BRATTLEBORO—Independent gubernatorial candidate Emily Peyton said if she’s elected, she could change Vermont.
Peyton is looking to recast the state on a very deep level. Are people ready for it?
According to Peyton, electing her would signify people’s willingness to embrace a new future.
“I’m not submissive,” said Peyton. “I want to inject this truth serum.”
Peyton said that Vermonters have turned away from the system, disenfranchised.
This is the Putney resident’s second bid for governor. Peyton said she used her first run to uncover challenges.
“This time I’m running to seriously challenge the system,” she said.
The prize she envisions for the government is integration of the citizenry into the process of governing.
If elected governor, Peyton said she would use her authority to start a process of integration. She would become the bridge-builder between power and people.
As an example, Peyton said she would work to alter the legislative process to include more public input.
In Montpelier, before a bill is voted on it undergoes three readings. Peyton said that after the second reading, the government publishes the bills in newspapers and online at its expense. Under her administration, citizens’ input would then be collected and incorporated into the bill.
The planks of a new Vermont
Peyton described her platform as, “the best of technology, combined with home cooking.”
Some of the main planks in Peyton’s platform focus on improving the economy and operating in concert with the environment.
Peyton said she wants to create a Vermont where there’s enough “value” (currency, local dollars, or benefits) in circulation to relieve the stress of economic issues such as underemployment.
She said she wants to care for the Earth by helping the state “get free” of its current energy use. If elected, Peyton said she would commit to making Vermont a “no waste,” carbon-negative state within five years.
To increase the value in the state’s economy, Peyton said Vermont should enact four tools: A public bank, like North Dakota’s state-owned bank; a statewide barter system that allows residents to exchange things such as volunteer labor for state benefits; a state currency; and a state credit card.
Referring to the four tools, Peyton said, “powerful politicians are hiding [them] behind their backs.”
“To top it off, we [Vermont] have an opportunity to be the test case,” she said.
Vermont’s new economy would attract an “enormous creative class” looking to relocate or assist the state in finding better ways of doing things. The state won’t have to reinvent the wheel, she said. Instead, it can draw expertise from outside its borders.
As the newly-elected governor, Peyton said her first year in office would focus on turning Vermont in a new direction. She would launch a series of “collective brainstorming” sessions. The action steps for the state would grow out of the brainstorming sessions.
Another purpose of taking the first year of her term to plan would be to dislodge transgressions of government, especially around taxation.
According to Peyton, Vermonters don’t have true private property because of property tax. A person may have invested all his life into a home. Yet, if the homeowner falls short on paying property taxes, the state can seize the property.
In essence, the homeowner is living as a tenant on state land rather than a private property owner, said Peyton.
Everyone needs to pitch in for the services he or she uses, but for the “government to steal is unethical,” she said.
If the state operated a Vermont dollar or coupon system, then people could provide services to the community in exchange for tax payments and other public debts.
Peyton’s first-year plan also includes planting hemp and closing Vermont Yankee.
Access to wealth
Peyton said many systems within government or businesses exist to give a certain few greater access to wealth. “[This is] reflected in the unfair deals that harm or double-cross the regular Vermonter,” she said.
She equates money with alcohol. Water will sustain a person’s health. Meanwhile with beer, like money, the first beer is nice, and maybe the second, but by the third, a person has passed his healthy limit.
“You’re in a dangerous zone of intoxication by the process of accumulation,” she said. “It results in bad behavior.”
“I’m not motivated by personal gain of wealth,” she said when asked what makes her a good leader.
She said she has an “internal barometer set for honesty.”
Peyton added that she has put aside fears but not caution. “[I’m] comfortable with the poorest of poor and wealthiest of wealthy,” Peyton said. She added that she likes everyone when they behave with integrity.
Peyton said she worries the present direction of health care reform in the state will increase Vermonters’ economic stress. Instead, she feels Vermont should adopt Cuba’s health care system. In Cuba, anyone can walk into a clinic and receive care. Doctors make house calls allowing them to see their patients’ health in a fuller context.
Stress placed on the environment by man-made technology such as windmills and the F-35 fighter planes proposed for placement at Burlington International Airport, also concerns Peyton.
Humans can’t continue to separate themselves from the needs of the animals. The sounds created by some technology, both in vibrations and in decibels, harms these creatures.
“The bees are leaving where the smart meters are,” she said, referring to utilities’ use of meters that use pulsed radio frequency radiation to measure electricity use. Opponents say they harm bees and other animals.
Pro se suits
During her bid for governor, Peyton has taken to the courts. The lawsuits Peyton has filed herself (pro se) against multiple new outlets charge that they must allow her, as an independent candidate, to participate in gubernatorial debates.
This year, Peyton has sued WPTZ-TV, and the Burlington Free Press for choosing to host debates with only major party candidates. In Vermont, the Democrats, Progressives, and Republicans have major party status.
Peyton said, “a willing press” is the only way to disseminate her platform statewide. “It’s really integral to democracy,” she said of the press’ election coverage.
In Peyton’s view, people don’t realize how extensively VPR, VPT, Seven Days, the Rutland Herald, the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, WCAX, and WPTZ “block and hinder the refreshing of democracy” and take away voters’ choices.
“Elections in the true sense are about people choosing the best leader that can serve them in a particular time,” said Peyton. “Those press members are presuming the outcome of the election before it happens.”
“And using that as a rationale to censor my platform,” she added.
Peyton feels the problem could be solved by the publishing of candidate platforms. A summary of candidate platforms would be due to the secretary of state with the candidates’ petitions in June. The platforms should be distributed even if the government must foot the bill, she said.
“It’s not rocket science,” she said. “It’s simple.”
Peyton said she has showed up for every major debate in the state even if the organizers eventually ban her from participating.
“I don’t want to vilify people,” she said. “But it is important to restore the consent of the people.”
This is not Peyton’s first suit against media outlets. During her 2010 bid, she threatened to sue multiple news outlets. In a June 2010 post on iBrattleboro.com, posted by the Internet handle “babalu,” titled “Em Peyton will File Suit; Discriminatory Campaign Practices,” Peyton outlined her suit and asked for $20 million in damages. Peyton wrote:
“As time is of the essence and because I refuse to be a victim, I do not now choose to ‘sit out’ the elections process to see what already can easily be predicted will occur without preventative action and transformation of current practice. Therefore I serve this complaint on every body of press and host of debate and body of government that has shown a proclivity to suppress, or have suppressed, or say they will suppress, censor and unfairly limit the access of platform information that the People of Vermont need to place their one and only vote for governor in clear light of the full complement of options open to them.”
Peyton wrote that when a news outlet proved “themselves up to the honor of the service of providing information through the means and methods of the information highway they have at their disposal,” she would remove them from her court complaint.
Peyton said democracy has been “derailed,” and this has harmed what she holds dear. In her larger 10-year timeline, she said she wants to put the democracy train back on its tracks. Then, she said, she plans to retire to a peaceful life with an arts studio and a music studio, in a hemp house within a collective community.
This, she feels, is the prize waiting for her when she’s done with her public service.
Peyton said she won’t accept donations for her campaign. Instead, she has asked supporters to donate their time.
“Word of mouth really is much more true,” she said.
“I haven’t lost yet,” she said. “And we may very well penetrate this whole system and shed some light on it.”
More information on Peyton is available at www.emilypeyton.org.