Lt. gov. candidates tangle at Vermont Press Association debate

The lieutenant governor campaigns of Democrat Steve Howard and Republican Phil Scott found much to disagree about at a debate sponsored by the Vermont Press Association at St. Michael's College.

Disagreements came on issues of Vermont Yankee, decriminalization of marijuana, and right to life, while the two campaigns demonstrated marked differences in style during the 90-minute debate Oct. 3.

Howard emphasized the division between "working people" and "corporate America," while Scott's campaign put more emphasis on working together to "get things done" in the face of another projected state budget deficit.

The debate also allowed a forum for two other other candidates that are running for the second spot in Vermont government - Progressive Marjorie Power of Montpelier, and Independent Peter Garritano of Shelburne.

A fifth candidate, Liberty Union's Boots Wardinski of Newbury , declined to participate.

Actually, Sen. Scott, R-Washington was not able to participate in person, either. Due to a scheduling mix-up, the debate was scheduled while Scott was racing in the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road (he came in 11th), and his spot was taken by his campaign manager, State Rep. Patricia McDonald, R-Barre.

McDonald was, nevertheless, able to project Scott's image as a five-term senator who worked across the aisle to "do what's right, and get things done."

"Bringing folks together, that's his skill," she said. "Phil is a guy you just like to see coming in the door."

Howard , a Democratic representative from Rutland, defined the situation differently.

"I'm on the side of working people," he said in his opening statement. "My opponent is on the side of corporate America."

Vermont's Republican leadership is concerned mostly with "How do we make the wealthy wealthier," he said. If he is elected, he said, the office of lieutenant governor will not be a "sleepy ceremonial office."

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