Sanders vs. Tarrant

In Vermont’s nationally-watched U.S. Senate race Independent congressman Bernie Sanders is taking on local businessman Richard Tarrant. So far the race has been very heated, with both sides pulling out all of the stops. Tarrant, the Republican candidate has campaigned against Sanders with a heavy media presence, going after Sanders’ congressional record. Tarrant is a longtime Vermonter. He attended St. Michael’s College in Colchester, where he led them to the NCAA Final Four in basketball. After college he was drafted and played for the legendary Red Auerbach and the Boston Celtics. Tarrant left basketball and got involved in computers. After selling other people’s products he decided that he could do better, and formed his own company. He is the founder of one of Vermont’s largest companies, IDX Systems. Bernie Sanders, a longtime Vermont politican, is fighting back against Tarrant’s attacks on his record. He believes that his congressional record is a positive benefit and a meritorious one. Sanders began his political career in Burlington, where he served as mayor. He was then elected as the first Independent to Congress in 40 years, serving since 1991 in the House of Representatives, but aligning with the Democratic caucus. Tarrant, in an interview with the Cynic, said that in addition to the steps that UVM has taken, “We also need a long-term energy policy that reduces our country’s reliance on fossil fuels. “This means taking a multi-pronged approach that includes conservation and developing alternative forms of energy such as wind, solar, hydrogen fuel cells and biomass,” Tarrant said. Congressman Sanders has voted for many environmental issues in Congress and he believes that “the good news is that through energy conservation and the movement toward sustainable energy we can move decisively to reverse global warming and our dependence on Middle East oil and fossil fuels.” Students throughout the country are one of the lowest groups in terms of voter turnout, and this affects how their voice is heard in all state capitols and in Washington. “If you are concerned about the high cost of college education,” Sanders said, “the war in Iraq, health care, the environment, women’s rights or whether you’ll have a decent paying job when you graduate college, you should be thinking about the need to end the Republican one-party government which we now have in Washington.” Tarrant also believes that students need to get more involved in the political process but for different reasons. “Everyday, politicians make decisions that affect their future and we need to encourage students to be more involved in those decisions,” Tarrant said. “I believe that exercising their right to vote and participating in the political process is the best thing a college student can do for their country.” An important issue facing our country is terrorism and the subsequent War on Terror. Tarrant believes this is a very real issue and states on his Web site, “We must remain ever vigilant and continue to allocate resources to intelligence and counter-terrorism efforts in order to bring an end to terrorism. “We need to restore funds taken from human intelligence agencies immediately prior to 9-11, as well as develop new technological devices for early detection and immediate retribution to those who would harm us,” the Web site stated. According to Sanders’ Web site, “the United Nations and the international community should take the lead in stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq, and that American troops should be withdrawn as soon as feasible.” Another hot topic is that of abortion rights. “Instead of chipping away at Roe v. Wade, we can strengthen a woman’s right to choose,” Sanders said. Tarrant, on the other hand, states on his Web site, “Like most Americans I would like to reduce the number of abortions to virtually zero…Yet, like Chief Justice John Roberts, I recognize that the law on this issue is settled and must be respected.” Both candidates hope to appeal their message to the people of Vermont in their sprint to the Nov. 7 elections.