FACT CHECK – Vol. 1: Say What?
Governor Shumlin: “I never promised cell service to Vermonters…”
“At some point it stopped being a surprise to hear Governor Peter Shumlin so boldly and convincingly deny his own words. In this case, it was his promise, in his Inaugural Address, to deliver universal cell phone coverage to Vermonters by 2013. It’s not the first time Gov. Shumlin has knowingly denied his own promises. Sadly, it won’t be the last. But we have to hand it to him, he is convincing. It’s like he really believes Vermonters won’t notice or care.”
— Brent Burns, Political Director, VTGOP
Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Peter Shumlin on Vermont Public Television’s Ask the Governor last week strenuously objected to the observation by a respected Vermont journalist that he and his administration had retreated from his bold promise to provide both universal access to broadband AND cell phone coverage.
An honest mistake?
GOVERNOR PETER SHUMLIN DECLARES UNIVERSAL BROADBAND AND CELL PHONE GOALS. SAYS NOT ACHIEVING THESE GOALS WILL MAKE VT “AN ECONOMIC BACKWATER”
“Today I am launching Connect VT, an initiative to deliver by 2013 my promise of high-speed Internet access and cell service to every corner of our state. If not confronted, our connectivity deficit will relegate us to an economic backwater…We will not and cannot compete and prosper in the global economy until and unless we deliver on this promise. We all know success won’t be easy, but Vermonters elected me on my pledge to get tough things done, and we will. Indeed, we are too small to fail.”
(Source: Gov. Peter Shumlin, Inaugural Address, January 6, 2011. Emphasis Added) Minute 38:00, Ask the Governor, Vermont Public Television http://www.vpt.org/
THREE YEARS LATER, GOVERNOR SHUMLIN FORCEFULY DENIES HIS PROMISE TO DELIVER UNIVERSAL CELL COVERAGE
Gov. Shumlin: “First of all, we’re one of the most connected states in the country right now. We’re going to have higher speed than most states. And when we’re all done, I believe we’ll be the most connected state in America. That’s a big deal.”
VPT Host: “You talk about public safety and part of that of course is having cell service for many people. Initially the goal had been broadband and cell service by the end of this year. Overtime, cell service kind of just got dropped off of that goal. What is the goal with cell service connectivity? Because, as you know, many people do not have that.”
Gov. Shumlin: “Right. Let me just correct one thing. I never promised cell service to Vermont. Because I knew that we couldn’t get that done by 2013 or ’14.
(Source: Vermont Public Television, Minute 38:00, Ask the Governor, http://www.vpt.org/show/19972/102 Emphasis added.)