involve growing businesses and attracting new investment to Vermont.
As Lieutenant Governor, I would be a great person to do that "behind the scenes" work, because it's what I've been known for over the past 10 years. I will also be a champion for pro-job policies -- such as lower taxes and access to capital for small businesses -- that focus on getting Vermonters back to work. I will be a voice of fiscal common sense, always keeping in mind that the workers of Vermont pay the bills of state government. I will make sure we don't overlook the maintenance of, and investment in, the infrastructure that's key to business development and activity here in Vermont, including good roads, safe bridges, and wireless and broadband. I will also improve our permitting process to encourage responsible development that respects the environment.
Q: Vermont is facing a 120 million budget shortfall. How would you close this gap, spending cuts? Or tax increases? Try to be specific if possible.
A: As noted above, I will work to support job creation and aim to strengthen Vermont's infrastructure. I also believe that wind, solar and biomass have the potential to create jobs, jumpstart our economy through innovation, and lay the foundation for more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible energy generation in future years. Supporting those investments that will help grow the economy and generate revenue for all of us -- for businesses, for families, and, yes, for state government as well -- is an important part of addressing this problem.
I will also work to cut costs in state government, as I firmly believe that government must live within its means. Although I believe that "everything should be on the table" as we consider how to close the current budget gap, I believe strongly that a tax increase should be the absolute last resort. Vermonters are tapped out, and I believe that before state government "goes back to the well," we should go back to the table to consider other ways to cut costs. I believe there are many more opportunities to make state government run more efficiently and to eliminate non-essential services. That is where I would start.
Q: As Lt. Governor, how would you help to reverse the trend of Vermont's young adults from leaving the state?
The demographics of Vermont are of great concern to me. We do need to attract and retain young adults. I just met with student leaders from Lyndon State College. Their primary concern, echoed by other students throughout the state, is jobs. I'll keep our state leaders focused on finding practical solutions that will make it easier to make a living and make a home here in Vermont.
The question all of us in state government have to ask is, what can be done -- specifically -- to lower the cost of doing business in Vermont to help sustain the number of jobs we currently have and to create new ones? I believe that in order to improve Vermont's business climate, we need to reduce the tax burden, provide access to capital for small businesses, and jumpstart our economy through innovation.
We also need to focus on developing those sectors that can provide the most opportunities to retain and grow jobs. One of these sectors is manufacturing, which provides highly skilled, high-paying jobs, and also supports other sectors of the economy, such as packaging, retail and distribution. To give our state a strong competitive edge, we need to ensure that Vermont has a technically skilled and highly educated workforce. This calls for a focus on technical education programs and on making those programs more accessible to young people in all parts of the state.
Finally, we need to invest in the technology infrastructure that's critical to all sectors of the economy, as well as to education and innovation. I will be a strong voice for wireless and broadband. I believe our unreliable network of high speed internet and cell phone coverage is holding us back, and causing young people to leave for other states, where they can be more connected to the information and the opportunities they need to live, work, and learn.