by Robert Maynard
In the run up to the 2012 elections Governor Shumlin enjoyed an Irene induced honeymoon. The state had bounced back well from the disaster and Vermonters were optimistic about the way things were going. The Governor took advantage of that upbeat mood on the anniversary of the Irene disaster with his “I am Vermont Strong” campaign. The campaign included a tour by the Governor and the issuing of license plates with that slogan on it. It was a brilliant PR campaign that took place right before the election. The beauty of it from Governor Shumlin’s standpoint was that it could all be done without dipping into his campaign war chest. As the old saying goes “that was then, this is now.” In other words, the honeymoon is over. Recent media stories from all around the state are converging on the Jeremy Dodge/Peter Shumlin real estate deal and the Governor is coming off looking like a predator. Even those who cannot bring themselves to condemn Shumlin for a moral failing, see this mess as a politial error. All this comes on the heels of a growing split that has been developing between Governor Shumlin and the left. That split is now causing some of Vermont ‘s Progressive Party leaders to speculate over whether they will challenge him in 2014:
In 2010, the Progressives supported Democratic candidate Peter Shumlin because he embraced three of their core issues:
- The creation of a single payer health care system.
- Closing down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.
- Same sex marriage.
- But the Progressives’ enthusiasm for Shumlin took a big hit in the recent legislative session.
They were very disappointed that the Governor opposed efforts to reform the state’s income tax system. They were also puzzled about why he proposed taking $17 million from a tax credit program for low income working people to pay for an expansion of child care services.
Some of the comments to the article were more critical than those interviewed:
I voted for Shumlin in 2010 but never again. Annette Smith got my vote in 2012 and I’ll vote Republican or Progressive next time, assuming Shumlin hasn’t resigned by then. Randy Brock would have had my vote, but for his F-35 lunacy. Shumlin’s “Mission Accomplished” F-35 junket to Florida, paid for by Ernie Pomerleau, was just one example of Shumlin’s sleazy approach to business. He claims he supports the F-35 because of “1,000’s” of jobs but when it came to VT Yankee and IBM, he didn’t give a hoot about jobs. Any surprise IBM has continued to lay off more people under Shumlin? We also have the destruction of Act 250 and Act 200 under Shumlin, thanks to his renewable energy push that disregards both. Towns have spent thousands to comply with Act 250 & 200 but wind towers & solar don’t have to?! Come on. Shumlin is only out for himself & a handful of big donors. We should have seen this from the get-go.
Signs of the split could be seen much earlier when the Governor failed to produce a finance plan for Green Mountain Care even after the University of Massachusetts finished work that we payed them $300,000 for to come up with such a plan. This prompted the Vermont Workers Center to present their own plan. It also prompted other single payer activists to voice concern that the delaying of coming up with a funding plan may damage the prospects of Green Mountain Care becoming fully realized.
Although Governor Shumlin sets on a sizable campaign war chest left over from 2012, he is looking vulnerable in the run up to 2014. Pro-liberty forces had better be prepared to take advantage of this opportunity.