Scott touts record, discusses guns and taxes in Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — While Vermont Gov. Phil Scott hasn’t been seen stumping for many Republican candidates ahead of the Nov. 6 election, on Tuesday he joined independent Addison County state Senate candidates Marie Audet and Paul Ralston during a campaign swing through Middlebury.

Lou Varricchio

Independent Addison County state Senate candidates Paul Ralston and Marie Audet

During the chilly, rainy evening gathering at Champlain Valley Equipment, Scott said that his five terms in the state Senate prepared him for this year’s reelection bid.

“I’ve served in the minority all my political life — never the majority, not even close,” he told attendees. “I am still the only statewide Republican officeholder in the state. Regardless of what you read, regardless of all the drama, the tension and so forth, we got something done over the last two years.”

Scott stressed that there’s a lot at stake in this election and that the contrast between the two candidates for governor is clear. However, Scott neither referred directly to Democratic opponent Christine Hallquist.

“Two years ago, Vermonters elected me to focus on the economy and make Vermont more affordable. I know there’s still so much more work to do,” Scott said.

The governor delivered his standard stump speech, noting that during his first term he kept residential property tax rates level, added no new or increased taxes in the General Fund, eliminated the income tax on Social Security for low- and moderate-income Vermonters, cut state income tax rates by $30 million and passed a $35 million housing bond, among other things.

He also took some credit for 4,400 new Vermonters in the workforce and for the newly passed tuition entitlement for current and future members of the Vermont National Guard.

Lou Varricchio

Gov. Scott: “I am not going to become an independent, I’ve always been a Republican.”

A voter face-to-face on guns

One event attendee, Middlebury resident Thomas Sinacore, said that he listened to what Scott had to say with respect, but wasn’t buying everything the candidate mentioned.

Sinacore said that while he voted for Scott in 2016, he isn’t sure this year, primarily because of the governor’s “flip flop” on gun control earlier this year, especially the law regarding background checks for private gun sales.

“You don’t punish people before the crime. You’re punishing me (as a gun owner) and I don’t plan on shooting anyone,” Sinacore told Scott.

Scott told Sinacore that he stands behind his decision to restrict gun sales to young people, noting that the teen who had planned to attack Fair Haven Union High School was “dead serious” about targeting potential victims.

“Kids are different now,” Scott told Sinacore. “They don’t have the role models we did as kids.”

“Well, you’re between a rock and a hard place,” Sincore told Scott. “I don’t envy you — many of your supporters are giving you a hard time. So, who am I going to vote for? I don’t want a liberal in the Capitol. We have the transgendered (candidate) or you. Maybe I should write-in (GOP primary candidate) Keith Stern.”

“Well, I am going to suffer whatever the political consequences,” Scott said. “I did what I think was right.”

Sinacore, a retired New York City police officer, said Vermont is a difficult place to live for other reasons.

“If I had stayed in New York State my pension wouldn’t be taxed. I come here, I am being taxed. I spend my money here, and I am being taxed,” he said.

He added that the state’s high taxes were forcing him to consider leaving.

“I just can’t stay here anymore,” Sinacore said. “I am paying tax on my pension, my real estate tax has gone up, the town of Middlebury is reassessing my house so I can pay more tax, and the realtors are telling me I can’t get what I want for my house.”

Scott told him that his plan to hold the tax on military pensions ultimately failed in the state House of Representatives.

“We shouldn’t be doing that,” Scott said regarding taxing pensions for military. “It would only cost us about $5 million of revenue and it would be give us so much good will … we could add civil servants, like yourself, too.”

Lou Varricchio

On funding, Gov. Phil Scott has a slight edge on Democratic opponent Christine Hallquist.

In the money

Scott has appeared flush on the campaign trail as his war chest is faring better than Democrat opponent Christine Hallquist. Last month alone, the Scott campaign had reported raising $138,080 from nearly 400 contributors, whereas Hallquist’s campaign reported $130,849 from more than 1,200 contributors. Hallquist has refused to accept corporate donations.

Scott is raising larger amounts but from fewer supporters. Overall, the 2018 gubernatorial campaign for both parties lags behind 2016 contribution levels.

Hallquist has received endorsements from former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, while Scott, who has distanced himself from President Trump since the 2016 campaign, has received little visible support from prominent Republicans. However, he has received support from moderate Republicans and independents, and received a 100 percent rating from abortion-provider Planned Parenthood.

On hot-button issues in Vermont, Hallquist has pushed for a $15 minimum wage and paid medical and family leave, while the more fiscally conservative Scott vetoed four bills this year aimed at raising the minimum wage and forcing employers to pay for some employee medical services.

Stumping for independents

True North asked Scott about his support of Addison County independent state Senate candidates Audet and Ralston, noting that he has been absent from Republican candidate forums.

“No, I am not going to become an independent, I’ve always been a Republican,” Scott told True North, “I was invited here by Brian (Carpenter) of Champlain Valley Equipment. It wasn’t for the other candidates, but I know the other candidates.”

Lou Varricchio is a freelance reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at lvinvt@gmx.com.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Jd4508

17 thoughts on “Scott touts record, discusses guns and taxes in Middlebury

  1. Those upset with Governor Scott should think carefully about the alternatives. A vote for anyone else in November will only push Vermont further left, more taxes, more regulations more restrictions and a dismal future for our children.

    • It is coming anyway Matt. It is only a matter of how fast it comes. We have to start looking at planning for 2020 NOW.

  2. Gov Scott is like a leaf on a tree . He changes his allegiances with the political wind. Well it’s Fall and the leaves are dropping … who to replace him; that’s the question?

  3. It’s very sad we have only two candidates to choose from who have a realistic chance of winning. Both are terrible candidates, one who’d love push Vermont even farther toward a socialist cesspool, and the other a chameleon who shamelessly promises one thing and does another.

  4. Interesting that Governor Scott not only wants to “hold the taxes” on whole lot of takers !military veterans, he wants to also do so for “public servants” – what the heck, Phil, why not “hold the taxes” on all the taxpayers who paid taxes on their earnings and savings all their lives and now get taxed again on their pensions !

    When you have chased the last of the makers away – all that will be left are a whole lot of takers,
    “Will the last honest taxpayer please turn out the lights as you leave the state !”

    • When I posted this something went wrong the words “whole lot of takers” appeared in the first sentence in addition to the last sentence where I had typed it ! The first sentence read “Interesting that Governor Scott not only wants to “hold the taxes” on military veterans, he wants to also do so for “public servants” – what the heck, Phil, why not “hold the taxes” on all the taxpayers who paid taxes on their earnings and savings all their lives and now get taxed again on their pensions !

      I think everyone deserves to receive their pensions and Social Security tax-free !

      Hope everyone reads this reply – OMG !

    • The words “whole lot of takers” was typed into the second paragraph, but incorrectly popped up in the first paragraph a well ! OMG !

    • The words “whole lot of takers” were part of the second paragraph, but errantly appeared in the first paragraph as well – this was certainly not my intended message ! Brooke.

  5. “No, I am not going to become an independent, I’ve always been a Republican,” Scott told True North, “I was invited here by Brian (Carpenter) of Champlain Valley Equipment. It wasn’t for the other candidates, but I know the other candidates.”

    He’s a RINO who has violated his oath and both Constitutions,Vermont and Federal.
    If the Vermont Republicrat party had any scruples,the party wouldn’t list him as their candidate.

    ” So, who am I going to vote for? I don’t want a liberal in the Capitol. We have the transgendered (candidate) or you. Maybe I should write-in (GOP primary candidate) Keith Stern.”

    Perhaps a idea who’s time has come.

    • Bravo Mr Mccandles
      Their are 3 other candidates on the ballot. You are right the lesser of 2 evils is still evil. Concentrate on the down tickets. If the governor never sees a bill then we are all safe. Vote for the candidates who did not vote for those tax increases or against S55. Volunteer to help candidates who stand for your ideals and get your friends and family to vote and help out also. Thats how we win elections

      • You have to be out of your mind to consider Stern. He doesn’t know which party he belong to and has come out in support of Christine, Keith Stern is a nut that should never hold political office.Also writing in anyone will assure the socialist Christrine a win as Governor. It seems like this is you goal ED.

        A good idea would be to avoid Keith Stern and anyone who supports this madness.

        Ed Cutler is ticked at Phil Scott and instead of acting like a responsible representative of Gun Owners of Vermont his option is to try to destroy the state of Vermont.

        people use your heads and do what is best for Vermont!

        Ed Cutler has misrepresented the number of members of Gun Owners of Vermont to make his positions impressive.by exaggerating the numbers of his membership.

        Ed how many PAYING MEMBERS of Gun Owners of Vermont exist? You refuse to answer this question honestly. Why?

        Remember honesty is the beat policy!

    • you have to be out of your mind to consider Stern. He doesn’t know which party he belong to and has come out in support of Christine, Keith Stern is a nut that should never hold political office.

      A good idea would be to avoid Keith Stern and anyone who supports this madness.

  6. I can see Vermonters rushing to fall in line with the new law – two whole people have turned in ‘bump-stocks’. I prefer my binary trigger, which does the same thing with better shot control.

    Apparently not a lot of people were interested in turning in accessories (that were legal when purchased) without remuneration from the State. Not surprising, since it’s illegal to demand it.

  7. Let me wipe the tears from my eyes, Phil Scott says he’s not going to be an Independent he surely isn’t a Conservative Republican ( RINO ) … Liberal ??

    So Conservative Vermonters you have a choice, Vote for Flip Flop Phil or Christine Hallquist. With a “No vote” you give it to Christine with a “Write in” candidate you give it to Christine. Talk about a rock and a hard spot, think what will be best for VT, and when’s the last time you lied?? You think we have problems now, it could get worse.

    • We can choose death by a thousand cuts with Scott and his successor or we can have Hallquist who will do so much damage that we can actually reverse direction and have the damage overturned. Scott could never receive my vote because of the dishonesty, the violating of his oath, and his alignment with very progressive ideas.
      Let’s start building now for true, responsible leadership in 2020.

      • Keith we can choose by ONE BIG CUT! That would be to have any association with someone like you!

        You are a flawed candidate who after losing in the primary came out and said to support Christine!

        How anyone in their right mind can support you is scary!

        Please voters research Keith Stern’s background before believing a word he says.

        Keith Stern is not capable of serving in anty elected position. He has his self interest at heart.

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