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Wednesday, Dec 6, 2023

2010 Gubernatorial General Election

Vermont’s political scene is heating up in the midst of preparations for the upcoming gubernatorial general election, set for Nov. 2. Incumbent Republican Governor Jim Douglas ’72, who has held that post for the last eight years, chose not to run again this year. The battle is between Republican Brian Dubie and Democrat Peter Shumlin.
Shumlin fought hard for his nomination and beat fellow Democratic candidate Doug Racine by a mere 197 votes. Racine demanded a recount before he conceded. The three other Democratic candidates, Susan Bartlett, Matt Dunne and Deborah Markowitz also competed for the nomination.
According to Vermont Public Radio’s (VPR) most recent poll from Oct. 12, Dubie has 44 percent of the votes, while Shumlin is  right behind him with 43 percent of the population’s support.
“We are looking at a very close race in the final two weeks of the campaign,” said Eric Davis, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the College, who was interviewed by Vermont Public Radio. “The two candidates are basically within the margin of error.”
This means that both candidates have a roughly four-point margin where their support will either increase or decrease. Polls indicate that Shumlin has 41 percent of the population in his favor and 30 percent against in Vermont, while Dubie has 50 percent in his favor and 33 percent expressly against.
“There are still roughly 20 to 25 percent of the people surveyed who either are neutral towards the two candidates or in a few instances don’t even recognize their names,” said Davis.
About eight percent of the population is still undecided, which gives both candidates a final opportunity to influence and convince voters to support their campaign.
Davis, along with Kate Duffy, the communications director for Dubie, believes that the independent voters will decide the race. Dubie currently has 49 percent support from the independents, while Shumlin has 33 percent. Davis said that Shumlin needs at least 40 percent of the independents’ votes in order to win the election.
Jenny Wilson, an Orwell, Vt. resident, spoke with VPR and said she worries because Dubie has been absent from much of his work as Lieutenant Governor. She questions whether he is dedicated enough to represent Vermont. Others, like David Durner, a moderate conservative who also had an interview over the radio, fear Shumlin is too liberal for Vermont.
Results will be announced on November 2, and this final week of campaigning is crucial for both candidates, as neither has a strong lead yet.

Dubie, a fifth-generation Vermonter and a father of four, grew up in Essex, Vt. and graduated from the University of Vermont with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He later became involved in the Vermont National Air Guard and was appointed its Commander. Dubie has flown over 2,500 hours in fighter aircrafts and is now a Colonel in the Air Force and a captain for American Airlines. He boasts many accolades, especially due to his work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and September 11.
“The last thing Brian worries about is what party I belong to,” asserts Friends for Brian Dubie, the organization funding several of his television advertisements. “He cares about our community and the state of Vermont.”
Supporters say they are voting for Dubie because he is an advocate and can be trusted. They believe he has legitimate plans for Vermont and specifically for growth, and that he makes tough decisions at the appropriate time.
“Dubie’s strongest quality is his commitment to Vermont,” said Duffy. “He truly wants what is best for the state, and he is running for governor to make Vermont an even better place to raise a family, start a small business, earn a living and retire comfortably.”
Dubie also chairs the Governor’s Commission on Healthy Aging, which works to keep health care costs stable and increase the participation of elders in community events. He is on the Homeland Security Council and he founded the Vermont Aerospace and Aviation Association in 2006. This committee seeks to increase education in the fields of math, science and engineering, and to make aviation jobs more accessible to the public.
“As Governor, my number one goal will be to make Vermont the best place in New England to start or expand a business, and create jobs,” said Dubie on his campaign website.
Dubie is primarily focused on job creation and economic growth. He believes these are tangible goals if Vermonters can tackle four other issues. First, the state must cut taxes so businesses can expand their companies, hire more employees and buy locally. Next, the government must control its spending, and Dubie proposes shortening the legislative period as a way of cutting expenses. Regulatory practices also must be changed through enhanced communication between regulators and businesses. In his position as Vermont’s Lieutenant Governor, Dubie focused on job creation. He traveled to Cuba and sold the country six million dollars of local Vermont milk, and he has promoted the state’s businesses in China and Canada. Shumlin, on the other hand, disagrees with Dubie’s out-of-state job growth plan.
“I love Vermont,” said Dubie on his website. “Not just for what it was and not just for what is it, but for what it can be.”
Finally, Vermont must take advantage of its green economy and continue to promote clean energy, air and water. Dubie believes one way to do so is through education.
“His slogan is ‘Pure Vermont’,” said Duffy, which is a play on words, as Dubie and his brother own a maple syrup operation. “Much like maple syrup is known as a market brand of Vermont, Dubie wants to improve the markets for other Vermont products, too.”

Peter Shumlin owns his own small business in Putnam, Vt. called Putney Student Travel. The company, which sends about 1,300 high school students to summer language immersion and community service programs across the world, is a Vermont family business. Shumlin feels he connects with fellow Vermonters because he understands the struggles of owning a small, local business. His company runs out of a converted, and now decorated, cow barn.
After graduating from Wesleyan University, Shumlin worked in the Vermont House of Representatives for three years and has been a Senator for Windham County, Vt. for the past eight years. While in the Senate, he was on the Rules Committee, the Finance Committee, the Transportation Committee and the Appropriations Committee. He also worked as the President pro-tempore, a position of strong leadership. An advocate of civil unions and the 2010 Marriage Equality Act, Shumlin seeks to curb negative environmental influences and to expand broadband, technology and accessible health care across Vermont.
“Peter Shumlin gets tough things done,” said Peter Mallary, a member of Shumlin’s campaign.
“He is tenacious, but he is also optimitsic.”
Shumlin’s platform is multifaceted and advocates for Vermonters on many levels, including in the arena of job creation. He has detailed his goals in a 27-page pamphlet titled “Vision for Vermont: A Strategic Plan to Get Vermonters Back to Work.” Shumlin plans to provide credit to small businesses to spur the economy.
His supporters value that he trusts the population and that he allows each to make his/her own decision. Many women appreciate that Shumlin supports abortion, as Dubie does not give women the right to “choose.”
“Peter Shumlin is a fighter for Vermont’s middle class,” said Mallary. “He believes that government has a positive role to play in solving problems for people who might otherwise not have a voice, and he is committed to making sure those voices are heard.”
Shumlin also seeks to consolidate Vermont’s crucial resources, promote green energy, tackle the inequalities of health care by creating a single-payer system and encourage equal rights for all, regardless of sexuality and gender. Another of his main goals is improving education in the state, especially because there are fewer children in school today. In addition, Shumlin plans to support local farmers for economic reasons that include increases in oil and for environmental concerns. He also plans to further integrate elders into the community.
“My plan protects middle class taxpayers, strengthens public education and preserves local control,” said Shumlin in one of his television advertisements. “Now that’s the Vermont way.”