Douglas kicks off re-election campaign

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas kicked off the start of his re-election campaign today with a promise to make the state more affordable for working Vermonters.

The two-term governor also targeted the Democratically controlled legislature. He accused the majority party of being too eager to raise taxes and expand government.

VPR’s John Dillon reports.

(Dillon) Douglas kicked off his run for a third term in a packed meeting room at a downtown Burlington hotel.

He didn’t make any new proposals during his speech. Instead, he reiterated an agenda that he first laid out during his state of the state address in January.

He outlined plans for college scholarships, a cap on property taxes, and more competition in health care insurance.

And he had harsh words for Democrats who control both houses in the Legislature.

(Douglas) “It’s becoming increasingly obvious that their idea of affordability is to raise taxes so they can afford more government spending. Instead of cropping property taxes, they proposed cropping of dog ears. Instead of reducing gas and diesel taxes they proposed to raise them. Instead of working to make renting and owning a home more affordable, they proposed raising the property transfer tax.”

(Dillon) In the past, the governor has said Vermonters chose to have a divided government by electing a Republican for governor and a Democratically controlled Legislature.

In an interview after the speech, he made clear he’s now campaigning in part to change the Statehouse.

(Douglas) “We need an administration and a legislature that will work toward insuring that Vermont is an affordable place to live, work and raise a family. That requires a governor and members of a General Assembly who share that goal. We made some progress this year, particularly in the area of health care. But we have a lot more to do. And I need to be sure that Vermonters choose a government in the next biennium that is committed to those objectives.”

(Dillon) Douglas faces Democrat Scudder Parker in November. He promised to debate Parker after the September primary.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Burlington.

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