Governor Shumlin went on Vermont Public Radio's Vermont Edition yesterday to speak on the 2012 legislative session. Read the clip below or listen here.
(Host) Governor Shumlin says he won't be distracted by the ongoing need to address a budget deficit and rebuild Vermont from Tropical Storm Irene.
As VPR's Ric Cengeri reports, the governor says he's committed to his full agenda.
(Cengeri) Last January during his inauguration speech, Governor Shumlin highlighted five key goals for 2011-2012. They included containing health care costs, educating the state's work force and making taxes fairer.
Another promise was to deliver broadband to the entire state by the end of 2013. He says the state is on track to deliver on that promise.
(Shumlin) "We're going to do that by driving fiber as deep and as wide as we can. And then we're building a canopy, a wireless canopy, that's going to get us the rest of the way. That won't be permanent. Over time, I'm sure fiber will be driven in those communities, but it's going to get access, and good speed to every community in Vermont, to every home. That's really important."
(Cengeri) Shumlin says he is also still committed to reaching his goal of supporting a renaissance in Vermont agriculture.
(Shumlin) "We really need to build regional processing facilities close to highways that any farmer can get into to have their product processed, labeled with their label in a joint marketing effort to get it out to bigger markets than just Vermont."
(Cengeri) The state is facing a $75 million deficit. But Shumlin says the budget can be balanced without hurting the most vulnerable Vermonters.
(Shumlin) "We continue to believe that we can do more for less and make government more efficient. And if anything proved that, it was Irene. And we were out rebuilding 500 miles of roads and bridges, 35 bridges, for literally 35 cents on a dollar."
(Cengeri) Shumlin pinpointed health care costs and corrections as two key areas where the state can realize more savings.
For VPR News, I'm Ric Cengeri.
(Host) Governor Shumlin will detail all of his ideas in his State of the State address on Thursday. VPR will have live coverage of the speech at 2.