Scheuermann, Ralston form legislative PAC

Reps. Heidi Scheuermann, R-Stowe, and Paul Ralston, D-Middlebury, have proposed a new economic development strategy to grow business within the state. Photo by Hilary Niles/VTDigger

Reps. Heidi Scheuermann, R-Stowe, and Paul Ralston, D-Middlebury. Photo by Hilary Niles/VTDigger

Two Vermont lawmakers have launched a bipartisan political action committee to support like-minded candidates in the 2014 election.

Reps. Heidi Scheuermann, R-Stowe, and Paul Ralston, D-Middlebury, on Monday announced the creation of Vision to Action Vermont (V2AVT), a PAC they say will raise money to support candidates who share their ideas for improving the state’s economy.

“We hope to influence the election in terms of putting the economy at the forefront of the debate,” Scheuermann said.

She and Ralston said the candidates backed by Vision to Action Vermont could be of any party and could include incumbents as well as challengers.

“Our approach is that we wanted people to focus on comprehensive, long-term economic growth strategies for the state,” Scheuermann said.

Neither could say how much money the PAC hopes to raise and spend. Ralston and Scheuermann will reach out to people who share their views on economic development.

Scheuermann, who is seeking re-election, and Ralston, who is not, teamed up last session to introduce an economic development bill they called “Unlocking Vermont’s Economic Potential.” Some elements of their bill made it into the final economic development law, S.220, including a $500,000 loan loss reserve fund to support entrepreneurial lending.

According to the group’s news release, V2AVT is “a non-partisan organization that will promote, support and elect strong candidates for political office in Vermont who advocate for fiscal responsibility in state spending, and are committed to forming balanced, common-sense public policies that encourage economic prosperity, greater opportunities for Vermont families and businesses, and individual liberties and responsibility.”

Scheuermann, who considered a bid for governor this year, said she and Ralston there is no litmus test for winning V2AVT’s support. She said it is unclear whether the group would provide endorsements before the Aug. 26 primary.

“We’re still going through the contested races,” she said.

Ralston, owner of Vermont Coffee Co., said the group hopes to elect more legislators who will focus on jobs and the economy, adding that social issues garner much of the attention in Montpelier.

“Issues of the economy are easier to bridge in a nonpartisan way,” he said. “(Issues like) marijuana or physician-assisted suicide affect so few people while the economy affects all.”

He said his relationship with Scheuermann proves that Republicans and Democrats can work together.

“Heidi and I are very different, but on regulating commerce and supporting and encouraging economic growth we very much found common ground. (The Legislature) was a lonely place for these ideas. We’d like to have it be a little more top of mind.”

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Tom Brown

About Tom

Tom Brown is VTDigger’s assignment editor. He is a native Vermonter with two decades of daily journalism experience. Most recently he managed the editorial website for the Burlington Free Press, Vermont’s largest daily newspaper. He has been a reporter, editor, manager and all-around technology resource at newspapers in Vermont, Utah and Pennsylvania. He has a BA in Journalism from Johnson State College and also attended California State University-Fullerton. He lives in Montpelier and loves to spend time with his teenage son.


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