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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

The Pragmatist - 4/29

The primaries for the Vermont gubernatorial election in September may be far away, but between recent debates and more media coverage, excitement is quickly building for a race that many are predicting will be a toss-up. This will be the first election that this Vermonter can vote in, and I am therefore particularly enthusiastic about the election and my favorite candidate.

The Democratic slate includes, among others, three current state senators: Susan Bartlett, Doug Racine and Pete Shumlin. Former state senator Matt Dunne is also running, and long-time Secretary of State Deb Markowitz rounds out the contenders. These individuals, who will be on my first ballot in the fall, have showed up in my political history of Vermont before. In the first gubernatorial election to which I paid attention, Doug Racine ran against current governor Jim Douglas. As an eighth-grade page in the Vermont legislature, I was certainly aware of Susan Bartlett—she was formidable and, I’m sure, still is. I knew of Matt Dunne as the youngest of the ambitious senators from Windsor. Pete Shumlin represents Putney, where my grandparents live, and he has been a fixture of politics in that region for a while. Remember the mock ballots we filled out in middle and high school? Deb Markowitz has been on every one I’ve ever seen, and I voted for her as Secretary of State in every single one.

The Democrats generally agree on the environment, on the state budget and, most importantly in my opinion, on the fact that one of them needs to beat Republican candidate Brian Dubie. From my experience in the legislature when he was lieutenant governor and throughout his continued role in state government, I thoroughly agree that compared to any of the Democrats, he would be an uninspiring, inefficient and unproductive governor, and he would represent a conservative minority in Vermont.

Instead, I support the Democratic candidate who epitomizes efficiency and productiveness, and who I believe has the best vision of what Vermont needs: Deb Markowitz. Not only does she have the best poll numbers in direct matchups with Brian Dubie, but she would run this state as smoothly as she has run the Secretary of State’s office for the past twelve years. She follows through with promises, from making it easier to start and grow small businesses in the state, to election reform, to creating programs to protect victims of domestic violence. She will not be “business as usual” in Montpelier, and she will accomplish her stated goals of making government more efficient, improving education and healthcare and supporting Vermont’s small businesses and farms. She has concrete ideas for positive change. I am excited about my first election, and Deb Markowitz has energized me enough to volunteer in my first political campaign.

Vermont politics are unique in their intimacy. They are small-town politics, and I definitely have much more personal reactions to the candidates than I do to politicians on the national stage. As Midd students, you have the opportunity to take part in Vermont’s unique politics, and I think you should take advantage and make your politics personal. The Middlebury College Democrats had a chat with Matt Dunne and loved him, experiencing the best part of Vermont politics. This is one of the few places where you might sell vegetables at a farmers’ market right next to another state representative. Take advantage of this quality and go meet them to decide for yourself!