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Time To Vote 2018: Here Are The Candidates For Lieutenant Governor Of Vermont

An image of the Vermont Statehouse with a yellow filter. Text says The Lieutenant Governor Presidents Over The Senate. In parentheses it says And If Things Don't Go As Planned Could Become Governor
Photo: Angela Evancie / VPR File

The lieutenant governor presides over the state senate and, should something happen, is next in line to become governor.

Time To Vote 2018 — Attorney General | Auditor | Governor | Secretary of State | Treasurer | U.S. House | U.S. Senate

What does the lieutenant governor do?

In Vermont, the lieutenant governor's primary responsibilities are to stand in for the governor when the chief executive is out of state or incapacitated, and to serve as a tie-breaking vote in the Vermont Senate when needed.

The lieutenant governor serves a two-year term and is also a member of the committee on committees, a three-person panel that decides which committees senators serve on and also who chairs them.

Unlike in other states, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in Vermont run separately, making it possible for candidates from different parties to serve together.

Who is running for lieutenant governor of Vermont?

There are three candidates for lieutenant governor on the ballot in this general election:

  • Murray Ngoima (Liberty Union)
  • Don Turner Jr. (Republican)
  • David Zuckerman (Progressive/Democrat)

Scroll to learn more about the candidates.

A thin grey line.

An illustration of the Vermont Statehouse with the name Murray Ngoima
Credit Photo: Angela Evancie / VPR File

  • Liberty Union candidate
  • Since 1990, has run for treasurer eight times, as well as once for auditor and once for lieutenant governor; has not held elected statewide office in Vermont
  • Town of residence: Pomfret
  • Website

On improving the health of Vermont waterways:

"The primary reason, as I understand it, for the lake [Champlain] becoming polluted is the phosphates from agricultural runoff," said Ngoima, who added that while commercial fertilizer may be cheaper in the short term, there are pricier long-term consequences.

"So there are ways in which that runoff can be prevented — for instance barriers, and plants that grow along the lake," said Ngoima, who also said experts in this field should be consulted and heeded.

On Act 46 and forced mergers:

"Act 46, I believe, needs to be repealed," Ngoima said. "Forcing communities to consolidate is antithetical to everything we need to be doing in this state. "

Ngoima said the state should reconsider the roles schools play within communities: "The school can be a resource — the building, the land on which the school is built should be regarded as a resource for the community and not a drain on state resources."

On a tax-and-regulate system for marijuana:

"I don't think that marijuana should be taxed any more than other herbal products ... that people use in the state," Ngoima said, adding that she has concerns about how small and local growers would fit into a tax-and-regulate system.

"One of the problems with the corporatization of marijuana is ... the potential that that product can be contaminated," she also said.

And a little more:

Ngoima explained that Liberty Union candidates don't use the terminology "running" in an election, but rather say they are "standing for office."

"Liberty Union is a socialist party," Ngoima said, "and a vote for any Liberty Union candidate to begin with expresses a sense that perhaps there are other ways we could be looking at the problems that confront us at this time in our history. ... Perhaps some of the things that I did would not be very different from what David Zuckerman might propose. One of the things is that I'm not tied to a platform that supports the military, which the Democratic platform does."

Want to hear more from Murray Ngoima? Listen to an extended interview here.

A thin grey line.

An illustration of the Vermont Statehouse with the name Don Turner Jr.
Credit Photo: Angela Evancie / VPR File

  • Republican candidate
  • Current Milton town manager and Vermont House minority leader; has served in Vermont House since 2006
  • Town of residence: Milton
  • Website

On improving the health of Vermont waterways:

Turner noted his past support for water cleanup bills, and something important to him is that we "stop villainizing the farmers" who have been changing their practices and working with Vermont.

He also said we should make sure we're using the funds that we already do have available: "We need to focus on Burlington and places like that, where we are having these spills on a regular basis. ... We need to use the money we have to prevent further contamination, further wastewater going into the lake, and then move forward from that point."

On a tax-and-regulate system for marijuana:

Turner said he is against marijuana for recreational use. But he says a tax-and-regulate system for cannabis is better than a statute enacted earlier this year, which legalized possession and cultivation of the drug in small amounts, but kept sales illegal.

He acknowledged he still has concerns (he doesn't want Vermont to "be Colorado," would want more time to process the impacts), "but if we're going to have a regulated marketplace, you know, we need to make sure that there are safety standards and it has to provide the enforcement, revenue for enforcement and prevention."

Turner suggested the marijuana system could be similar to liquor: "It's very regulated, it's very controlled and people know what kind of product they're getting."

On Act 46 and forced mergers:

"The Act 46 that I voted for had cost-containment, we had caps on growth in spending — that's one of the reasons I supported it," Turner said, noting he saw the benefit for the Milton schools that he represented in the House.

Now years later, he said while there have been positive impacts from the law, he hadn't realized some of the negative impacts: "I am opposed to these forced mergers here at the end, and I hope that we can stop them. Let the Legislature take it from here and move forward."

And a little more:

Turner has long been involved in the Milton Fire Department (he was chief from 2004 to 2018), and said addressing Vermont's emergency responder shortage is a priority for him.

"One of the things I talked about when I first started this campaign was 'how are we going to help departments recruit and retain people?' ... If I'm elected, that is a primary issue that I will be looking at, because I can't think of anything worse that would happen than you or me or a family member needing a service, calling 911, and nobody's there to respond."

Want to hear more from Don Turner Jr.? Listen to an extended interview here.

A thin grey line.

An illustration of the Vermont Statehouse with the name David Zuckerman
Credit Photo: Angela Evancie / VPR File

  • Progressive/Democratic candidate
  • Incumbent, running for second term; previously served in Vermont Senate and Vermont House
  • Town of residence: Hinesburg
  • Website

On improving the health of Vermont's waterways:

Zuckerman said there are three primary issues to look at — combined sewer overflows, agricultural runoff and impervious surfaces — and that "we have to tackle all three of these head-on."

He said that all throughout the state, there are a variety of water quality issues, so that's why it needs an "all-in" approach. Zuckerman said when you start making exceptions for who shouldn't have to pay for water cleanup, that becomes the focus rather than improving the water for the future.

On Act 46 and forced mergers:

Zuckerman, who was on the Senate Education Committee when Act 46 passed in 2015, noted the appeals process built into the law when it comes to mergers.

He said though he has gone to the Agency of Education and State Board of Education to get more clarity for people about how the process is being executed: "We need to make sure the State Board follows the intent of the law, which I think probably for about half to two-thirds of these communities would say 'no you have justifiable reasons to remain an individual district.'"

Zuckerman said communities facing forced merger decisions from the State Board of Education still have the option of bringing their grievances to the Vermont Legislature or bringing the issue to court (which a number of communities are planning to do).

On a tax-and-regulate system for marijuana:

Zuckerman supports a tax-and-regulate system for marijuana. After possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana was legalized earlier this year, Zuckerman worked with Republicans in the Vermont House to push for tax-and-regulate legislation that ultimately did not go anywhere.

And a little more:

Zuckerman acknowledged that the lieutenant governor doesn't get to influence policy as much as lawmakers in the House and Senate do. But he said he's made use of the position's role as "an ambassador for democracy," and that he's connected with Vermonters in the process.

"One of the things that I've found very fascinating as lieutenant governor is actually working all across the state, frankly, to rebuild people's faith in our democracy. ... People are really worried about the tenor of Congress and things in Washington, and I go around talking with people about what we do have here in Vermont — the accessibility people have to the process, bringing more people into the process."

Want to hear more from David Zuckerman? Listen to an extended interview here.

A thin grey line.

Keep going! Time To Vote 2018 — Attorney General | Auditor | Governor | Secretary of State | Treasurer | U.S. House | U.S. Senate

AND REMEMBER: Vermont's 2018 general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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