Vermont Republican Party hires new director

On Monday, Brent Burns took over as the political director of the Vermont Republican Party.

The post sat vacant for more than a year, after Mike Bertrand left the position.

According to the party, Burns has worked as a political consultant in Texas and as a field organizer for the campaign of Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas. The Texas A&M University graduate recently finished serving a 15-month deployment in the Army.

The party touts his background “in leadership and data analysis,” citing Burns’ recent work as a satellite communications supervisor for the military, where he oversaw operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and southwest Asia.

“Brent has the type of leadership we have been looking for to grow our organization and move our party in a new direction,” Jack Lindley, chair of the Vermont party, said in a public statement. “He has a background in technology, which will help as we become a more agile and data driven organization.”

Burns said that he and his wife are glad to call Vermont their home.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to work on behalf of Vermonters in finding solutions to provide more economic opportunity and making Vermont more affordable for the young and working families in this state,” he said in a public statement.

Andrew Stein

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  • Brent, welcome to Vermont & good luck.

    And of course, go Aggies. Can’t wait to see Johnny Football next season.

    • Brent Burns

      Thanks, Peter! We are really happy to be here in Vermont and I can’t wait to see what Johnny Football does next year for A&M. All the best! -bdb

  • sandra bettis

    great…texas politics in vt….guess they were desperate….

  • The data analysis angle is interesting. The raw numbers for VT GOP must look hilariously grim, but there’s a lot of room for lateral thinking and big surprises as VT Dems keep backsliding into the inevitable corruption that any dominant party succumbs to. There’s a huge audience to be tapped if VT GOP can keep their messaging VT economic conservative instead of RNC cultural conservative.

    And, obviously, getting rid of Jack Lindley would be a major step towards being a viable party again.

  • Craig Powers

    Let’s hope he can differentiate the VT GOP from the fools who were running the show at the national level.

    Mr. Boland makes a great (and true) statement above about the “inevitable corruption” of the dominant party. Rep. Pugh’s committee actions last week are a prime example of arrogance and corruption.

  • Ms. Bettis, Texas is a great state. If you haven’t been there lately you should plan a visit, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    Why do I like Texas, let’s count the reasons:

    No income tax, great roads & bridges, plenty of great paying jobs, wonderful diversity, great music, great food, people moving in and not out, home of Texas A & M and 2012 Heisman Trophy Johnny Manziel, inexpensive gasoline, affordable housing, abundantly available primary care doctors and other medical specialists (important for an old guy like me), beautiful country (This doesn’t mean that Vermont, pre- wind turbines and solar panels decorating our landscape, isn’t also beautiful.) and the list goes on and on.

    Most importantly, Texans are very friendly, gracious and warmly welcoming to new visitors and new residents of the state. Having been born and lived in New England my entire life, I know that we New Englanders have plenty of room for improving our welcoming skills.

    Now my daughter and son-in-law, both graduates of UVM and now with Master’s degrees, have left Vermont and live in Texas because the opportunities in Vermont are so limited, regardless of what Governor Shumlin says.

    Now my hope is that with Brent Burns help, an environment will be created in Vermont that will draw my daughter and son- in- law and other young people back home to the Green Mountain State. Our children are the future of Vermont and they’re leaving.

    • Wendy Wilton

      Peter, thanks for your comment about the state of Texas.
      I have travelled throughout the US quite a bit and I found there is something to be admired in every state I have visited. I attended a seminar on tort reform in Austin Texas and I was impressed with how beautiful the landscape was and how gracious a capital city Texas has in Austin.
      One of the reasons Texas has enough doctors is Texas enacted tort reform in response to a medical malpractice crisis in the 90’s, which resulted in such a severe lack of access to care, espceially in rural communities. The speaker of the TX House, a lawyer, bravely took on his colleagues, the trial lawyers, to enact the law. As a result, TX was able to again attract high quality doctors, even to its rural areas.
      VT is at risk of losing physicians for a different reason: VT will find significant cost savings in health care, both through the Exchange and Green Mountain Care, by reducing reimbursements and increasing taxes on providers. This will squeeze the profession (and hospitals)financially and few younger physicians will choose to practice in VT when they can go elsewhere and enjoy a better standard of living, especially if they have huge medical school debt.
      I know many of the docs (and dentists) in my area are nearing retirement. Few new faces are coming in to replace them, despite RRMC’s best efforts. Access to medical servics is a quality of measure. My parents, VT natives and now snowbirds, have found that FL offers better medical options than VT. This contrast will become more stark over time as VT continues on its current political direction on heath care policy.

    • Doug Hoffer

      Mr. Yankowski

      I’m sure Texas has a lot going for it but consider this.

      Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents (FBI):
      TX = 408.5
      VT = 135.2

      Percent under 18 in poverty (Census, SAIPE):
      TX = 26.6%
      VT = 15.8%

      Teen birth rate per 1,000 (Kaider Family Foundation, 2010):
      TX = 52.2
      VT = 17.9

      Unemployment rate (BLS, Feb. 2013):
      TX = 6.4%
      VT = 4.4%

      Median household income (CPS, three-year rolling average):
      TX = $49,195
      VT = $54,805

      Average monthly residential electric bill (EIA, 2009):
      TX = $147.32
      VT = $84.06

      Tax equity – Total state & local taxes as a share of family income for the bottom 20% of non-elderly taxpayers (ITEP, 2012):
      TX = 12.6%
      VT = 8.7%

      Median hourly wage (BLS, 2011):
      TX = $15.55
      VT = $16.61

      Per capita real GDP, compound annual growth rate 2001 – 2011 (BEA):
      TX = 0.65
      VT = 0.92

      Foreclosures per 10,000 units (RealtyTrac, 2011):
      TX = 9.9
      VT = 1.8

      Per capita state spending on the Arts (NSAA, FY12):
      TX = $0.14
      VT = $3.04

      • Chris Campion

        Doug, that’s all fantastic. Now why again do our college graduates leave the state of Vermont at one of the highest rates in the country? Why again does Texas add jobs an Vermont maintains a roughly 0% growth rate for jobs in the last decade? Why are the state’s two primary industries, gov’t and tourism, not fostering a boom in real job growth? Why is the state perennially ranked at the bottom in terms of pro-business climate, and usually in the top 10 in aggregate tax burden?

        If Vermont’s such a great place to live and work, why don’t I see thousands of new job postings for all those great industries that move to Vermont and hire Vermonters to work at their firms? Are they hiding the job postings somewhere? If I looked for commercial real estate to lease, would I have a hard time finding some?

        The reality of what’s been happening in VT for the past few decades isn’t quite so easily papered over. Oh, and how the state’s unfunded pension liabilities coming along? Is that all paid for now, so we don’t have to worry about it anymore? That’s roughly 3 billion dollars, I believe – so if that’s been taken care of, who’s paying for it?

        I now expect to see fantastic state GDP growth numbers with all that great data you posted. Can’t wait to ride the wave of prosperity! Should I buy a surfboard?

  • Dear Brent:


    What was it about Vermont that caused you to accept this job?

    I am guessing you like a challenge.

    Ellin Anderson
    Brownington, VT

  • Justin advises that a “huge audience” can be tapped in Vermont if Mr. Burns concentrates his message on economic conservatism while steering clear of cultural conservatism.
    I presume he means to recommend that Mr. Burns advocate unlimited Mexican immigration with its inevitable drug cartel infiltration, as well as gay marriage and abortion on demand which, along with young people moving out, would further reduce Vermont’s prospects for a healthy, growing, family-centered next generation.

    Mr.Burns will be safe to assume that the people of this state possess more common sense than Justin is willing to credit them with.

    • I’d say that I don’t understand a word of what you’re talking about, Richard…but the fact is, I’m considerably more confused than that.

      • Let’s have you answer a question first:

        What do you mean by “VT economic conservative instead of RNC cultural conservative”?

        Ellin Anderson

        • Quite precisely what I said: just contemplate the difference between George Aiken vs. Lee Atwater and his protege Karl “Turd Blossom” Rove.

          Balanced budgets, functional infrastructure, accountable leadership. This should be the focus of any responsible government.

          The RNC is a money making machine, not an intellectual guild. VT GOP only handicap themselves by trying to operate as a francise of that failed institution.

          As far as the “cultural” issues go, the best course to take would be one that’s always worked nicely for the Green Mountain State: mind your own business.

          • Mark Shepard

            Mind your own business worked great for a lot time … up until Vermont became the beach head for launching socialistic agendas on our nation by the likes of George Soros and other extremely wealthy people who think they are God’s gift to mankind and thus do whatever they can to push their ideas on everyone else. And that includes destroying the lives of countless Vermonters while they use Vermont to push their ideas on our nation.

            Soros and Co. own the current Vermont political system. And his team runs ridiculously long legislative sessions doing precisely the opposite of what you say you admire about Vermont … minding your own business.

            I recommend you do some research into the growth in length of Vermont’s legislative sessions; you will see it started taking an upturn in the 1950s. For 150 years prior Vermonters got by with a truly part time citizen legislature. Now it is near impossible for anyone working in the competitive market-place to serve. And so that voice is essentially absent from Vermont policy making … and you wonder why the policy does not attract businesses. I fully understand this issue because I lived it for two terms and had to leave because my business could not take me being distracted that long. And believe me the distractions were nonsensical idea after nonsensical idea.

            I also recommend you do some comparisons to other states. Last I looked at the data I believe there were only two states had longer average sessions: NY and CA, who both have full-time legislatures. VA for example gets done its first year of a biennium in mid March and they get done the second year in early February. There is no comparison between the two states in terms of the things they have to deal with. Vermont is nearly homogenous, really has no cities, no traffic, etc.

            Any business with a budget the size that took this long to adjust its budget from one year to the next would be out of business.

            Do you really think all these social ideas being pushed on Vermont by the far left are a result of them minding their own business? I would welcome them doing that, but it will never happen if you give them free reign while “minding your own business.” Pushing their ideas onto other is like a religion to them. The reason being is their ideas are unworkable and so die a natural death in the market place of ideas. They have to be pushed, just as has happened in every nation that shifted toward socialism.

            And as any student of history knows, failed ideas only last so long, even when propped up. The market – the free exchange of ideas and property between people always wins. It is just when it is thwarted long enough, the fix includes a crash … look around the world for examples. Is this what you want? Because that is where the road Vermont is on leads.

  • Wendy Wilton, congratulations on the second clean annual CPA audit the City of Rutland has achieved under your able leadership as City Treasurer. People in this part of the state will remember that only a few years ago, Rutland’s books were a disaster and the city was facing difficult challenges and then you took control as the new Treasurer and saved the day. Great job.

    You represent a terrific potential resource for Brent, I hope he takes advantage of your incredible financial, management and organizational skills.

    • Wendy Wilton

      Thanks, Peter. It has been my privilage to bring our finances into compliance especially since we have a great team at the city!
      I see similar fiscal problems coming for the state that Rutland experienced a few years ago. I wish I knew how to engage the voters and the lawmakers to this reality before we have to experience that kind of pain on a state level.
      Any ideas?

  • Welcome Brent and all the best,

    I look forward to working with you to help further our party.

    Mark Donka for Congress
    Vermont 2014

  • Chuck Lacy

    Vermont ranks 7th in the country in physicians per capita and Texas ranks 40th.

    Maybe the availability of physicians in Texas is because they have the highest percentage of uninsured in the country.

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