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Democrat Brenda Siegel on making housing, drug policy the center of her bid for governor

A woman in a dark blazer and white shirt stands in front of a brick background.
Matthew Smith
Vermont Public
Democrat Brenda Siegel talks with Vermont Edition about her campaign for governor and challenging the Republican incumbent, Gov. Phil Scott.

Brenda Siegel is the Democratic nominee for governor, facing incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott in the November election. This hour, we talk with candidate Siegel about her goals for the office, and her campaign priorities around housing, drug policy, climate change and more.

Our guest is:

  • Brenda Siegel, the Democratic nominee for Vermont governor in the Nov. 8 election

Siegel said she supports climate legislation that her opponent, Gov. Phil Scott, vetoed this year.

She said she thinks Gov. Scott should not have vetoed the clean heat standard, a policy that would've driven Vermont fossil fuel suppliers to provide ever-cleaner fuel for heating homes.

Siegel said, if elected, she would surround herself with climate scientists to advise her on similar bills.

"I think it's really important that this highlights the need to have climate scientists as part of your administration. It's essential if you want to meet your climate goals, then we need to make sure we have the right people advising in the administration."

Siegel said, as governor, she would prioritize helping the state meet its 2030 emission reduction goals.

She also responded to critics who focused on her lack of political experience.

While she has never held elected office before, Siegel said she's worked for years as a housing and drug policy advocate.

She added that structural barriers keep too many people from climbing the political ladder.

"I say that that ladder has rotten rungs and it's rickety. To join the legislature, it is very low pay and you would have to leave your family for a period of time. And if you're a single mom, or the only parent of your child, then it's absolutely a nonstarter."

Siegel herself is a single mother and identifies as low-income.

Listen to the full interview to hear more from candidate Brenda Siegel about how she would address the opioid epidemic, fund public safety and social services, and address education challenges in Vermont.

Broadcast live at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or tweet us @vermontedition.

Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.