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GOP's Milne Hits Shumlin's 'Radical' Course But Offers Few Policy Details

vpr-evancie-scott-milne-9-20140723.jpg
Angela Evancie
/
VPR File Photo
Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Milne, seen here at his campaign kickoff in Barre in July.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne says Gov. Peter Shumlin is “doubling down” on a radical agenda and that Vermont needs a new path.

But Milne is short on policy specifics.

The Pomfret businessman won the Republican primary for governor, but he faces an uphill battle in the general election, with less name recognition, less money, and fewer endorsements. Nonetheless, Milne says he’s taking the pulse of Vermont and that it’s time for Peter Shumlin to retire.

 

"My candidacy is motivated very much by the shortfalls of the current administration and my real belief that there's hundreds of thousands - 200,000 or more - Vermonters out there that feel like I do; and I'm offering a voice to those people." GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne

  “My candidacy is motivated very much by the shortfalls of the current administration and my real belief that there’s hundreds of thousands – 200,000 or more – Vermonters out there that feel like I do; and I’m offering a voice to those people,” he said in an interview on VPR’s Vermont Edition.

Milne said Shumlin has set the state on a radical and progressive path, and the GOP candidate says single payer health care is one of the key areas he’d like to change. While Milne said he’s not philosophically opposed to single payer itself, he says what’s radical is Shumlin’s strong push in this direction without a plan in place to pay for it.

But Milne doesn’t have a plan of his own yet for how to cover rising health care costs. 

 “I’m not talking about what my plan is today,” he said. “I’ll be very clear, and I’ve been very consistent from the beginning, that what we need is a health care system that offers access to everybody.”

Milne is short on details on other issues as well. He believes that property taxes are too high and getting higher in many towns around the state. He said we need to reform our education system to keep costs down. When questioned on Vermont Edition, Milne backed away from a prescription for a fix. When pushed, he acknowledged that he’s in favor of voluntary school consolidation with possible incentives from the state, but against mandatory consolidation:

 “That’s my thought on it at this point in the campaign, yes,” he said.

But he did not provide details on how he would lower education taxes.

“Stay tuned,” he said.

Milne took a harder stand on the legalization of marijuana, saying that he’s against it, but would not block a bill if the Legislature passed it.

Questioned about the opiate crisis, Milne says an improving economic picture and better jobs would be good preventive measures to address addiction.

Milne didn’t offer specifics, promising to listen to Vermonters as he campaigns and come up with a plan after the election. And he disputes the contention made by some that he doesn’t have the passion to win.

"I'm a Gandhi-like person. I'm not into getting all yelly and screamy about things. I think people appreciate the truth. I’m trying to tell the truth. There's still a lot of truths I'm learning about on this campaign." - Scott Milne

  “I have ideas that I think are going to be good for Vermont. I’m a Gandhi-like person. I’m not into getting all yelly and screamy about things,” he said. “I think people appreciate the truth. I’m trying to tell the truth. There’s still a lot of truths I’m learning about on this campaign…  I think I just need to be trusted and honest. And that’s what I’m working on. And I’m hoping people are going to join me.”

Voters have eight more weeks to decide if they like Milne’s approach.