I don’t think Phil Scott’s going to get that VSEA endorsement

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?

11 thoughts on “I don’t think Phil Scott’s going to get that VSEA endorsement

  1. Kelly Cummings

    The more I hear, well read because he won’t show up anywhere to be heard, about Phil Scott the more I am convinced he is not governor material.

    I don’t know who is advising him but he might want to get somebody else. From his own website:

    “Listening is more important than talking; and actions speak louder than words. After all, we are elected by the people to do the work they need, not for personal gain or notoriety. By genuinely listening to Vermonters, I have found that constituents have the best ideas and there is almost always a commonsense solution and a bipartisan consensus to be found, even in some of the most complex areas.
    My approach to governing and public policy has always been to understand the issues that matter to Vermonters and focus my work on those issues. I make a point to listen and learn everything I can about their goals, struggles and the outcome they are hoping for. Then, I quietly lead the effort by organizing people and resources to develop solutions and meet the needs of Vermonters.”


    I’m not clear who Phil Scott is talking about when he says “Vermonter’s”. Based on his actions he must mean only the ones who think like he does.

    Sorry Mr. Scott but it just doesn’t work that way. Like it or not the governor is suppose to govern everyone. You know, ALL Vermonter’s. All.

    If you want the job you’re going to have to show up to events even if it makes you uncomfortable. So far you just appear to be lying ( refer to the above from your website), hypocritical, afraid and intolerant. Those are not very good qualities for a governor! If you don’t know this already then someone on your staff should be telling you. I would suggest a reboot. Get a new advisor for starters. Then, show up. Listen. Engage.

    Until then I guess ALL us Vermonter’s will just have to play the Vermont version of Where’s Waldo?. Where’s Phil Scott?……

    Surely you don’t want to be known as “The No Show Governor Wannabe”.

    Not good.

    Not good at all.

    1. Walter Carpenter

      “Not good at all.”

      Could not have said it better:) This is guy who seems to hide his meanness behind his nice guy image. As you say here, when Phil Scott talks about “Vermonters,” he is only talking about those who think like him. He is not talking about you and I. He does not want anything to do with you and I. He would throw us under the wheels of his race car.

  2. Steve Beck

    But he is a nice guy, and he drives a race car to boot. I would love to be able to say my Guv’na, who they love in Birmingham is a nice guy who drives a race car to boot. it does not get any better than that.

  3. newzjunqie

    Don’t think he wants or needs the endorsement nor to part of the insider-club. And looks like the one they *did* endorse — friend-of-the-wealthy Shumlin — turned out to be worse than Douglas & has continually made things unnecessarily difficult for VT state workers even demanding contracts be reopened.

  4. Brooke Paige

    Friggin’ Peter Galbraith – OMG !

    Interesting all this fuss is being made over Scott’s “no-show” at the VSEA forum. VSEA requested that ALL candidates return their questionnaire mailed on May 25th and expected back by May 27th. I received mine in the mail on Thursday and spent the evening (and half the night) thoughtfully answering their questions so it could be returned on time.

    I hand delivered the questionnaire and my cover letter to their office on State Street and was informed that they would be back to me about the “second round” after the holiday. I received no further communications and only learned that their forum had been held on Thursday, the second, and that Peter Galbraith had been selected by their Legislative Council as their “golden child.” “Friggin” Peter Galbraith, man what a dead pan, when I’m invited to appear with him – I’m tempted to bring along a stethoscope just to make sure he hasn’t been “elected” to that great “State House in the sky,” if you get my drift ?

    I have my suspicions that VSEA’s selecting Peter may be a closet move to insure Phil’s election and that Phil’s absence may have been a planned strategy to let Bruce to alienate the membership while making sure Phil didn’t “bite the shoe” and injure his efforts unnecessarily !

    Well I am being invited to some of the debates and forums being conducted by folks who actually want to hear all points of view. So we’ll see how it goes. I figure that if can get the same 3,000+ votes this time out – it might actually be enough to win the primary in a four way split ?

    If I make it to the General Election – who knows ?

    H. Brooke Paige
    Democratic Candidate for Governor and Attorney General

  5. newzjunqie

    Ok so it’s not just about attending a forum, but questionnaire must be filled out & returned prior to get VSEA nod. This could hurt him more than help b/c he would then be beholden. Better off keeping it on the Q-T with leadership & securing the vote of their members.

    One of his stated positions is to not allow parallel budget growth in excess of VT GDP growth. Personally trust Scott to give VSEA leadership & members a fair shake much more than Peter Shumlin ever did which amounted to nothing more than more of Shummy’s legendary tyrannical bullying.

    Continual offensive moves primarily served to piss our revenue away at the expense of them & us while filling pet projects & programs with highly paid six-figure sycophantic staffers whose tenures wasted far in excess of every dime we have. All while serving as protectorate for the wealthiest 1-5% of Vermonters and simultaneously doing next to nothing for the rest of us, the working poor, low-mid middle class.

    1. newzjunqie

      Didn’t get that Scott or staffer had already filled out the application
      What is so unreasonable about his answers? He’s not a Dem & Dems are not Republicans — this is news? Better to present realistic goals than make a bunch of promises he can never keep. The left supported Peter Shumlin *twice*. He’s led VT to ruination. Scotts’ answers measured and moderate — call me unsurprised. With some of the ppl running I think we could do far worse than Scott.

      While I believe he will recognize at least some of the agenda of the right I think we may be surprised at what a Scott regime looks like. Personally can’t forget he has been at odds with the party in recent years. There are alot of ppl including Dems who are unhappy with the direction VT has been taken. I expect him to appeal to moderate elements of D/P/R, Indys & possibly Libertarians.

      1. John S. Walters Post author

        Nothing unreasonable about his answers, assuming he’s a conservative Republican. Advocating an effective end to labor unions isn’t exactly moderation. And otherwise, in so far as you can tell amidst all his vagueness, he seems to be an orthodox Republican along national lines. That is at odds with his reputation for moderation.

  6. Stu Lindberg

    The taxpayers of Vermont are completely broke. The well is bone dry. Difficult and unpopular decisions regarding state spending priorities and taxation will have to be made sooner than later. Any aspiring politician that is making promises to be funded on the backs of taxpayers does not understand how dire the situation is for the taxpaying Vermonter.


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