Industrial wind Scott said he’d back a moratorium on new large wind developments, and he said now is “an opportune time” to reassess such projects. Gekas is a wind proponent; she doesn’t support a moratorium, and her stance mirrors that of Gov. Peter Shumlin. Renewable energy Both Scott and Gekas value renewable energy generally and support increasing Vermont’s biomass capacity. They both welcomed news of the governor’s recent commission to examine the siting process for energy projects.
A debate last week teased out more differences between major party candidates Progressive-Democrat Cassandra Gekas and Republican incumbent Phil Scott in the race for lieutenant governor.
Vermont Public Television moderator Stewart Ledbetter didn’t broach the topic of abortion, one of the more controversial issues which spurred a heated back and forth between the two candidates in previous debates. Ledbetter’s questions revealed new areas in which Scott and Gekas hold opposing points of view.
Key differences emerged regarding wind power generation, the correctional system and social issues.
Gekas said she’d support legalizing patient-directed death as long as there are safeguards in place. Scott said he didn’t support the legislation that was proposed and failed in the Senate last year – not because of partisan ideology, but for personal reasons. Last spring Scott told WPTZ that he supported a similar bill in 2004, but changed his mind when he contemplated his father’s narrow escape from death after he was severely injured in the 1944 invasion of Normandy.
Scott said he’d back a moratorium on new large wind developments, and he said now is “an opportune time” to reassess such projects. Gekas is a wind proponent; she doesn’t support a moratorium, and her stance mirrors that of Gov. Peter Shumlin.
Both Scott and Gekas value renewable energy generally and support increasing Vermont’s biomass capacity. They both welcomed news of the governor’s recent commission to examine the siting process for energy projects.
Gekas says Vermont shouldn’t be sending inmates to for-profit prisons owned by Corrections Corporation of America in Arizona and Kentucky. Scott supports the use of private prisons. If state prisons are full, he said, “We have to utilize some of the private facilities outside state borders. We can’t afford to keep building new prisons.”
Both candidates support the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana.
Gekas and Scott backed away from charged comments during the debate. Asked whether serving as acting governor had been burdensome, after news broke about Shumlin’s four months spent out of state his first 21 months in office, Scott responded: “I serve at the pleasure of Vermonters: It hasn’t hampered me at all.”
Later on, Gekas didn’t bite at a chance to criticize Scott’s role presiding over an arguably dysfunctional Senate in 2012. She made a point of praising Scott and the Shumlin administration for how they handled Irene, saying the disaster response and aftermath, showed the “best of Vermont.” She gave Scott credit for his post-Irene work.
Both Scott and Gekas handled the debate well despite the meandering monologues of Liberty Union candidate Ben Mitchell, who also participated in the question and answer format. Mitchell unabashedly dodged questions and focused on socialism, fascism, and the past mistakes of the federal government.
Neither could name state programs they’d cut if forced to by reduced federal funding, instead they danced carefully around the question. Both said that raising taxes had to remain an option, but didn’t discuss which or by how much.
In his closing speech, Scott cited his political experience: “I’ve been lieutenant governor now for two years, and I’ve learned an incredible amount…What I can bring is what I’ve been bringing for the last two years. I listen, I learn, I help when needed, and I lead when necessary.”
Gekas sounded themes from Shumlin’s standard stump speeches: “For me, this is really about how we’re going to grow jobs and economic opportunity in Vermont…We’re going to have to curb the costs of health care, we’re going to have to invest in renewable energy … I will be a Lieutenant Governor that brings your voice to the table.”
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