(Host) Governor Jim Douglas officially announced plans to seek a second term in office Tuesday afternoon. Douglas says economic development issues and reform of the state’s health care system are top priorities for the next two years.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.
(Sound of crowd cheering for Douglas.)
(Kinzel) Douglas highlighted his commitment to revitalize the state economy by making his announcement at a small electronics firm in Barre. SBE Electronics makes capacitors and is successfully marketing its products around the world with the help of some of Vermont’s small business programs.
Douglas told the crowd of roughly a hundred people that he thinks his administration has had a profound impact on the state in the 18 months that he’s been in office:
(Douglas) “We rejected the misguided pessimism and the policies of gridlock and offered Vermonters a third way: a positive alternative to both the extremism of the right and the extremism of the left. The course we have set is working and the result is a record of progress of which Vermonters can be proud. But Vermonters know two years is not enough to solve every challenge. There is more work to do and that is why I am seeking another term as governor of the great state of Vermont.” (Sound of crowd applause.)
(Kinzel) Douglas said the key accomplishments in his first term are a reform of the Act 250 permit system, changes to Act 60 that eliminated the sharing pool, an initiative to help clean up Lake Champlain and steps to strengthen the state economy.
Douglas says he sees health care reform as a key challenge for the next two years and he says his proposals are in stark contrast to those offered by the Democrats. Douglas says he wants to expand the private sector health care insurance market while the Democrats want to expand government programs:
(Douglas) “Because of these failed policies insurance carriers have left our state, giving our people fewer affordable options and shifting costs to taxpayers and those individuals and businesses remaining in the health care marketplace. I’ve offered a new approach to help make health care and prescription drugs affordable for every Vermonter.”
(Kinzel) Douglas told the crowd that he views the election as a referendum on his leadership over the past two years:
(Douglas) “In just over four months the voters of Vermont will be asked to render a judgment on my service. They’ll reflect on our many accomplishments and whom they can trust to address the challenges ahead. They will know that I’ve kept my word and if I’m given the privilege to serve again I’ll continue to guide our state on the path to prosperity. Thank you all very much.” (Sound of crowd applause.)
(Kinzel) Douglas will face Democrat Peter Clavelle in the fall election.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.