What would Scott Milne do as a U.S. senator


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Dear Editor,

Scott Milne announced he was running for the U.S. Senate May 27. What would he do as US Senator?

It’s difficult to say. In the past 117 days (editorial note: this piece was submitted 21 September 2016), the Milne campaign has garnered headlines by questioning Senator Leahy’s integrity.

What Milne has not done is establish his positions on the many issues facing Vermonters today.

A review of Milne’s major interviews and press releases up until today finds nearly no mention of what meaningful action Milne would take as a Senator.

On June 16, Milne declared he would propose legislation prohibiting taxpayer money from funding anything named for a sitting member of Congress. Milne said “I believe that it is wrong for elected ones to have buildings, highways, programs, or anything else funded by taxpayers named after them, or to accept such tributes.”

Of course, such narrow legislation wouldn’t prevent tax-payers funds from being spent recklessly.

While Milne went on to mention America’s debt, it isn’t clear how the legislation he outlined would go about addressing this problem.

His release failed to offer any clear examples of such “tributes.”

On Sept. 6, Milne announced his campaign kick-off. In a press release, Milne discussed the legacy of George Washington before identifying Senator Leahy’s incumbency as his main motivation for seeking election.

He identified “special interests and big money fueled campaigns that prop up career politicians” as ruining the country, but offered no suggestions for action and no specific instances of corruption he would seek to address.

These allusions to nebulous ideas of corruption and scandal say nothing about Senator Leahy’s performance in the Senate, nor do they offer voters any reason to believe Milne would be an effective legislator.

Four days later at his campaign kick-off, Milne noted that “America’s government is unable to bridge divides.”

While Milne may be correct that voters are weary of partisan gridlock, perhaps he’s unaware of the Senator’s role in sponsoring legislation which achieved significant bipartisan support, such as Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act – the most significant addiction treatment legislation ever passed by the federal government.

At the event, Milne said he’d serve only two terms in the Senate – but he failed to give voters a single, real reason why he was deserving of one.

Before he pledges to pursue just a second term, perhaps Milne would be better served by articulating what he’d do with his first.

What is the sum of these parts? Scott Milne has certainly established he is not Senator Leahy. These statements also suggest Milne may struggle with consistency, given his promise back in March to “not run a negative campaign.”

Granted, that was back in March, when Milne viewed Senator Leahy as a “great Vermonter with a distinguished career.” Come May, Milne described Leahy as “the definition of a career politician,” someone who “has never had a real job.”

It’s hard to tell whether Milne sees legislative experience and service to Vermont as reasons to vote for or against a candidate.

Milne has not crafted a compelling argument explaining why Vermonters would be best served with him in the Senate.

What’s most concerning about this is that the Milne campaign has had ample opportunity to say something, anything about their candidate’s vision for Vermont and the United States – instead, they’ve has used this time to question Senator Leahy’s legacy.

Milne hasn’t put forth policy positions or suggested he has his sights on any substantive legislative goals. It’s been 117 days and the voters are still waiting on the Milne campaign to post an “Issues” section on their website.

While Scott Milne’s campaign tactics may be reflective of some of the more divisive, vitriolic politics seen elsewhere in the United States, these strategies are especially worrisome after considering Milne’s lack of legislative experience.

Not only Milne has neglected to introduce ideas which would improve the lives of Vermonters, he has no record upon which voters may judge his ability to serve as a United States Senator.

While Scott Milne undoubtedly possesses a keen business sense, we have no evidence to suggest he would be an effective policymaker – and he hasn’t given Vermont voters reason to believe otherwise.

It’s easy for candidates to get media attention by taking shots at their opponents – but Vermonters aren’t the type to be taken by soundbites.

Detailed policy positions, distinct plans to tackle the serious problems, a track record of relevant legislative experience – these are the things voters require to make informed decisions come November.

Thus far, the Milne campaign has failed to deliver.

Sincerely,

Scott Pavek

UVM Political Science Graduate