Progressive Party focuses on House seats

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(Host) Members of Vermont’s Progressive Party say they want to concentrate on winning additional seats in the Vermont House during the upcoming campaign season.

Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Party chair Martha Abbott says it’s very unlikely that the Party will seek candidates to run for the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House because those races could take valuable resources away from the local legislative races:

(Abbott) “Some of our choice about candidates and what to run is driven by resources. We are a new party. We’ve only been here for 5 years. We’ve done an amazing amount in those 5 years but we do have limited resources and we want to run credible campaigns and we want to be realistic about what we can do and how we can get our message across.”

(Host) The Progressives are expected to raise health care as a key issue in the 2006 elections. Rochester Rep. Sandy Haas says the reform legislation passed by lawmakers this year doesn’t go nearly far enough to provide universal access to health care:

(Haast) “Well I’m planning to continue to discuss it. My constituents tell me that they’re not satisfied with this bill and I think we do have to keep the conversation open. But I think there will be a certain reticence to reopen this issue when we have a program that by its terms, doesn’t even take effect until October of 2007.”

(Host) The Progressives are expected to run some candidates for statewide office in 2006. They’ve scheduled a press conference for Thursday to announce their slate of candidates – it’s likely that Party Chair Martha Abbott will be one of the candidates for statewide office.

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