Rutland newspaper publisher plans run for governor

RUTLAND — The former owner and publisher of theBrandon Reporter and Vermont Ski News and founder of the Vermont Ski Museum has announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor.
Roy Newton, who publishes theLakeside News and the Rutland Sun, made the announcement on the campus of Castleton State College on April 25.
“I am so proud that it is possible for an ordinary person, an average Vermonter, to be able to make such an announcement in this place we call America, out of the clear blue sky,” he said. “I can think of no greater place than right here at Castleton State College, as it truly does represent a unique part of Vermont, at its best.”
Newton, 68, said he has dreamed of running for governor since he was a small child.
“Yes, humble old me, a guy who, when he was 11 years old, chased grass snakes that scared him to death … is able to compete for governor at a very different time in life,” Newton said.
A native of Middlebury, Newton is a Castleton graduate.
In an interview Saturday, Newton was asked why he finally chose to run this year after dreaming of the idea for so long.
“Probably because the opportunity at this stage of my life is the last opportunity to serve,” he said, adding, “I haven’t done it before because I was not in such disagreement with the direction Vermont is headed as I am today. That’s why I chose to run now, because people need a clear choice.”
Newton will have his work cut out for him, opposing Republican State Sen. Randy Brock of Swanton in the state’s Republican Primary this August. Brock has served two terms in the state Senate and was a one-term state auditor (2006-2007) during Jim Douglas’ third term as governor.
Regardless, Newton exhibits a great deal of confidence that his camp will win the Republican nomination in four months.
“We will win because I believe that policies we are adopting for the campaign will be well received by Vermonters,” he said.
Newton started Vermont Ski News in 1987 and theReporter in 1996. In 2005, he sold both publications to Addison Independent publisher Angelo Lynn. That same year, he started theLakeside News covering Poultney, Fair Haven, Bomoseen and Castleton. He added coverage of Rutland City in 2010.
Newton founded the Vermont Ski Museum (now located in Stowe) in 1988, and it is still in operation as a nonprofit organization.
Topping Newton’s list of issues is the state’s high taxes and the rising cost of education. He said he supports a return to local control of schools and curriculum.
“There are too many mandates from the state and the fed,” he said. “We need to go back to local administration and local control over curriculum. We need to embrace technology more.”
Newton also said the recent mandate from the state Department of Education requiring students to take algebra and geometry is misguided.
“That’s counterproductive,” he said. “Not all students should be in algebra and geometry. We’re not being innovative in our approach to education.”
Newton would also like to see the end of standardized testing and a total rethinking of the state’s educational system.
“These kids today are going around the world in cyberspace,” he said. “The whole construct of learning has to change for the 21st century. We need to come up with a new system and empower the local educators and students to be part of the future.”
Newton has an entire theory as to why Vermont’s high property taxes are contributing to the demise of the family unit.
“These parents are so worried about how they’re going to pay their taxes and put food on the table,” he said. “They should be spending more time nurturing their families.”
Newton said, in his opinion, that scenario is leading to the breaking up of families and more dependence on drugs and social programs that keep participants from getting a leg up. He said by lowering taxes, the state would ultimately spend less on social programs because the need for those programs would be diminished.
“It all ends up back in the hands of the state and the welfare system,” he said. “We could still have taxation, but if we had our families not so concerned with paying high taxes, the problems with the state would be reduced. If you do that, you’ll see a decrease in these programs that have mushroomed into uncontrollable dollars to help these people.”
Newton also weighed in on some of the issues of the day, saying he:
•  Supports having electric utility Central Vermont Public Service Corp. return $21 million to ratepayers as a result of the pending merger with Green Mountain Power.
•  Supports streamlining state regulations and costs to the business community to attract new businesses to the state and aid job creation.
•  Supports issuing permits for the proposed Beaver Wood biomass plant in Fair Haven, saying it is “long overdue and should be on the fast track.”
•  Does not support a proposed wind energy project on Grandpa’s Knob in West Rutland, Pittsford and Hubbardton, saying wind power “has not proven to be a worthwhile renewable resource. I’m opposed to the cost involved.” Newton added that he has been saying for years that the state’s ski areas are a prime location for wind power, where the areas can use the power for their facilities.
At his campaign kick-off on April 25 in Castleton, Newton stressed his belief in dignity for all Vermonters.
“I will demand that it is incorporated into Vermont’s public policies, in terms of our evolving education, our described ‘system of justice,’ our medical integrity and, to be straightforward, our current methods of taxation,” Newton said. “Isn’t this the path we should take into the future; where dignity and sustainability are closer to the foreground of our lives and our communities? I am a participant, and with your support, we will dignify Vermont.”

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