Gubernatorial candidates debate in Burlington

Wednesday Sept. 24 marked the first in a series of Gubernatorial debates.

Sponsored by Vermont Public Radio (VPR), the heated debate took place in front of a live studio audience on the third floor of the Main Street Landing Film House in Burlington.

The debate featured Republican and current Governor Jim Douglas, Democrat Gaye Symington, Independent Anthony Pollina and Liberty Union Peter Diamondstone.

Each candidate was allowed 60 seconds to answer the question asked. Questions originated from the hosts, VPR listeners, the studio audience and the candidates themselves.

Candidates Symington, Pollina and Diamondstone criticized Douglas’ policies, and provided their own unique solutions to the various issues occurring throughout the state.

Governor Jim Douglas spent much of the debate defending his current policies and proposing new strategies to improve Vermont’s conditions.

“I’m going to work hard every day, as I have done for the last five and a half years, to make sure that every Vermonter who doesn’t have a job now that wants one is able to get one,” Douglas said.

Other than the need for secession, Diamondstone expressed the importance of financing education. “People should be paid to go to school. They shouldn’t pay tuition to go to UVM, they should be paid to go to UVM,” said Diamondstone.

Throughout the debate Symington continued to stress on the importance of alternate sources of energy. “I’ve established a firm goal for achieving 20 percent of our power from wind over the next 10 years,” Symington said.

Symington supports renewable energy as a way to help the environment as well as provide new jobs for Vermonters.

Pollina strongly supported the need for affordable homes and the importance of agriculture. “We need, in Vermont, to declare our independence from industrialized food,” Pollina said.

“I prefer a topic that sparks controversy. It shows an interesting side to each of the candidates,” said a bystander.

This debate is available online at the VPR Web site.

Douglas

Education Financing: “Two Vote Law”

Alternate Sources of Energy: Several proposals underway; Entrepreneurs continue to do a great job in finding alternate sources

Economy: Pro-growth Agenda – continue to work towards a better economy

Equal Rights for Gays/Lesbians: Keep civil union; focus on economic equality

Affordable Housing: More transitional housing from being homeless to owning a home

Ending Statements: Continue to work hard to improve VT’s condition

Symington

Education Financing: Focus on quality and successful transition into higher education

and good jobs

Alternate Sources of Energy: State government removes itself; move forward with private enterprises providing the power

Economy: Jobs provided by new energy policies; provide higher education for good jobs

Equal Rights for Gays/Lesbians: Further eliminate distinction: change to marriage equality

Affordable Housing: Make sure rental property is safe; connect Vermonters with more work opportunities

Ending Statements: Real leadership to step forward: grow economy in a way that works for working Vermonters

Pollina

Education Financing: Focus on quality [as much as] financing

Alternate Sources of Energy: VT owned/controlled renewable safe power; use less energy

Economy: Create jobs by investing in building more homes and better transportation

Equal Rights for Gays/Lesbians: Keep civil union; focus on ending sexual harassments

Affordable Housing: Housing is tied to wages: put money aside to build more affordable homes

Ending Statements: Keep working families from being taken for granted

Diamondstone

Education Financing: Pay by means of income tax

Alternate Sources of Energy: VT built and VT controlled; remove private energy industries

Economy: Focus on Healthcare: Socialize medicine in VT; Vermont Federal FDA

Equal Rights for Gays/Lesbians: Supports equal rights: no such thing as “same sex”

Affordable Housing: Build more homes to occupy rather than own; “new jobs” won’t be enough

Ending Statements: Leave union of other states: succession

Information gathered by Sarah Rouhan at the debate