Boos recede, but some Sanders backers remain skeptical of Clinton

First Lady Michelle Obama waves as she speaks to delegates during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA — The Democratic Party convention kicked off its national convention Monday afternoon with a chorus of boos every time Hillary Clinton’s name was mentioned, but seemed to grow more unified throughout the night with cathartic speeches by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, First Lady Michelle Obama and Clinton’s former rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders. It was the Vermont senator’s most ardent supporters that threatened to upend the party’s marquee event. As the convention commenced, they were boisterous and ready to pounce whenever a speaker at the podium inside the Wells Fargo Center invoked Clinton and her pending nomination. Thunderous boos rang out, and chants of “Bern-ie” enveloped the blue-adorned arena. Both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns sought to quash the uprising. Continue Reading →

Sanders delegates boo Clinton at DNC

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., march during a protest in downtown on, Monday, July 25, 2016, in Philadelphia, during the first day of the Democratic National Convention. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

PHILADELPHIA — Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed hundreds of delegates at the Democratic National Convention Monday afternoon but seemed unable to convince some of his most passionate backers they should work to elect Hillary Clinton. Sanders spoke inside a packed ballroom at the Pennsylvania Convention Center early Monday afternoon ahead of his primetime address on national TV at the Wells Fargo Center — the main convention site. It was among the first bits of action for the four-day long convention that will culminate Thursday with Clinton, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state, accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Sanders, who battled Clinton for the nomination until the last primary — long after it was apparent he could not win sufficient delegates to wrest the nomination from her — is now looking to unite the party. But after months of convincing his supporters that he had a viable path to the nomination, many did not seem ready Monday to shift their support elsewhere. Continue Reading →

Story-Video-Podcast: Zuckerman stands on bold proposals

Sen. David Zuckerman
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MONTPELIER — After 18 years in the Legislature, Chittenden County Sen. David Zuckerman is hoping to take his bold, progressive politics to the lieutenant governor’s office. The 44-year-old organic farmer from Hinesburg has sponsored many of the progressive initiatives implemented over the last decade. That’s not surprising since he serves as a Progressive, but also a Democrat, in the Senate. After running in the Democratic primaries for his two successful Senate bids, Zuckerman is now looking to follow the same path to become the state’s second-highest office holder. He is asking Vermonters to judge him on the proposals he has championed in the past in the three-way primary he has entered with House Speaker Shap Smith and Burlington Rep. Kesha Ram. Continue Reading →

Story-Video-Podcast: Minter: Experience would guide service

Sue Minter
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MONTPELIER — For Sue Minter, the destruction of Tropical Storm Irene — and the state’s successful recovery — is a template for the way she would lead the state. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate was the secretary of the Agency of Transportation in 2011 when the catastrophic storm pounded the state and the subsequent flooding devastated communities from Wilmington to Minter’s home in Waterbury. “We received 15 inches of rain, and overnight, 500 miles of road was gone, and it was our job to mobilize quickly and effectively,” Minter said. “It took an all-in approach with thousands of people involved, neighbor helping neighbor, and it’s really been a transformative experience for me, both in the emergency phase in the first few months, but then to have that responsibility to address 3,500 homeowners whose homes were damaged,” she continued. Minter points to her experience as the head of the Agency of Transportation, where she oversaw 1,300 employees and a $600 million budget, as both giving her the tools to make government work and proof she is ready to lead the state. Continue Reading →

Economists: state revenues to grow less than expected

Economists Tom Kavet, right, and Jeff Carr, left, present a new revenue forecast to the Emergency Board on Thursday, July 21. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

MONTPELIER — Economists for the Shumlin administration and Legislature issued a revised state revenue forecast for the current fiscal year Thursday that projects a total of $28 million less in revenue, but growth over the 2016 fiscal revenues. Tom Kavet and Jeff Carr, consulting economists for the administration and lawmakers, issued their revised revenue forecast Thursday to the state’s Emergency Board, which includes the governor and the four chairs of the Legislature’s money committees. Revenue for the state’s general fund was lowered by $21 million, while revenues for the transportation and education funds were lowered by $3.5 million and $3.4 million, respectively. Still, revenues are expected to grow above the 2016 fiscal year, which closed on June 30, both Kavet and Carr said. “The upturn continues, that’s the good news,” Carr told the Emergency Board. Continue Reading →

Minter ad focuses on guns, domestic violence

Sue Minter

MONTPELIER — A new television ad from Democratic gubernatorial candidate focuses on guns and domestic violence. Minter, a former secretary of the Agency of Transportation, released her third television ad Wednesday in her primary race against former Google executive and Windsor County state senator Matt Dunne and former diplomat and Windham County state senator Peter Galbraith. Titled, “Won’t Back Down,” Minter links gun deaths in Vermont to domestic violence. Citing the Vermont Domestic Violence Fatality Commission, Minter says that domestic violence causes “most” homicides in Vermont and “half of them involve guns.”

“The gun lobby doesn’t like that and I’m the candidate for governor who’s willing to talk about it. I won’t back down from this fight. Continue Reading →

Scott launches first TV ad in gubernatorial primary

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott

MONTPELIER — Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott has released his first television ad, calling out primary rival Bruce Lisman for “misleading” attacks. The 30-second Scott ad is the first in a series that will run through the Aug. 9 primary, according to the campaign. “What might pass for business as usual on Wall Street has never been in line with Vermont values,” Scott says at the outside. “While my opponent’s misleading ads are disappointing, Vermonters know the truth.”

Scott also highlights his small business, a construction firm, in the ad. Continue Reading →

Revenue downgrade expected Thursday

Revenue

MONTPELIER — The Shumlin administration is expecting economists to issue a downgraded revenue forecast this week, continuing a trend of lackluster revenue growth in recent years. The state’s Emergency Board — comprising the governor and the heads of Legislature’s four money committees — will gather Thursday to receive a new consensus forecast. The updated revenue prediction is not expected to be good news. Administration Secretary Justin Johnson said the administration expects Tom Kavet and Jeff Carr, consulting economists for the administration and lawmakers, to predict lower revenues for the 2017 fiscal year than they first forecast in January. The revenue forecast accepted by the Emergency Board in January already included a $9.1 million downgrade for 2017. Continue Reading →

Story-Video-Podcast: Smith: Experience counts

Shap Smith
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MONTPELIER — Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith believes his eight years leading the House sets him apart from his primary rivals in the lieutenant governor’s race and leaves him most prepared to assume the top job if needed. Smith, 50, joined the Democratic primary for the state’s second-highest office in May — months after his two rivals, Chittenden County Sen. David Zuckerman and Burlington Rep. Kesha Ram. That came after Smith announced his candidacy for governor last August, but withdrew from the race in November after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite the late start, Smith said he has been able to utilize his vast network of supporters in the Legislature to help jump-start his campaign. “We stood up a campaign very quickly. Continue Reading →

Story-Video-Podcast: Lisman touts career, new ideas

Bruce Lisman
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MONTPELIER — After a long and lucrative career on Wall Street, Bruce Lisman is looking to transition from high finance to politics in his bid for governor. The 69-year-old Burlington native is facing off in a Republican primary against Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, a popular politician with a nice-guy image. Despite having founded the advocacy group Campaign for Vermont in 2011 and serving as its voice and face, Lisman has faced a substantial disadvantage in name recognition. As a result, he has launched several television ads seeking to link Scott with Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who is not seeking a fourth two-year term. For some, the commercials have come across as negative campaigning, but Lisman has maintained that they are contrast ads designed to show how Lisman would take Vermont in a new direction. Continue Reading →