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Matt Dunne Officially Joins Gubernatorial Race

Bob Kinzel
Matt Dunne held his campaign kickoff at City Hall Park in downtown Barre.

Former state senator Matt Dunne has formally kicked off his campaign to win the Democratic nomination for governor. Dunne says his top priority is to build a Vermont economy that "works for every person in the state."

He was also critical of how the administration of Gov. Peter Shumlin has managed health care and education.

Dunne, who held his campaign kickoff at City Hall Park in downtown Barre, says he chose the location because of Barre's rich political and social history.

Dunne has served in both the Vermont House and Senate, he was the national director of Americorps/Vista, and for the past eight years he's worked as a director of community affairs at Google.

He ran for governor in 2010 and finished fourth in a crowded five-person field.

Speaking without notes, Dunne told the roughly 50 supporters at the Barre event, that "the clock is ticking" for Vermont to develop dynamic new policies to strengthen the state economy.

"The next governor cannot be a caretaker governor and cannot be a governor that tells Vermonters 'you are on your own.' This campaign needs to be about action and it needs to be about urgency," he said.

Dunne said developing strategies to help small businesses will be a key element of his economic policy.

"One that doesn't spend a lot of time running around the country trying to get a large corporation to land their campus here in Vermont but instead supports and gets capital to our inspiring home-grown entrepreneurs," he said.

Credit Bob Kinzel / VPR
Dunne has served in both the Vermont House and Senate, and he ran for governor in 2010 where he finished fourth in a five-person field.

 Dunne said Vermonters have lost trust in state government, in part because of the troubled roll out of Vermont Health Connect, the state's health care exchange. He says things would have been different if he had been governor during the rollout because of his experience at Google.

"I feel confident that I would have had people with experience who would have been project managers that would have looked at that... I would have said early on if it was not something that we could reach and make sure we set expectations appropriately," he said.

Dunne is also critical of Act 46, the state's new school district consolidation law. He says the timelines for the law are unrealistic and could result in the closing of some small community schools.

"That kind of 'one size fits all' doesn't make sense. We need to make sure we are looking for the best interests of education in Vermont — including using technology to be able to allow for distance learning —  so we can keep community schools and be able to deliver a world class education," he said.

Dunne also endorsed the creation of a Vermont Ethics Commission as one way to help restore public trust in the operations of state government.

House Speaker Shap Smith and former Transportation Secretary Sue Minter are also seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

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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