On August 5, 2020

Ten seek to advance in lieutenant governor race

Ten candidates are running for lieutenant governor this year. The following is a brief introduction to the names you will see on ballots in the Aug. 11 Primary Election. Information was culled from the candidates’ websites and interviews. Candidates are profiled here in alphabetical order. Since Vermonters can vote in only one party’s Primary, these are ordered by party.

Democratic party

Tim Ashe, Burlington Democrat

Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe has spent the past four years collecting and reviewing each of 30 state senators’ individual visions for the future of the state, and then coalescing them into legislative priorities he hopes can deliver better health care, more affordable housing and a more effective public education system.

Next year, Ashe, 43, hopes to infuse more of his own ideas into how the state is run. “Running for lieutenant governor is the opportunity to revisit the vision I have for this state, and to be able to articulate the future for the state as I believe it can make us more successful. That’s why it’s such an attractive position,” Ashe said.

As leader of the Senate, Ashe has played a key role.  Some of his most notable contributions have been in the area of affordable housing — which is also how he makes his living.

Ashe said he’s already familiar with the “granular” tasks of lieutenant governor, having periodically filled in for the incumbent during the past four years.

Ashe is passionate about ensuring that Vermont becomes a great place to live and work for all of its citizens — not just those with enough resources. He vows to pursue a “14-county economic development strategy” that would in part use affordable housing — and “workforce homes” — as a way of revitalizing downtowns. He noted many young Vermonters want to live in more urban environments, where there are things to do. Locating more housing in these areas would also boost Main Street businesses, he said.

“And it uses all the best aspects of environmental placement,” he said, noting that downtown housing doesn’t contribute to sprawl.

Molly Gray, Newbury Democrat

Gray attended the University of Vermont on an athletic scholarship, where she competed as a Division I cross-country skier. After college, she helped elect Rep. Peter Welch to Congress and moved to Washington to serve as a Congressional aide. She spent three years with the International Committee of the Red Cross, leading humanitarian field missions to Haiti, Eastern Europe and multiple African nations. Gray now serves Vermont as an Assistant Attorney General and teaches night classes at Vermont Law School.

Campaign quote: “More than ever, we need leaders in statewide office who listen to Vermonters, who understand their challenges, and who know how to invest in our future. As we face an unprecedented economic, health, and humanitarian crisis, and justifiable social unrest, we must elect leaders who share Vermont’s values of hard work, resilience, innovation and care for our neighbors. We must elect leaders who will collaborate with our communities and statewide officials to address the challenges we face and build a bright future for Vermont.”

Campaign priorities include “ending mass incarceration and transforming Vermont’s criminal justice system,” investing in childcare and education, deploying broadband to every home in Vermont, universal paid family and medical leave, and investing in green jobs.

Debbie Ingram, Williston Democrat

Ingram is a minister and has spent the past four years as a state senator serving Chittenden County. She’s been a development coordinator for the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf and executive director of Vermont Interfaith Action. She’s served on the Williston Planning Commission and Select Board. Prior to arriving in Vermont, Ingram worked in Los Angeles in the film and television industry; she was part of the team that brought the Emmy award-winning series “The Wonder Years” to the air. She went on to earn a Divinity degree and is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and has preached before numerous congregations, including in Richmond, Hinesburg, Morrisville and Brattleboro.

Campaign quote: “My greatest strengths are in bringing together people of different backgrounds and views, and the Lt. Gov.’s office is the perfect platform to reach out to Vermonters, to listen to them, and to help them heal after the challenges of these times.”

Campaign priorities include rebuilding a strong economy, advancing social justice, “bringing people together,” “boldly addressing climate change,” and affordable housing.

Brenda Siegel, Newfane Democrat 

She’s a small-business owner, and founder and director of the Southern Vermont Dance Festival. Siegel is also active with the Raise the Wage coalition and Rights and Democracy.

Campaign quote: “Vermont needs leaders who prioritize taking bold climate action, building a bottom-up economy, putting real resources into healing the opioid epidemic, and supporting and strengthening our education system.”

Campaign priorities include prioritizing renewable energy, transforming the state’s transportation system, introducing comprehensive weatherization initiatives, building an economy from the “bottom up,” and looking for “a more equitable way to fund education.”

Progressive party

Cris Ericson,  Chester Progressive 

Campaign quote: “How are we going to pay for healthcare for everyone who happens to be in the U.S. and for free college education for all of our citizens? It doesn’t matter how someone got into the U.S.; they need to be healthy. Because if they’re not healthy, their diseases could spread to us… And we need free college education, because we need to fix our economy.”Ericson proposes to pay for the college tuitions and universal healthcare through a redirection of tax dollars that are currently going to support design, research and development of new prescription drugs and weapons.

Republican Party

Dana Colson Jr., Tunbridge Republican 

Campaign quote: “I will fight for lower taxes, common sense regulations not over regulation. Vermont is in crisis. Businesses and native Vermonters are fleeing. We can no longer shoulder the burden of big government and over regulation. We must live within our means at every level of government.”

Colson was raised on small dairy farms and now owns a business, North Country Welding Supply LLC in Tunbridge.  Colson’s family was thrust in the limelight due to tragedy on Jan. 11, 2018. On that day his own child, Austin, went missing and his remains were found four months later in a Norwich barn.

Campaign priorities include “cutting taxes and regulations that hurt small businesses and farms,” expanding cell phone and internet service, fixing roads and bridges, supporting renewable energy project “when properly sited,” school choice and the repeal of Act 46, choice in health insurance, and upholding the Second Amendment.

Meg Hansen, Manchester Republican

She was born and raised in central India, and aspired to become a neurosurgeon after her mother succumbed to brain cancer. But she ended up taking a different career path that led her into the eco-fashion industry and ultimately to attend Dartmouth College. She’s developed her own communications firm and has her own local TV show called “Dialogues with Meg Hansen.”

Campaign priorities include cutting taxes across the board to foster a pro-growth and diverse business, demilitarizing the police and investing in safety and community services, ending “mass incarceration” while transforming the criminal justice system, school choice and tax credits for homeschooling, and standing up to activists who “agitate against us in the name of climate change. They wrongly pit our economic development against nature.”

Jim Hogue, Calais Republican

Records show he ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006. Hogue has identified himself as an actor, historian and farmer. He’s in favor of a state bank, and wants to get farmers to improve topsoil as part of a strategy to “capture and store stormwater to mitigate flooding, and to contribute to a working watershed.”

Scott Milne, Pomfret Republican 

Milne is president of Milne Travel, an independent, family-owned travel management company. As the Republican nominee for governor in 2014, he nearly upset then-Gov. Peter Shumlin, coming within 2,500 votes.

Campaign quote: “As someone whose business was profoundly impacted by coronavirus, I know how difficult this time has been for so many Vermonters whose lives and livelihoods have been upended. Now more than ever, we need more leaders in Montpelier who understand the challenge of running a small business, and creating and protecting good jobs. Gov. Scott needs a partner, not an adversary, in the lieutenant governor’s office.”

Dewayne Tucker, Barre Republican

He’s worked as a consultant Engineer for the Vermont Agency of Transportation, overseeing the daily process of bridge and roadway construction.

Campaign priorities include promoting economic growth, opposing “unnecessary firearm regulation,” building mini hydro dams as a renewable energy source, controlling healthcare costs, and revitalizing agriculture while cleaning up Lake Champlain.

Addison Independent reporter John Flowers contributed to this story.

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