Kesha Ram

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Vermont attorney general forms task force on immigration

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state’s Democratic attorney general announced Wednesday that he has formed a task force to advise his office on the scope of its authority on immigration matters amid uncertainty about the federal government’s plans for refugees. T.J. Donovan made the announcement at a Statehouse press conference as President Donald Trump is said to be reviewing proposals that would restrict the flow of refugees to the United States. It also comes as Vermont begins to welcome Syrian refugee families into the state. It’s unclear what the state could do, if anything, if Trump issues an executive order that would halt Syrian refugees from coming to Vermont, Donovan said. Continue Reading →

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Dems, GOP present unified parties as general election begins

BURLINGTON — After lengthy primary campaigns, both the Vermont Democratic Party and the Vermont Republican Party gathered Wednesday morning to rally their troops and present a unified front for the general election. Democrats gathered at Burlington’s Main Street Landing Wednesday morning where the winners and losers in the primaries for governor and lieutenant governor spent time exchange hugs and well wishes. Matt Dunne, who lost to Sue Minter in the gubernatorial primary Tuesday by a wide margin, provided a gracious introduction for Minter after his campaign manager Nick Charyk lashed out at her last week. Charyk accused her of being part of the establishment trying to undermine Dunne for his progressive platform, offered gracious words to his former rival Wednesday

But that seemed to be forgotten Wednesday as Dunne offered his endorsement for the general election. “It wouldn’t be OK if we just wanted any Democrat to win. Continue Reading →

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Zuckerman, a Progressive, wins Dem nomination for LG

MONTPELIER — Sen. David Zuckerman pulled out a victory in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor over House Speaker Shap Smith. The three-way Democratic primary, which included Burlington Rep. Kesha Ram, remained fairly close late Tuesday night with Zuckerman holding a 3,000 vote lead over Smith. With 268 of 275 voting districts reporting, Zuckerman has a 43 percent to 37 percent edge, according to unofficial results posted by the secretary of state’s office. Ram is far behind with nearly 17 percent of the vote and conceded defeat. The Associated Press, however, called the race for Zuckerman at 10:16 p.m. “I won the Democratic primary,” Zuckerman told supporters Tuesday night, citing the AP. Continue Reading →

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Zuckerman releases 2015 tax return, other Dems to follow

MONTPELIER — Sen. David Zuckerman, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, released his 2015 tax return Tuesday, showing he and his wife earned $63,977 in adjusted gross income. Zuckerman, who is engaged in a three-way primary for the state’s second-highest office, filed a joint 2015 return with his wife, Rachel Nevitt. Their returned showed an adjusted gross income of $63,977, including $33,429 in wages, $24,676 in income from their farm in Hinesburg, $7,055 in investment income and $125 in speaking fees. The couple paid $2,213 in federal income tax on their taxable income of $28,079. Their tax rate was 10.8 percent of taxable income. Continue Reading →

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Story-Video-Podcast: Zuckerman stands on bold proposals

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Listen to Zuckerman discuss the issues:

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 →

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Story-Video-Podcast: Smith: Experience counts

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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 →

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Candidates raise big bucks

MONTPELIER — Candidates for Vermont’s top statewide offices have reported big fundraising hauls since March, led by Republican Bruce Lisman, a former Wall Street executive, who has contributed more than $1 million to his own campaign for governor. Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott reported Friday that he has raised $350,000 since the last reporting period on March 15. According to his campaign finance disclosure form filed with the secretary of state’s office Friday, Scott has spent about $250,000 in the past four months. Overall, Scott has raised about $860,000 and spent about $467,000. He has $370,000 cash on hand with less than a month to go before the Aug. Continue Reading →

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Story-Video-Podcast: Ram: Unique insight into Vermonters’ struggles

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Listen to Kesha Ram discuss the issues:

MONTPELIER — Kesha Ram launched her political career at the urging of someone who went on to become most powerful man on Earth. In 2006, while a sophomore at the University of Vermont, Ram introduced then-U.S Sen. Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders at a rally in the Ira Allen Chapel on the college’s campus. “In the middle of his speech — and he has a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas and I have a father from India and a mother from Illinois — Barack turned to Bernie and said, ‘Bernie, if you don’t behave yourself, we’re going to run Kesha for the Senate instead of you,’” Ram recalled. “It was the first time anyone encouraged me to run for office, and I thought, ‘If there a place for a person like him in politics, maybe there’s a place for someone like me.’”

The now-29-year old — she will turn 30 one week before the Aug. 9 primary — is engaged in a three-way race for the Democratic Party nomination for lieutenant governor, facing off against former House Speaker Shap Smith and Sen. David Zuckerman. Continue Reading →

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Speaker joins race for lieutenant governor

MONTPELIER — Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith is entering the race for lieutenant governor, ending months of speculation about his political plans after he suspended his gubernatorial bid in November to help his wife wage a battle with breast cancer. Smith, 50, announced his candidacy in an emailed news release Wednesday morning after discussing his plans in an embargoed interview with the Vermont Press Bureau Tuesday afternoon. He joins Chittenden County Sen. David Zuckerman and Burlington Rep. Kesha Ram in a three-way Democratic primary for the state’s second-highest office. Smith said he called both Zuckerman and Ram to tell them he would be entering the race before making it public. The speaker, from Morrisville, announced his candidacy for governor last June, flanked by legions of House members backing his candidacy. Continue Reading →

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Speaker set to decide his political future by early May

MONTPELIER — With the clock winding down on the legislative biennium, one major political question remains unanswered — the future of Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith. Smith, 50, was briefly a candidate for governor late last summer, hoping to succeed Gov. Peter Shumlin, a fellow Democrat who is not seeking a fourth term. He launched his gubernatorial bid in his hometown of Morrisville, flanked by dozens of the House members he has led for the previous seven years. But Smith suspended his campaign soon after when his wife, Dr. Melissa Volansky, began a battle with breast cancer. His focus shifted from a political race to ensuring the well-being of his wife, a physician, and their two children. Continue Reading →

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