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Republican Lieutenant Governor Primary Race 2020: Dwayne Tucker

Dwayne Tucker is seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in Vermont.
2020 VPR/Vermont PBS Debates
Dwayne Tucker is seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in Vermont.

Dwayne Tucker is one of five candidates seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. He is a contractor and civil engineer. He’s also running for a Washington County state Senate seat.

VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb spoke with Dwayne Tucker, and their interview below has been condensed and edited for clarity. VPR is seeking interviews with all of the candidates for lieutenant governor.

Find VPR's Vermont Primary 2020 coverage here.

Tucker said in a recent debate that his "heart is really focused on the Washington County Senate seat.” With that in mind, Mitch Wertlieb asked Tucker if he was serious about running for lieutenant governor.

Dwayne Tucker: Yes, of course. I take Vermont politics very serious, but ultimately I do feel I could be of better service in the Senate seat. The main reason why I decided to run for lieutenant governor is because I did not feel there were any viable candidates. I know Scott Milne not particularly well, but I'm in full support of Scott Milne running because I feel he is the most qualified candidate. And he has a proven track record of success.

Mitch Wertlieb: But you're still opposing him for lieutenant governor?

At this point, yes.

And why is that?

Because I had made the announcement, and I am going to see things through to the best of my ability.

I'm wondering about the office specifically ... not a lot of specifically-enumerated powers or responsibilities. If you did win the office, how would you use that position to help Vermonters?

Like you just stated, it's kind of an odd seat. You know, there's not a lot of power in the seat. So the only way one could actually help, in my opinion, help Vermonters, would be to, you know, fill in for the governor when obviously he's not there. This is exactly why I said that I feel I could be more effective in the Senate seat.

What about managing the Senate floor debates? When it comes to managing those Senate floor debates, how would your approach be different, perhaps, compared to previous lieutenant governors?

That, in my opinion, would probably remain the same. I know it takes a pretty qualified individual to be able to manage something like that, however, bringing everybody together so they're on the same page, so to speak. So if you speak to some of the sitting senators, regardless of whether they're, you know, Republican, Progressive, Independent or Democratic, they do not seem, at this point, to gap party lines. I think that's probably just one of those things that's going to remain the same until we can get some new Senate members in there.

More from VPR: 2020 Primary Debates: Republican Candidates For Lieutenant Governor

Well, it's interesting because you're running as a Republican for lieutenant governor. And while Gov. Phil Scott is favored to win as governor as he seeks reelection, he might not. And I'm wondering if you did win the lieutenant governor's office and another governor came in who was a Democrat or Progressive, do you think you could work effectively with a governor from a different party if you have differing philosophical, political views?

I think that's what makes me a qualified candidate. Currently, we have a lot of sitting senators, we have a lot of cabinet members that are not willing to work with other people. There's been a lot of frustration. What we need is people willing to work with other people. And currently, that's why Vermont is in the situation it's in, because of people and their unwillingness to work with other people.

But you feel you could?

Absolutely. I'm certain that I would be capable, more than capable of being willing to work with people who are willing to work with me.

As you know, Dwayne, Vermont is undergoing this massive economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you think Vermont can rebuild and recover while also keeping Vermonters safe?

That's a fantastic question. First of all, Vermont has been suffering from an economic crisis for over a decade. I grew up in the dairy industry. Vermont has so many resources. And Vermont in the 1800s was in fact the breadbasket of the entire United States of America.We have, in a sense, lost our our way. We've lost our identity. Vermont's economic crisis is not due to the recent COVID outbreak. It's been here for a long, long time.

The only way we can recover from this, and we have to open up our economic borders, we have to think economic prosperity. We have to open up industry here. We need businesses here. We need smaller farms. We need the dairy industry to open back up. We need smaller farms. We have opportunities here in Vermont. We've always been really resourceful. We have opportunities for organic beef, organic chicken farms, organic pork farms.

And like I said earlier, we were once the breadbasket of of the entire nation. We can certainly become a little bit more independent and get back to our resourcefulness, the restaurant industry, and get people back out there and start shopping to kind of help out from that economic standpoint.

We really need to take appropriate measures to promote and teach good personal hygiene practice.

And Dwayne Tucker, as protests are continuing nationally and here in Vermont as well against racism and police brutality, I'm wondering if you would support making any changes to the way law enforcement does its job in our state.

Vermont was the first state in the nation to have every congressman and every senator vote against slavery. Even take it one step further, Alexander Twilight was the first African American to graduate not only from college in America, he did it right here at Middlebury College in Vermont. We need to pull together and we need to end this racist thought process.

Well, let me be a little more specific in my question. You know, would you be in favor of things like defunding the police, which means different things to different people, or the use of body cameras for police or banning the use of chokeholds, that kind of thing?

Being a police officer is like being a teacher. It's a gift you have. I do not personally support defunding police only because I think they're underfunded anyway. I do believe that there are some bad police out there. Those people should be dealt with appropriately.

But no, I do not believe we should be defunding the police department. I do agree with body cameras. I believe that is the bridge that gaps both sides of the story.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or tweet host Mitch Wertlieb @mwertlieb

We've closed our comments. Read about ways to get in touch here.

Vermont’s primary election is on Aug. 11, so VPR is reaching out to candidates in contested races for governor, lieutenant governor and the U.S. House to find out why they're seeking to serve, and where they stand on the issues of the day. Find our full coverage here.

Copyright 2020 Vermont Public

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
Sam held multiple positions at Vermont Public Radio for several years, including managing editor of the award-winning programVermont Edition, and morning news editor.
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