Oh look, here’s Mr. Leadership, Phil Scott, ducking out on another potentially uncomfortable interaction. He’s still resolutely passing on events staged by Rights and Democracy. And now, this week, the Vermont State Employees Association held forums for the gubernatorial candidates, seeking their views on issues related to the state’s workforce.
And guess who didn’t show up.
Lt. Gov Phil Scott, who is running for governor, was invited but did not attend either forum.
That’s right, kids. Democrats Sue Minter, Matt Dunne, and Peter Galbraith all made it, as did Republican Bruce Lisman. But not our brave and fearless would-be Leader. I guess there was a chili cook-off somewhere.
If he couldn’t be bothered to give a little face time to the employees he’d like to lead, at least he took the time (or someone on his staff did) to answer some written questions from VSEA.
His answers, however, are unlikely to earn him any union love. He sometimes sounds more like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker than the moderate Republican he purports to be. Otherwise, well, he ducks and dives a lot. Hey, it’s leadership the Phil Scott Way!
The biggest item, to me, is his answer to a question about collective bargaining rights and “Right to Work” legislation. You know, Scott Walker’s signature triumph and one of the conservative right’s top priorities. And surprise, surprise: Phil’s right there with The Governor From ALEC.
I am supportive of collective bargaining rights. Ultimately, the result of the bargaining process must ensure a fair outcome for both taxpayers and State employees. On balance, I believe that is the case today in state government. I do believe, however, that every individual has a fundamental right to decline to join or participate in any organization with which she/he does not wish to participate in.
(Boldface mine. Bad grammar his.)
That couldn’t be clearer, could it? Phil Scott supports the concept of “Right to Work” legislation. That’s kind of a big deal, no?
He was more successfullly evasive, if no more supportive, on the issue of a livable wage. His answer, in full:
I believe every Vermonter has the right to live, work hard for fair pay and raise a family. Yet an economy with costs of living that requires many parents to work two or three jobs to make ends meet doesn’t allow for that. My focus will be on reducing the cost of living, working, and doing business in Vermont so Vermonters can keep more of what they earn and so businesses can reinvest in their workers.
So that’s a “no” then.
No state action to raise worker pay, just a vague appeal to “reducing the cost of living.” Which means what, exactly? Cutting taxes and slashing services? I don’t think the governor has much sway over consumer prices — not even Our Boy Phil.
Elsewhere, he repeats his vow to rein in the state budget. And then he seems to promise major new investment in higher education.
As Governor, I will prioritize investments in pro-growth areas like early education, higher education, technical education, and job training. …We should always invest in the next generation of Vermonters, and education plays a crucial role in accomplishing that goal and recruiting the working families we need to rebuild our workforce.
Blah, blah, blah. If he’s serious about drawing a line on spending, then he’s not serious about these vague bromides.
Oh, and here’s a — well, I hate to say it — a lie.
We have experienced declining revenues year-over-year with no comprehensive plan to manage this economic uncertainty.
“Declining revenues year-over-year”? No, I don’t think so. Some of our revenue sources are being slowly undercut by changes in the economy. The sales tax, for instance: our economy is shifting from goods to services, which aren’t taxed. And the fuel tax, which is a fixed levy per gallon. But even so, revenues are going up year-over-year. They’re just not going up as much as they could be.
Here’s another tidbit. Remember that this is a guy who’s running away from Peter Shumlin and whining about Bruce Lisman’s messaging about the close relationship between Shumlin and Scott. And here’s what our Lite-Gov brags about.
As Chair of both the Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Advisory Council and the Capitol Complex Security Working Group, I’m always monitoring public safety, both in terms of advances and potential threats.
Yup. I don’t know if he’s still in the cabinet, but he’s proud of his work on a gubernatorial advisory panel. C’mon, Phil: you gotta try harder to erase all traces of Shumlin from your record.
Finally, a bit of unintended irony from the guy who was too busy to show up for the VSEA forum: he plans to keep up that crappy photo-opportunity-driven Jobs Tour!
As Governor I would like to continue my Vermont everyday jobs tour within state government in order to learn what our state employees do and how we can make things better from their perspective.
Yeah, well, you just missed an ideal opportunity to learn “how we can make things better from their perspective.” But I guess it’s one thing to get chummy with a couple of workers in a staged event, and it’s another to get on stage in front of a roomful of union members who might ask inconvenient questions and demand real answers. Better to keep a low profile, eh, Mr. Leadership?