Republican Scott Milne to challenge Shumlin for governor

Scott Milne is president of Milne Travel American Express. Courtesy photo

Scott Milne is president of Milne Travel American Express. Courtesy photo

Republicans will have a party-approved candidate for governor after all.

Scott Milne, president of Milne Travel American Express, said Thursday he is entering the race against two-term Democratic incumbent Gov. Peter Shumlin. Milne will appear on the GOP primary ballot with Emily Peyton, who does not have the support of the party apparatus, and Steve Berry of Wolcott.

Admitting that his chances of beating Shumlin are a “long-shot,” Milne said he looks forward to bringing attention to the “failures of leadership” in the Shumlin administration.

“My goal is to win,” Milne said. “I at least plan to get some tangible issues on the plate that Shumlin will need to respond to. If I thought he was doing an adequate job, I wouldn’t be running.”

Milne said he would run a “counterinsurgency, low budget campaign,” and would work to raise “some money to be competitive.”

Milne waited until the last day candidates could submit petitions to the Secretary of State’s Office to appear on the primary and general elections ballots. He made his announcement on WDEV’s The Mark Johnson Show.

Eric Davis, professor emeritus of political science at Middlebury College, told VTDigger it is going to be a difficult race for Republicans this year.

Milne has not showed any evidence of building a strong campaign organization, Davis said.
Milne had said earlier that he preferred a primary contest with former state auditor Randy Brock, who lost the 2012 gubernatorial race to Shumlin. Brock announced Sunday that he would not seek the post.
“Milne, on paper, is much weaker (than Brock) because of name recognition and money,” Davis said. “I think Milne would be doing very well to get 40 percent.”

Nonetheless, Davis said Shumlin has weaknesses that make him vulnerable to challenges from the political right — the rocky rollout of online health insurance marketplace, Vermont Health Connect; his failure to provide lawmakers with a financing plan for his hallmark single payer health care system overhaul; and stagnate growth on the middle class jobs, despite declining unemployment.

“Those are things for which I think a candidate could certainly hold him accountable,” Davis said.

Milne, 55, of Pomfret, said Shumlin was not adequately serving Vermonters.

“I remain steadfast that Vermont is lacking leadership from the Governor’s office, and that working Vermont families, poor Vermonters, and Vermont’s children will be best served with a new Governor,” Milne said this week.

Gov. Peter Shumlin speaks at the signing of a law that regulates toxic chemicals in children's products. The ceremony took place at Seventh Generation in Burlington. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Gov. Peter Shumlin speaks at the signing of a law that regulates toxic chemicals in children’s products. The ceremony took place at Seventh Generation in Burlington. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Shumlin was asked about Milne’s challenge at a news conference Thursday in Colchester to sign a bill banning the use of hand-held cellphones while driving. He repeated his intention to launch his formal campaign after Labor Day.

“Listen, as you know I am one if the few governors in recent memory who actually believes in a two year term. I’d like the opportunity to go out to voters and ask them the question ‘are we doing a good job?’ ‘Are we getting the job done?’ If they don’t think we’re doing a good job, I’d love to be the first to know,” he said. “And doing that every two years has been my fuel and energy to keep trying to make the right changes for Vermont and to grow jobs.

“I’m delighted that Mr. Milne has entered the race, it’s good for democracy. So, come Labor Day, we can talk about it, and until then I’m going to work 24/7 to do the job Vermonters hired me to do.”

Milne has Vermont political connections. He grew up in Washington, Vt., and was a schoolmate of Lt. Gov. Phil Scott’s at Spaulding High School in Barre. His mother, Marion, is a former state representative, and his father, Donald, is clerk of the Vermont House.

Also running for governor as of 4 p.m. Thursday are independents Cris Ericson and Bernard Peters and Libertarian Dan Feliciano. Liberty Union candidate Peter Diamondstone also filed a petition, which had not been verified the secretary of state as of 5 p.m. Thursday

This article was updated at 3:59 p.m. Thursday. VTDigger’s John Herrick contributed to this report.

Tom BrownTom Brown

Comments

  1. Paul Lutz :

    Scott

    I heard you on the radio show this morning. Here is my tip for you; when Mark ask if you favor single payer healthcare, just state flat out NO. When Mark follows up with a why? Tell him at over a billion dollars a year in cost and no way to pay for it, Vermont tax payers can not afford it. Point out that if Shumlin pitched single payer healthcare and then stated it would cost each tax payer a 20% increase in taxes, Dubie would be Gov.

    Don’t walk around this issue, hit it head on. Make Shumlin tell how he will pay for this mess, and how much of an increase it will cost. Do that and you have a chance.

    Thanks for or running.

    • Peter Liston :

      How do Vermonters pay for healthcare now?

      • Craig Powers :

        That does not matter. You are answering a question by asking another question. If you would like to provide financing details, please do so. We are all ears.

        • Peter Liston :

          It does not matter how we currently pay for healthcare? That’s a bizarre statement. Since talking about the efficacy of healthcare reform, it’s logical to examine the current model and see how it compares.

          • Kathy Callaghan :

            Then please do provide the data.

      • Paul Lutz :

        Peter

        Monthly premiums. Any other questions?

        • Peter Liston :

          Yes. More questions:

          If a monthly premium is eliminated and replaced with a “tax” of equal size, what impact does that have on our families finances?

          And if you don’t feel that single payer is viable, then what is your proposed solution to spiraling healthcare costs?

          • Paul Lutz :

            Tremendous impact. I have no choice in paying taxes.

            Solution:

            Allow insurance companies to compete across state lines.

            Secure the borders

            Do not allow the Goverment to reimburse Doctors pennies on the dollar for medicad cost, and then have them tyurn around and charge higher cost to patients who have insurance to cover the difference.

            Lower the corporate tax rate.

          • Peter Liston :

            We have no choice in paying your taxes.

            And we have no choice but to pay for healthcare. We all require it at some point in our lives.

            So yes, Single Payer addressees the cost shifting issue that the ‘free riders’ create.

            But back to the initial point — it’s false to say that single payer would be a new expense to the citizens of the state. It’s just a different and more efficient way to pay for it. And it greatly reduces the number of free loaders.

        • Plus deductibles and co-pays if you actually use the health insurance policy.

    • Tom Haviland :

      How much more it costs compared to what? We paid $2.6 billion in health premiums last year.

    • Walter Carpenter :

      “Tell him at over a billion dollars a year in cost and no way to pay for it, Vermont tax payers can not afford it. ”

      But we pay more for free-market health insurance.

      • John McClaughry :

        There is no such thing in Vermont – or America – as “free market health insurance.” That’s largely because the many interests involved – doctors, hospitals, employers, consumers, and federal and state governments- have meddled with the market since 1930, each group seeking to use government intervention to give itself a political and/or economic advantage.

        • “doctors, hospitals, employers, consumers, and federal and state governments- have meddled with the market since 1930, each group seeking to use government intervention to give itself a political and/or economic advantage.”
          So whose left, insurance executives?

          So I guess by meddling you mean eliminating ” high deductible junk policies,” exclusions for medical problems whose purpose is to eliminate claims, not to provide health care, “cherry picking” the young and healthy as long as the promise never to get sick, and dropping policy holders if they have the gall to actually use the insurance policy they paid for. What an outrage!

          • Craig Powers :

            And look where we are today Jerry. Thanks much for helping to create the mess we are now in. The VA certainly has it’s issues too…or are you just going to blame the Republicans for that?

            Your one sided rants against insurance companies are mostly baseless and filled with anger. How about a symbiosis between all parties involved to create a melded solution?

        • Peter Liston :

          John, there is no such thing as ‘free market healthcare’ because when people need to go to the ER, they don’t call around to all of the hospitals to see which one is going to charge less.

          When we get a broken bone, we don’t check the Pennysaver to see which doctor has a coupon special this week.

          Adam Smith’s invisible hand doesn’t work the same way in healthcare as it does with other goods and services.

  2. John MacGovern :

    And I hear, there may be more…

  3. Jerry Webber :

    Vermont is in desperate NEED of a LEADER – NOW! If Scott Milne wants to win the Governorship, he needs to shock Vermonters back into reality by pointing out every failed / costly state run program Shumlin and his appointed / elected peers have force upon us: bigger state government, liberal judiciary, terrible health care “system”, chasing out established industries, shrinking small businesses, releasing criminals into our communities, on and on…

    Vermont’s population is not large enough to sustain the social experiments that Shumlin and his ilk so desperately think we need for own good. Far larger states have tried and failed. Cities with larger populations than Vermont have failed in these “we (government) know what’s best for you” social engineering failures. What we desperately need is to focus firmly on solving the issues that Vermont faces BECAUSE of this social free money debacle, such as: reducing crime, require “skin in the game” for social welfare recipients (depression era CCC, for example come to mind – Vermont has a lot of work that needs to be done and we know a lot of a ready and unwilling workforce that is already getting paid!), invite health insurance companies to compete for our money, increase incarceration rates (without increased funding! – it can be done), support small and large businesses, lower unemployment, on and on…

    If Vermont continues the way Shumlin and his supporters want, the only people able or willing to remain in Vermont will be furloughed inmates,
    able-bodied welfare recipients, and deer. And oh, I almost forgot – liberal social experiment supporters who are flat broke and victims of crime. If you still have any money left in your pocket, you can buy a green tee-shirt being promoted by our current Governor: Vermont is the new Detroit! Bienvenue!

    Milne or someone else needs to shout out the obvious…

    • Walter Carpenter :

      terrible health care “system”, chasing out established industries, shrinking small businesses, releasing criminals into our communities, on and on…

      Was the old health system any better? I agree that the ACA is hardly any better, but the single-payer system will be ” a system,” to guarantee access to health care for all Vermonters. And how many businesses has Shumlin chased out? If there are any, would these have left no matter who was governor?

  4. Bob Stannard :

    Well, Mr. Milne is off to a rather poor start. I seem to recall a week ago that he said he was absolutely not going to run unless he could have a primary.

    So much for that. I wonder what else we can expect him to cave on?

    • Tom Brown :

      Bob, pretty sure he never said absolutely. He said it altered his thinking. In any event, he is now in a three-way primary. — Tom Brown, VTDigger

  5. Paul Lutz :

    Our current healthcare is the best in the world. I have had two children and multiple visits to Doctors and never have any issues.

    We should “adjust” how insurance companies can not compete in this state.

    Or, we could blow up the entire process under the illusion that the goverement could run things better.

    I don’t see the liberals pointing to the VA anymore as a model? HMMNNN

  6. rosemarie jackowski :

    Just a comparison…across the border in Troy NY, right now and all week-end there will be a big dental clinic…FREE for everyone. It will include complicated dental procedures such as root canals.

    Does Vermont law still prohibit licensed dentists/doctors from crossing the border and rendering compassionate care here at no expense to the patient or taxpayer?

    Unfortunately the people in Bennington who need dental care usually lack transportation also. They can’t get to Troy from here.

  7. John Greer :

    You start with single payer and you eventually end up with single provider. With single provider you get rationing and long wait lists for service is this what you want. I am sure that it is not what I want if I did I would move to Canada.

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