Vermont Gov. Phil Scott to Run for Reelection | Politics | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Vermont Gov. Phil Scott to Run for Reelection


Published May 17, 2022 at 7:58 a.m.

  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Gov. Phil Scott
Updated at 2:18 p.m.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott will run for a fourth term this fall, saying in a campaign email that "there is still much more work to do."

Scott, a Republican, was elected in 2016 and has won reelection easily every two years since. National polling has consistently ranked him as one of the most popular governors in the country. Some of that has had to do with his administration's handling of the COVID-19 crisis, especially earlier in the pandemic.

Newfane political activist Brenda Siegel, a Democrat, is the only declared Democratic gubernatorial candidate to date. Siegel ran for governor in 2018, coming in third in the Democratic primary with 21 percent of the vote behind eventual nominee Christine Hallquist and water quality advocate James Ehlers.

"We've seen late entries before, so it's not impossible, but at this point we haven't heard of anyone else jumping in," Vermont Democratic Party vice chair David Glidden said in a text, "and we are looking forward to Brenda Siegel taking on a Governor she's already beaten before."

As an example of how she's bested Scott, he cited Siegel's vigil sleeping on the Statehouse steps for 27 nights last fall to call attention to the expiration of the state's homeless motel program. Siegel and activist Josh Lisenby, who also slept out, sought to pressure state officials to restore the pandemic-era motel voucher program for homeless Vermonters. The state eventually announced guidelines that meant people who had been displaced from motels qualified once more for vouchers.

“That was our big ask, and we got it,” Siegel said at the time.

Major party candidates have until May 26 to register to run in the primary.

In Scott's statement, he said he doesn't plan to spend a lot of time on the campaign trail.

"My priority won’t be campaigning," Scott said. "I will continue to focus on doing the job you hired me to do and leading our state. You’ll hear more from me in the months ahead, but for now, I just wanted to let you know what I’ve decided."

Though more moderate than many of his national GOP colleagues, Scott has frequently butted heads with the Democrat-led General Assembly during his tenure. He's issued a historic number of vetoes, including several during the just-completed legislative session.

"We’ve stopped multiple attempts to raise taxes, fees and the cost of living on already overburdened Vermonters," he wrote in the email. "And while not nearly enough, we’ve even provided some much needed tax relief."

He also noted other achievements, including "record investments in housing, infrastructure, broadband, combating climate change, and more."

Making sure those millions of federal dollars are spent appropriately is one of the reasons Scott decided to stand for another two-year term, the governor said during his weekly press conference Tuesday.

“We have to follow through on them, and we need a seasoned team to do that," Scott said.

He said he remains concerned about inflation and the possibility of a recession, and wants to remain at the helm should the state need to navigate such a slump. He also said he has always faced an opponent in the primary and expects this year to be no different.

In addition to seeing through many of the investments lawmakers did fund, Scott said there are many he proposed that did not get traction this session that he’d like to continue to work toward. These include tax relief, improving cell coverage, expanding technical education, and allowing sports betting.

Kevin McCallum contributed to this report.