Prepared remarks of Bruce M. Lisman
Gubernatorial Campaign Speech
Green Mountain Dairy Farm in Sheldon
October 19, 2015
A NEW DIRECTION FOR VERMONT
Good morning and thank you Bill, Megan and your entire family for hosting us today. And thank you John for your kind introduction and long friendship.
Maggie, thank you for speaking from your heart. And to my daughter Kate, who’s flown in from LA, thank you for coming all this way to support your Dad. I’d like to introduce to you my wife Kyla – my best friend and the love of my life.
I especially would like to thank all of you who are here today while I share with you my vision for a new direction for our state.
For those who are 25 looking for their first career job, for those who are 45 and working but can’t afford to stay here, and for those who are 65 and can’t afford to live in their home and for those of any age who are thinking of leaving our state – I ask you to stick with me – I believe I have the answers.
On this beautiful fall day, on this wonderful farm, we are all reminded of what makes Vermont so special.
We love Vermont and what it stands for. We treasure our spectacular environment; we value our working landscape and families, like the Rowell’s, who are working so hard to preserve Vermont and their businesses for the next generation.
We know what makes Vermont special. We celebrate her unique qualities, and expect our elected officials to do the same.
But over the last several years we are seeing a much different and darker Vermont. Its government has forgotten who it serves. We have witnessed the erosion in many of those Vermont qualities that we hold so dear.
- School costs rise uncontrollably and drive property taxes to unbearably high levels.
- Neighbors and town leaders are powerless to resist large scale wind and solar installations.
- The state budget has grown at 5% a year while Vermont’s economy has grown at less than 3% – and that has bad consequences: more taxes, more fees, more surcharges and greater unpredictability.
- Today Vermonters are paying more for health care but getting less – higher costs, fewer choices, enormous uncertainty, and $150 million of our money has been spent on a mandated health exchange that does not work.
- Families and communities are torn apart by heroin addiction – and – the innocent pay the price.
- An now, the EPA is now in charge of our lakes and streams.
- And we all know that Vermont’s economy is fragile, our commercial centers are in decline, and a significant number of our counties are losing population. And we know, the very heartbeat of our economy, Chittenden County, is only growing at 70% of the national average.
People know that the Shumlin Administration, and those who aided them, and those who have stood by in silence, are the ones at fault for this mess.
We know if we continue to elect the usual people, we’ll be lucky to get the usual results.
I’m not the usual guy. So I won’t do or say the usual things.
But I can fix what’s wrong.
I’m running to become our next Governor because our government needs a change of culture. Vermonters deserve a government that will serve them, not the politicians.
Vermont needs a new direction.
I have a vision for Vermont that favors personal freedom and supports the rewards of shared prosperity.
I understand that economic growth matters.
Only a vibrant, diversified, dynamic economy will restore the Vermont that is not in Chittenden County and protect what’s there.
A strong economy will rescue families from poverty, protect our children, build our roads and infrastructure, and give dignity to those who believe that all is lost.
I know we can reform the property tax system and I know we can make our state affordable. I know we can protect our environment and clean our water-ways. And I know we can fix the health care mess.
But there is NO single solution that would rebuild our economy.
It will take an unwavering commitment to restore the elements for growth. But we can do it. We must do it. And we better get at it soon.
We’re going to know the employers in this state.
AND we must NEVER again be surprised by a business leaving our state.
96% of our employers are small businesses. We’re going to make it easier for them to thrive here.
And we will search for those that are well positioned to grow BUT before they leave our state.
Our schools are among the best funded in the world! But our results are just okay.
Now, get this! We already know how to make our schools not simply okay, but actually great! No new studies required!
Great teachers and great principals correlate with great results. Let’s make sure we get them here. It won’t be easy, but if the people want it, we will get it done.
That’s why, we’re going to repeal Act 46 – the mandatory consolidation of our schools. It’s a terrible law that will raise property taxes, take away local control, eliminate school choice.
Our state budget is the enemy of the people. Crazy spending gets us a crazy search for taxes and fees! And no one in state government can prove to you, that this increased spending benefits Vermont!
We need a whole new approach to budgeting – we need a strategic budget. We need a capital budget. But, today we need to get our state budget in a stable position.
Uncertainty is killing our economy.
So, let’s grow the budget by no more than 2% a year for the next 3 years, let’s put gifted leaders in government who will find efficiencies and lets honestly measure outcomes. And then tell people how we are doing.
The Rowell family farm delivers 2 million kilowatts a year to the grid by converting manure to electricity. It’s good for them, it’s great for us and it’s good for our environment.
The invasion of large wind and solar projects into our communities has raised important issues.
- We need to balance the value of renewables with the right of local people to control the future of their own towns.
- We need to tell Vermonters what the cost will be to meet well-intended long-term goals.
- And, we need to be honest about what impact large projects will have on climate change and also on our environment.
That’s why we need a 2 year moratorium on new industrial renewable projects now before it is too late.
We should repeal the state’s extreme health exchange mandate. And Vermont should transition to the federal exchange.
But we have a lot more to say on the topic of health care and we look forward to discussing plans in the coming months.
And it should come as no surprise that I believe it’s time for the enactment of sensible ethics standards and an independent ethics commission – so that those in government would say to the people that they care more about the people than they do about themselves.
A New Direction
In closing, I like to say that our state does not need political ideologies or radical public policy experiments to meet our challenges.
But we do need common sense solutions that respect the wallets and decision making of hard-working Vermonters in EVERY corner of our state.
I will continue to travel the state listening to and speaking with more Vermonters – because good ideas always come from listening.
Vermonters are ready for change. Vermont needs in a new direction.
I am ready to lead Vermont to a better future. Thank you very much!