Editorial: Sue Minter earns nod for governor in Dem’s primary

In the Democratic primary for governor, Sue Minter has emerged as the strongest candidate as the heat of the campaign nears the Aug. 9 vote.
Minter has been in a neck-and-neck battle with Google executive and former state legislator Matt Dunne throughout the primary, though Dunne has lost key support among some environmentalists in the past week. Meanwhile, former U.S. diplomat and state Sen. Peter Galbraith’s progressive campaign never garnered enough public support to be a serious contender.
Minter’s strength has always been her organizational skills, a collaborative approach to governing and management, and a strong sense of herself and the positions she advocates. She is smart — she is a Harvard graduate magna cum laude and also earned a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — and is known for analyzing policy questions quickly. She is also very thorough in her proposals, carefully crafting policies to reflect the state’s needs while dedicating sources of funding to pay for the measures she advocates.
One example is her Vermont Promise initiative that will provide two free years of tuition for eligible Vermont high school graduates to the Community College of Vermont (CCV) and Vermont Technical College. Her goal, she says, is by 2025, to have initiated a policy that will see 75 percent of Vermont high school graduates continue on to postsecondary education. Minter rightly labels the current situation, in which four out of 10 Vermont high school graduates do not continue on to higher education, an opportunity gap. She is right to emphasize that we condemn our high school graduates to poverty unless we provide them the skills they need to compete in a global economy.
Vermont Promise will cost $6 million its first year and $12 million the second and each year thereafter. Minter has proposed funding the program via a bank franchise fee on the state’s largest banks and by expanding Vermont’s corporate income tax to include the biggest banks doing business in Vermont — a tax neighboring states impose but Vermont does not.
As a policy proposal, Vermont Promise is well conceived, addresses a crucial need with an appropriate fix and has been well received. It is an example of how thorough she is with each of her policy proposals — a stark contrast with her likely Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott.
Minter has also taken a strong and sensible stand on gun control by suggesting criminal background checks to prevent Vermonters with previous domestic assault charges from being able to buy a gun. She has made it part of her campaign to pull back the blinders on the issue, noting that Vermont ranks 8th in the nation for domestic homicides, half of which are committed with a gun. She would also support a ban on military-style assault weapons. It’s a sensible policy that the vast majority of Vermonters embrace.
Minter is also the only candidate who has proposed a plan to capitalize on Vermont’s outdoor recreational opportunities. Among other things, Minter’s plan would expand the state’s trail networks, expand the state’s hut systems, recruit outdoor businesses to Vermont and designate an Outdoor Recreation Director to serve as a single point of contact for businesses interested in locating in Vermont and young entrepreneurs hoping to break into this growing industry. Minter notes that the outdoor recreational economy currently supports 34,000 direct jobs and $753 million in wages, generating $176 million in state and local tax revenue. She wants to use the state’s natural assets to boost that already robust economy — a business savvy approach to creating jobs that has heretofore been under-utilized.
Minter’s business plan includes more than promoting outdoor recreation, of course. She touts two proposals — InvestVT and InnovateVT — that outline ways to invest in the state’s mid-size communities, and boost four cutting edge sectors of the state’s economy: clean energy and efficiency, farm and forest production, the tech industry and next generational manufacturing.
While overly broad and not was well defined as other aspects of her policy proposals, her economic plan demonstrates a willingness to think anew and take an activist role in helping boost the economy.
On renewable energy, the topic that has landed Dunne in hot water this past week, Minter’s approach is to embrace a mix of renewable energy sources to meet the state’s aggressive goals of being 90 percent fossil fuel free by 2050. Hers is a reasonable position — nothing radical, but balanced, focused and collaborative within the Democratic and Progressive caucuses.
We like Dunne’s approach to economic development, appreciate his unique skill set in the tech industry, and applaud many of his progressive stands, such as getting corporate money out of elections. His IT background makes him the most qualified to right the wrongs of Vermont Health Connect’s struggling exchange and craft a viable health care system as imagined in the Shumlin administration. But he’s drifted off course in the last weeks of the campaign, trying too hard to attract specific blocs of voters in an all-out push to win, including some political insinuations against Minter that were over-the-top and reflected poorly on Dunne’s campaign. We understand that politics is a blood sport (even in Vermont) and coming in a close second is no great shakes, but it’s also a test of consistency and character. Voters will be the judge on that crucial and defining factor on Aug. 9.
Our vote in the Democratic primary will be for Sue Minter, who has emerged as a trustworthy, intelligent and engaging candidate who is at once bold in her proposals, yet cautious in her thorough approach to the details to ensure her policies will get the job done right.
Angelo S. Lynn

Share this story:

More News
News Uncategorized

Fresh Air Fund youths returning to county

The Fresh Air Fund, initiated in 1877 to give kids from New York City the opportunity to e … (read more)

Obituaries Uncategorized

Mark A. Nelson of Bristol

BRISTOL — A memorial service for Mark A. Nelson of Bristol will be held 1 p.m. on Saturday … (read more)

Sports Uncategorized

High school athletes ready for fall playoffs this week

See when your favorite high school team is competing in the fall sports playoffs.

Share this story: