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In Campaign Launch, GOP's Milne Hits Shumlin's 'Radical Agenda'

Pomfret businessman Scott Milne has formally entered the race to win the Republican nomination for governor.

Milne says his moderate approach on issues will be in sharp contrast to what he calls "the radical agenda" of incumbent Gov. Peter Shumlin.  

On Wednesday, about 100 people crowded into the community room of the Aldrich Public Library in Barre to be part of Milne’s campaign kickoff. The group included many Republican lawmakers from central Vermont, as well as Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, and former governor Jim Douglas.

In his remarks, Douglas outlined the basic agenda that Milne will use in his effort to defeat Shumlin, the two term incumbent Democrat. Douglas said Vermont faces "an affordability crisis" of high taxes and slow business growth, and he says the state’s low unemployment rate doesn’t tell the real story about the condition of Vermont's economy.

"We want to end this era of unbridled experimentation with our government." - GOP gubernatorial hopeful Scott Milne

"Our workforce is shrinking. It's down by 8,500 since the time I left office and just last month another 900 Vermonters joined the ranks of the unemployed," said Douglas. "A low unemployment rate doesn't really matter much if the numerator and the dominator are both shrinking. We've got some serious problems in our workforce and we need leadership to address them."

And Douglas said the rocky rollout of the state’s health care exchange ought to be a warning about Shumlin's plan to implement a single payer system in Vermont in 2017.

"We don't know how it will work, we don't know how much it will cost, we don't know how we're going to fund it," said Douglas. "Other than that it sounds like a great idea."

Milne told the crowd that he plans to run a relatively low budget campaign that will be fueled by issues. 

Credit Angela Evancie / VPR
"You may have heard we're running a little bit of a contrarian campaign," Milne said. "And we're going to stick to that."

“You may have heard we’re running a little bit of a contrarian campaign and we’re going to stick to that. I promise to run a campaign of ideas,” said Milne. “I promise to provide the voters of Vermont with an alternative to the present administration which has failed by steering the ship of state into unchartered waters, making promises it cannot fulfill and, I would argue, ignoring the basic needs of Vermonters.”

Milne says Shumlin’s “radical agenda” has not been good for the state of Vermont.

“Our government should not take unnecessary risks particularly when it comes to spending money we don’t have, raising taxes we can’t afford, creating programs that have no proven likelihood of success,” Milne said. “And if you agree with me, we want to end this era of unbridled experimentation with our government.”

Milne faces Emily Peyton and Steve Berry in the GOP gubernatorial primary on August 26.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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