Tomorrow is Vermont’s all-important primary. Four of the state’s elected offices have competitive primaries; there are competitive races among Republicans for the right to challenge U.S. Sen. Patrick Leady and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch; and we have a competitive write-in race for one of Addison County’s senate seats among Democrats. (See story, Page 1.)
Moreover, each vote cast in Tuesday’s primary is roughly the equivalent of four votes in any general election. How so? Primaries predictably attract far fewer voters than the general race in November and some predict that a quarter of the typical general election will vote Tuesday (if even that much.) That means your vote counts significantly more in this primary as a percentage of the total vote… particularly with expectations that the winning Democrat for governor might net less than 25,000 votes. Just think of that! If all of Addison County’s eligible voters went to the polls, this one county could sway the election!
We’re not suggesting that will happen, but if all of Addison County’s voters got behind the candidacy of New Haven’s Chris Bray for lieutenant governor, for example, it could have a significant impact, which is another reason why tomorrow’s vote is so important. In short, go vote.
Concerning our endorsements, so far we have favored Matt Dunne among the five Democrats running for governor; Rep. Chris Bray, D-New Haven, over Steve Howard as the Democrat for lieutentant governor; Jason Gibbs over Chris Roy for secretary of state for the Republicans and Jim Condos over Charlies Merriman for the Democrats for that same position; and we endorsed Doug Hoffer over Ed Flanagan for Auditor of Accounts for the Democrats, with Republican Tom Salmon running unopposed.
That leaves the Republican race for lieutenant governor and a recap of the Democrats in that race. Here’s our view:
Phil Scott and Chris Bray for Lt. Gov.
In the Republican race, Republicans are fortunate to have two capable candidates to choose from. Mark Snelling embodies a name synonymous with strong leadership with a background steeped in business experience and community service. Like his dad, Gov. Dick Snelling, and his mom, Barbara Snelling, Mark has a sincere interest to help the state move toward a more prosperous and healthy future, and he embraces the realistic view that not all things will be achievable in the short term. In fact, he often says that the goal is to be satisfied to have moved the direction the state is moving by a few degrees on the compass within any given number of years, but not to over-promise or expect lightning-fast shifts in policy or results.
On that score his theory may be right, but it’s crucial to have crystal clear goals and a clear vision of where the state needs to go if the biggest issues of the day are to be addressed with candor and foresight. Moreover, it’s imperative the next lieutenant governor be familiar with the legislators who are enmeshed in the daily action of the Legislature with a clear understanding of policy details as well as the broad vision to be an effective leader of the Senate. That will be doubly important next session as three key players in the Senate (Doug Racine, Peter Shumlin and Susan Bartlett) will not return, thus leaving a huge gap in Senate leadership. Snelling, who made an effort to be a presence in the legislative halls last session, will nonetheless have much to learn to get up to speed on the process and the details.
Phil Scott, on the other hand, is a proven legislative leader who has shown a knack for identifying problems and addressing them in a forthright and collaborative manner that has helped the Legislature achieve significant progress on several issues in his 10 years in the Senate. Scott, 52, is a small-businessman turned hands-on legislator born out of the frustration of dealing with a laborious permitting process under Act 250. Not that he is against Act 250, but that he has seen the headaches duplications in the permitting process have caused and still sees a need (even after the last improvements) to keep working to make the process more effective.
We also like that Scott is a Vermonter who has pulled himself up by his own bootstraps to a successful business career as well as a race -car driver at Thunder Road. His personal story is unique and taps into a spirit of independence and perseverance that perfectly fits his penchant for self-reliance rather than turning to the government for help.
Finally, bipartisan support for Scott is widespread with colleagues praising his ability to work with both sides of the political aisle to reach compromises and get measures passed.
All are important traits that make Scott the pick in this race.
On the Democrat ticket, we’ve previously outlined our preference for Chris Bray over Steve Howard. In short, Bray’s balanced approach to the issues, his depth of knowledge and experience, his astute observance of problems facing the state and imaginative solutions make him an excellent candidate for the office. To see the full endorsement, go to www.addisonindependent.com.
Angelo S. Lynn