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Podcast: Scott discusses deliberative transition process

Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott speaks to reporters the day after winning Vermont's gubernatorial race. (Times Argus/Jeb Wallace-Brodeur)
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MONTPELIER — With just over a month to go before he takes office, Gov.-elect Phil Scott has yet to name any top cabinet positions, but promises his deliberative selection process will result in a full cabinet by early January. Since winning the governor’s office on Nov. 8, Scott, a Republican, has appointed four people to serve on his staff. But top-level cabinet positions remain unfilled. Six years ago, outgoing Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin named several such appointees within a couple of weeks of his election. Continue Reading →

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Shumlin: Obamacare critical for Vermonters

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin speaks about the progress of Vermont Health Connect, the state's online health insurance marketplace, and the importance of the federal Affordable Care Act to Vermont. (VPB/Neal P. Goswami)

MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin is defending Obamacare and the state’s health care exchange as President-elect Donald Trump signals his intention to decimate them, a move the governor says will be an “extraordinary disaster for Vermonters.”

Shumlin, who is nearing the final month of his governorship, used a Montpelier news conference Tuesday to defend the federal and state health care reform efforts during his six years in office. He said Vermont Health Connect, the state’s online health insurance marketplace created under the federal Affordable Care Act, is finally working as anticipated when it launched in Oct. 2013. “I personally believe that Vermont now has among the best functioning state exchanges in America and probably the best functioning state exchanges in America,” the governor said. The open enrollment process, which has struggled in past years as technology faltered, is “proceeding smoothly,” Shumlin argued. Continue Reading →

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Recount leads to tie in Windsor-Orange House race

Rep. Sarah Buxton

MONTPELIER — A recount of the Windsor-Orange 1 House district between incumbent Democratic Rep. Sarah Buxton and Republican challenger David Ainsworth ended in a tie on Monday, according to Buxton. Buxton, of Tunbridge, said a recount Monday at the Windsor County Courthouse in Woodstock eliminated her narrow 1,003 to 1,000 margin over Ainsworth and resulted in a tie — 1,000 to 1,000. But Buxton said it is “questionable” whether that will stand as the final result.

In the original count of the two-town district there were eight write-in votes, two spoiled ballots and 51 blank ballots, according to Buxton. After the recount, there were nine write-in votes, three spoiled ballots and 56 blank ballots. “Somehow between the election night and the recount there are five more blank ballots, which seems kind of strange,” Buxton said. Continue Reading →

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Leahy chooses leadership role in Appropriations

Sen. Patrick Leahy

MONTPELIER — U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy is giving up his ranking member status on the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of a leadership role on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Leahy, currently the Senate’s longest-serving member, announced his decision to his staff Wednesday morning, according to spokesman David Carle. “The results of this election have reshaped the policymaking landscape in Washington and show the need for checks and balances, now that one party controls the White House as well as both houses of Congress,” Leahy said in a statement. “There are many challenges ahead. Against this new backdrop, I have decided that I will best be able to represent Vermonters’ voices, and reflect Vermont values and ideals, as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.”

Leahy turned down an opportunity in 2012 to become chairmen of the Appropriations Committee after the death of Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, but chose to remain at the helm of Judiciary. Continue Reading →

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Ashe locks down pro tem support

Sen. Tim Ashe

MONTPELIER — Chittenden County Sen. Tim Ashe is poised to become the next president pro tem of the Senate after the Democratic caucus unanimously nominated him for the post Monday. Ashe, 39, who serves as both a Progressive and Democratic in the Senate, will replace Democratic Windsor County Sen. John Campbell in the critical leadership post. Campbell, who now works as the executive director of the Department of State’s Attorneys & Sheriffs, did not seek re-election. “I’m, obviously, totally humbled to get the caucus support for the position. Many people outside the building don’t understand the role of the pro tem is really to be the shepherd of the entire Senate,” he said. Continue Reading →

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Scott vs. Minter: How the race played out

Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott celebrates his victory on Tuesday, Nov. 8. (Times Argus/Stefan Hard)

MONTPELIER — After months of campaigning, millions of dollars spent and countless hours of plotting and strategizing from both campaigns, in the end, the gubernatorial race in Vermont was not a close contest. Republican Phil Scott, the state’s current lieutenant governor, and now governor-elect, beat Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter by a very comfortable margin — 52 percent to 43.5 percent. Public polls commissioned by Vermont Public Radio and WCAX released in mid-October showed a closer race, with Scott leading by 1 percent and 7 percent, respectively. There was plenty of speculation in the days before Election Day that the winner may only receive a plurality, and once again, the race would be tossed to the Legislature to finish. But it was not close. Continue Reading →

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Video: Shumlin, Scott meet to begin transition

Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott met with outgoing Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin Thursday afternoon for their first face-to-face meeting since Scott’s victory on Tuesday. The two were planning to begin discussing how to ensure a smooth transition from Shumlin’s administration to Scott’s incoming team. Watch the video below:
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Sanders doesn’t rule out a 2020 White House run

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a primary night rally in Essex Junction, Vt., Tuesday, March 1, 2016, on Super Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bernie Sanders is leaving open the possibility of another presidential bid, saying in a Thursday interview that he wants to focus on helping the party rebuild its base after Donald Trump’s victory. “Four years is a long time from now,” said the 75-year-old Vermont senator, noting that he faces re-election to the Senate in 2018. But he added: “We’ll take one thing at a time, but I’m not ruling out anything.” Sanders gave voice to the frustration among many liberals in the aftermath of Trump’s stunning triumph over Hillary Clinton. He told The Associated Press in a phone interview that millions of working-class voters’ decision to back Trump was “an embarrassment” to the party and that Democrats must take a strong stand against the role of corporate interests in politics. Continue Reading →

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Gov.-elect Scott begins transition, pledges to find common ground with Democrats

Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott speaks to reporters the day after winning Vermont's gubernatorial race. (Times Argus/Jeb Wallace-Brodeur)

MONTPELIER — Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott claimed a mandate Wednesday for his incoming administration to focus on the economy while pledging to work with the Democratic-led Legislature to improve the fiscal lives of Vermonters. Scott, 58, defeated Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter Tuesday by a 52 percent to 43.5 percent margin. In January he will be sworn in as the state’s 82nd governor. But Vermonters send mixed signals at the voting booth. They opted for Progress and Democratic nominee David Zuckerman over Republican Randy Brock for lieutenant governor, and Senate Democrats expanded their dominance by two seats and now control 23 of the 30 total seats. Continue Reading →

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Podcast: Gov. Shumlin reflects on the 2016 election

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Gov. Peter Shumlin chats with Vermont Press Bureau Chief Neal Goswami about the 2016 election, and what it means for Vermont and the country. MONTPELIER — Outgoing Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin pledged his full support to Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott Wednesday whom he praised for running a good campaign, but was extremely critical of Republican President-elect Donald Trump and the campaign he ran to win the White House. Shumlin announced in June 2015 that he would not seek re-election after nearly losing his bid for a third term in 2014. With his approval rating under water, Shumlin avoided the campaign trail as Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sue Minter sought to succeed him. But, perhaps weighed down by Shumlin’s six-year tenure, she was handily defeated by Scott on Tuesday. Continue Reading →

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