Legislative Update October 5, 2020

The legislature adjourned as scheduled on September 25th. As previously reported they moved the “must pass” bills such as the budget, approved several COVID-19 related policies, dealt with some other priority issues and passed the Global Warming Solutions Act. The last week of the session was filled with vigorous debates, last minute requests and some theater. With the closing of the legislature your government affairs team has turned its attention to the upcoming elections.

Your government affairs team and board of directors has spent hours deliberating on how and who to support this election. Your lobbying team has spent time over the years developing a list of contractor friendly politicians. This list includes individuals from both sides of the aisle and who have shown they truly are champions of the building trades. Ultimately the list has been dialed in to include politicians who chair committees relevant to our industry, key members of those committees and candidates for Governor/Lt Governor. I think we all can agree our choice for Governor was easy. What was not easy is who to support for Lieutenant Governor. The board of directors suggested we hold a candidate forum and thats just what we did.

The lieutenant governor forums intended to give the committee of 12 AGC/VT members an objective view of each candidate without the normal “soapbox” campaigning we see so much. By the time held the forums the local “mainstream” press had already launched into a “tit for tat” argument that pretty much resembled a schoolyard fight. In fact by the time the candidates arrived moderator Matt Musgrave said, “We only plan to discuss business today”. The committee had been prepared with focused questions which both candidates were asked at two separate events where they appeared solo rather than a debate format.

On September 30th the committee met over web conference with Republican candidate for Lt Governor, Scott Milne. His opening statement included discussion about his experience as a life long business owner in Vermont, how that experience will guide him, that he plans to support Governor Scott, and introduced his plan called Progress Vermont. Milne answered questions well with some curiosity that showed he was interested in learning more about our industry. When discussing environment and development he said he supports a predictable system that will benefit Vermonters and achieve our goals to keep Vermont beautiful. The conversation spent a lot of time talking about the benefits of industry in Vermont and the positive impacts of quality jobs.

The very next day on October 1 the committee met with Democrat candidate, Molly Gray. Her opening statement included the story of growing up on a farm in Vermont, her education in Vermont and experience as an attorney both working for national campaigns and in our attorney generals office. She shared her experience travelling overseas in humanitarian missions. During questions Gray would regularly divert to the challenges we are facing due to our shrinking population and workforce in Vermont. Gray explained that she is very much supportive of the environmental policies in Vermont but believes that smart growth development can be a solution to our population issues due to affordability.

The committee will meet this week to discuss who or if AGC/VT will support any candidate for the lieutenant governor post. If you have any questions please contact matt@agcvt.org .