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Strolling in the rain for votes

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Brian Dubie visits downtown Brattleboro

BRATTLEBORO—On a rainy afternoon in downtown Brattleboro, Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie visited Main Street businesses and introduced himself to business owners and employees.

With seven campaign workers in tow, ranging in age from the late teens to late 20s, the sole Republican candidate for governor stopped into stores to speak with the owners.

The top two topics of discussion? Expanding broadband Internet to the rest of Vermont and the economy.

Last Friday’s heavy rain may have soaked the group’s campaign signs, but it didn’t extinguish their fire.

Richard Cogliano of Dummerston said he used his day off from work to support Dubie.

Cogliano said he has backed Dubie since hearing him speak in 2003. He said likes the candidate’s fiscal policy, his track record as lieutenant governor and his vision for the future.

Three other campaign workers came from the Brattleboro area.

Earlier that day, Dubie visited Cotton Mill Hill, the small business incubator run by the Brattleboro Development Credit Corp.

“It was fascinating,” said Dubie, referring to the number of small and diverse businesses under one roof.

Dubie feels small business are the future of Vermont’s economy. Looking at the statistics, he said small businesses are where the economy is growing in the United States, specifically women-owned business.

“We can grow jobs [in Vermont] if we work to cut taxes and cut red tape,” he said.

Dubie’s long-term plan to encourage Vermont’s economy includes limiting state spending growth at less than or equal to the rate of inflation. Over time, the Dubie said the money saved would be rolled back into the budget to lower property and personal income taxes.

Dubie offered no other specifics about what he calls his 10-point economic plan, which he said he will release after the Aug. 24 primary.

The major changes he proposes wouldn’t come quickly, he adds, but in the long run, Vermonters would have a stronger state.

Dubie said that southern Vermont is important to him and that Windham County would not be “the forgotten county ” if he becomes governor.

“My cabinet will reflect the diversity of our state, including southern Vermont. I will hold myself accountable to that standard,” he said.

Dubie feels that outgoing Gov. James Douglas set a good example regarding inclusion of southern Vermont. As governor, Dubie says he will follow in Douglas’ footsteps.

Dubie, who lives in Essex Junction, is the top fundraiser of all the candidates running for governor, raising nearly $1 million for his campaign since last fall.

Five Democrats are running in the Aug. 24 primary for the chance to take on Dubie in November — Sens. Susan Bartlett, Doug Racine and Peter Shumlin, former Sen. Matt Dunne and Secretary of State Deb Markowitz.

Independents Cris Ericson, Dan Feliciano, Emily Peyton and Dennis Steele are also in the gubernatorial race, as well as the Progressive Party’s Martha Abbott, Socialist Party/Liberty Union Party candidate Ben Mitchell and Working Families party candidate Ben Johnson.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #60 (Wednesday, July 28, 2010).

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