By Stephen Seitz
CAVENDISH—Republican gubernatorial candidate Keith Stern brought his campaign to Cavendish on May 24, where he discussed what was on the minds of area voters.
Don Shattuck, like Stern a Springfield resident, shared a beef he had with the state Agency of Natural Resources (ANR). He said he created a small brush fire in order to burn out a couple of stumps, and claimed the agency overreacted.
“I don’t think the average Vermonter knows about this agency unless they’ve been directly affected,” he said. “I got a $2,500 fine for a brush fire. They told me it could have been $27,000. Your county prosecutors have a lot of power.”
Stern said he’d like to see less regulation, and that he’d had his own run-ins with the system.
“It’s hard to make a living in Vermont,” he said. “I had a couple of tenants who weren’t paying rent, but they had so many protections that it took me $10,000 and seven months to get them out, and they had thoroughly trashed the place.”
Stern said he had three reasons for challenging incumbent governor Phil Scott.
“There are three reasons I decided to run,” he said. “One is that Scott doesn’t like [President] Donald Trump. I thought it was a good thing for Trump to pull us out of the Paris climate accords, because they’re not good for business.”
Another reason for him to run, Stern said, is to prevent Vermont from becoming a sanctuary state.
“We can’t even take care of our own homeless,” he said. “Do we have to take care of [illegal aliens] too?”
Finally, Stern said, he’s running in order to reduce state taxes.
“Somebody’s got to stand up for the people,” he said.
Cavendish resident Peggy Ranney said that her son, who attends the Vermont Tech automotive technology program in Randolph, said he was spending as much time taking classes in subjects he should have mastered in school.
“Why is he taking English and math in the auto tech center?” she wanted to know.
Stern said he’d reform education by abolishing the state’s Agency of Education.
“It’s a waste of money,” he said. “Local control should be returned to the schools. I’d take the money we spend on the state agency and send it back to the school districts.”
Stern is the proprietor of Stern’s Quality Produce in White River Junction. He has previously run for the U.S. House of Representatives.
For full information on the Stern campaign, visit the website at vermontgetsstern.org.