Vermont Gov. James Douglas was in Castleton Friday night, being honored be area republicans – and also looking for their votes and support. He was the primary guest at a reception at the Trak Inn on Lake Bomoseen and was the recipient of a glowing introduction by longtime Rutland lawyer Art Crowley.
Crowley told the packed room that in light of the national economic situation, Vermont was in a great situation to have a governor who has experience.
“If we re-elect our guest of honor we don’t need any on the job training,” he said
“Jim Douglas was sworn in as the Vermont State Treasurer 1995. He kept the books for eight years before he became governor.
“He’s been our governor for six years that’s 14 years of handling the finances of Vermont” said Crowley, who then repeated it for emphasis.
Crowley also brought up a Rutland Herald letter to the editor about Vermont’s law that requires a candidate to receive a 50 percent plus one vote or the legislature chooses the governor. Crowley quoted from the letter saying “even if he (Douglas) gets the highest number of votes among the three candidates the legislature shouldn’t elect him.”
That brought boos and groans from the crowd, but Crowley used the letter writer as a means to stress the importance of getting out the vote to ensure a clear win for Douglas.
Crowley than handed the floor over to Douglas, who launched into highlights of his success with Vermont’s economy.
“I do feel good about how we have faired during some relatively challenging times . I feel very strongly about the work that I’ve done in terms of fiscal responsibility,” he said.
But then Douglas spoke about the national economic crisis on Vermont.
“In the short term it’s going to be a tough time, especially during the coming winter when some of our families might need some extra help, but we’ll get through it like we always have in the past,” he said. “Vermonter’s will respond . I am really optimistic that we’ll make sure nobody freezes or starves during the coming winter.”
Douglas said Vermonters need to “position ourselves to recover.” He went on to lay out his plan to create more jobs and said that Vermont had the second lowest unemployment in the northeast, which he does not expect to rise.
“We have 10,000 more new jobs than we did five years ago, we’re moving in the right direction,” he said.
He said that, “contrary to what other candidates would have you believe” there are more professional jobs in the region. He bragged about the software development firms in Chittenden County and said Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie has been trying to lure some big software companies to the state Vermont. He said one of the nation’s fastest growing technology companies is ITECH in Burlington.
He spoke about the sale of Vermont Castings, and how the state helped save the company with the Vermont Economic Growth Incentive.
“We provide a little extra push to help companies that provide jobs in green industries . That initiative made the difference not only in keeping the 225 jobs in Bethel but, bringing 62 more.” Douglas said.
“These are tuff times but, we’ve had some success and I hope and believe we will have more if I can persuade the general assembly to pass my new economic growth plan during the first 100 days of the session that begins in January,” Douglas said.
Douglas ended with comments showing confidence in his abilities, but also with a plea for voters to get to the polls so he has the chance to use those abilities.
“The point is, we can put programs in place that create jobs, and save jobs, and move things in the right direction . We have to get out the vote because republicans kind of swims upstream in Vermont, and we can’t do that with out your generous support,” he said.