Q&A: Candidates for Governor | Election Voter Guide | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Q&A: Candidates for Governor

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Published September 27, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.


Peter Duval, Kevin Hoyt, Phil Scott, Brenda Siegel - COURTESY
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  • Peter Duval, Kevin Hoyt, Phil Scott, Brenda Siegel

The governor is Vermont's CEO, the head of its executive branch of government. The Vermont legislature passes bills; the governor decides whether to sign them into law. The roles are reversed when it comes to the state budget, which the governor drafts and the legislature approves. The governor also appoints agency leaders and issues executive orders and proclamations. Republican Phil Scott has held the job since 2017 and is running for reelection. His responses to our questions are listed below, alongside those of his challengers.

Peter Duval

Age: 57
Town of residence: Underhill
Occupation: Househusband and sailing instructor
Party affiliation: Independent
Website: peterforvermont.earth

How will you help make childcare more accessible and affordable for working families?

I received a lot of correspondence from providers about a broken system. Let's look at a universal stipend for parents, probably reducing demand for expensive, labor-intensive infant care while encouraging parent-child bonding. A livable wage would help resolve low pay for early childhood education and across the entire economy.

How will you help Vermonters cope with inflation?

Inflation is driven by energy prices — functions of supply and demand. Vermonters can do something about demand. Vermont can organize conservation with a short workweek, real-time ride-sharing, fleet reduction, infrastructure diet and rethinking housing. Jevons paradox: Conservation, not efficiency, cuts costs and emissions quickly. And whatever happens with prices, Vermonters win.

What actions are you taking in your own life to reduce your carbon footprint?

I minimize driving my Honda Gen 1 Insight (approximately 5,000 miles per year, about 0.8 metric tonnes CO2E – 0.8 tonnes too much). EnergyStar roofing is installed on my home. Cool and cold zones reduce heating demand. A 12kW PV system is in progress, triple the original design. I eat less meat.

Do you support the Vermont Right to Personal Reproductive Autonomy Amendment? Why or why not?

Yes, Article 22 enshrines an important right. It also creates a state interest in pregnancy – perhaps something to correct later.

Kevin Hoyt

Age: 52
Town of residence: Bennington
Occupation: Television host and producer; conservation educator; spokesman and advocate for the National Shooting Sports Foundation
Party affiliation: Independent
Website: vtvault.org/fightback

How will you help make childcare more accessible and affordable for working families?

Education reform, school choice and the money follows the student. Decrease the cost of living, that is: remove criminal government and cut taxes. Reduce government regulations, fees and "costs" that oppress Vermonters. Increase wages through employers, not the government.

How will you help Vermonters cope with inflation?

Reduce frivolous government spending and criminal corruption, embezzlement, money laundering, obstruction. Provide equal laws and liability for Congress. Greatly reduce government size and regulation — put Vermont first and cut taxes with nonessential government pork and theft. We need to cut the cost of living. #RICO.

What actions are you taking in your own life to reduce your carbon footprint?

I'm helping arrest and remove our criminal leadership and exposing the green-energy scam for what it is. The climate is changing because it's being "engineered." Another government-created problem, and their answer is always to restrict, control and tax you more.

Do you support the Vermont Right to Personal Reproductive Autonomy Amendment? Why or why not?

I support a woman's right to reproduction and everyone's right to bodily autonomy, but I do not support this bill.

Phil Scott

Age: 64
Town of residence: Berlin
Occupation: Governor of Vermont
Party affiliation: Republican
Website: philscott.org

How will you help make childcare more accessible and affordable for working families?

We've been focusing on a cradle-to-career approach, so investing in early care and learning is a critical piece of that strategy. From childcare tax credits, afterschool and summer programs, and investing in childcare workforce, we've made great progress, but we have much more work to do.

How will you help Vermonters cope with inflation?

While inflation is largely out of our control, there is a lot we can do to make Vermont more affordable and ease the financial burden on everyday Vermonters. This includes making strategic investments in affordable housing, childcare and other big costs for families, while holding the line on taxes.

What actions are you taking in your own life to reduce your carbon footprint?

I've always been frugal by nature and do my best to reuse and recycle as much as possible. My home is completely weatherized with passive solar on my roof. I also utilize Zoom or Teams whenever possible to reduce travel. I'm very grateful to have a state-owned electric F-150 Lightning.

Do you support the Vermont Right to Personal Reproductive Autonomy Amendment? Why or why not?

Yes. I believe the choice should be between a woman and her doctor.

Brenda Siegel

Age: 45
Town of residence: Newfane
Occupation: Consultant, small business owner and educator
Party affiliation: Democrat/Progressive
Website: brendaforvermont.com

How will you help make childcare more accessible and affordable for working families?

I'm committed to no family paying above 10 percent of their annual income. We must enact universal pre-K, better fund early education centers, support fair wages and benefits for childcare workers across Vermont. It's not just about making investments in childcare, it's about making the right investments.

How will you help Vermonters cope with inflation?

Vermont has become less affordable over the last six years. I have a plan for emergency, transitional and permanent housing for low- to middle-income families. Build in-state renewable energy, lower energy costs, bring good paying jobs. Support worker initiatives like mandatory paid family medical leave. Support small businesses.

What actions are you taking in your own life to reduce your carbon footprint?

I recycle, compost and waste as little as possible. However, like so many Vermonters, I cannot reach solutions like moving to electric vehicles, heat pumps, solar panels and more. We must increase public transportation, make sure that climate solutions can reach impacted communities and transition farms to carbon sequestration.

Do you support the Vermont Right to Personal Reproductive Autonomy Amendment? Why or why not?

Yes, and pro-choice is not enough. We need to be proactive. As governor, I will propose a shield law.

Bernard Peters

Age: 76
Town of residence: Irasburg
Occupation: Army veteran; retired from the Agency of Transportation
Party affiliation: Independent
Website: None

How will you help make childcare more accessible and affordable for working families?

You have to get people to do childcare at a reasonable rate so that people who are working don't have to spend all of their money on childcare. The legislature would have to come up with something, and if I was governor, I probably would vote for it.

How will you help Vermonters cope with inflation?

I don't know if anybody at the local or state level can do a lot about it. It's usually the federal government that will handle it. You'll have to have people in Washington stop inflation, which will help Vermont and working people. It starts higher up, and it trickles down.

What actions are you taking in your own life to reduce your carbon footprint?

I don't even know if I make a carbon footprint. I drive a vehicle. We don't use any more electricity than we have to because of the price. We don't just go out and destroy the Earth. I'm not out spreading chemicals all over the place.

Do you support the Vermont Right to Personal Reproductive Autonomy Amendment? Why or why not?

No. I'm hoping we'll have a debate and some of this can be brought out in a debate.