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Explore our coverage of government and politics.

Former Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe Announces Run For Governor

Rebecca Holcombe, former Education Secretary, is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in 2020..
Taylor Dobbs
VPR File
Rebecca Holcombe, former education secretary, will run for governor of Vermont.

Rebecca Holcombe, former education secretary, will run for governor of Vermont.

Holcombe announced this morning that she will seek the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2020, making her the first declared candidate. Holcombe served as education secretary for Gov. Peter Shumlin and Gov. Phil Scott Scott before resigning in 2018 over policy disagreements with the Scott administration.

Holcombe told VPR Tuesday that she's seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination because she wants to provide an economic agenda in sharp contrast to the priorities of Scott. She said her approach to governing would differ from Scott.

"I am concerned that Gov. Scott's approach to governing is just ending up privileging the wealthy and more privileged Vermonters," Holcombe said. "I want to focus my campaign on the vast majority of Vermonters who are telling me that they're working really hard every day, but they feel like they're running in place — they haven't seen their prospects get better, their wages have been stagnant and their costs are going up."

While Holcombe hasn't run for office before, she said she thinks her wide experience is an asset.

"So I'm running to take the state in a new direction," Holcombe said. "I want to put my experience that I have — as a teacher, a principal, a secretary of education — to work, because I want to make sure every single Vermonter in every corner of this great state has an equal opportunity to succeed and contribute to their community and the state."

Holcombe is expected to have a formal kick-off rally later in the summer.

Other Democrats mulling runs for governor include Attorney General TJ Donovan and Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, though neither has officially announced their candidacy.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott has not yet announced if he'll seek re-election. According to Seven Days, Scott says he won't make a decision on running until after the next legislative session.

Update 4:30 p.m. — This post was updated to include comments from Holcombe.

Bob Kinzel contributed to this report.

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