Democrat candidates debate taxes, climate change, social justice and universal health care

Michael Bielawski/TNR

ELECTION SEASON: Democratic gubernatorial candidates on Tuesday tried to convince voters of their fitness to lead the state.

During a debate Tuesday, Democratic gubernatorial candidates Rebecca Holcombe, Patrick Winburn, David Zuckerman and Ralph Corbo sparred over the tumbling economy, climate change, social justice, and health mandates, including mandatory shots and wearing masks.

Corbo, of Wallingford, is a postal worker who made headlines by interrupting Gov. Phil Scott during his State of the State address. Zuckerman, of Hinesburg, is the current lieutenant governor. Winburn is an attorney from Bennington, and Holcombe, a resident of Norwich, is the state’s former education secretary.

Throughout the debate, the candidates discussed where the state could spend more money, what to do with health care, and how to deal with environmental and social justice issues.

Vermont Agency of Education

Rebecca Holcombe

Holcombe said she would like to see universal health care.

“I absolutely think we need to move to universal health care, and this question underscores how important it is to elect a governor who has strong executive experience to get the job done,” she said.

Winburn also said he supports universal health care.

“Well my plan is health care for all,” he said. “I think that health care is not just a human right, it’s a moral responsibility. … It should be for everybody. There shouldn’t be any connection to your employment.”

Zuckerman and Corbo expressed similar support for expanded government health care.

Some candidates talked up the potential for a “progressive income tax” to boost the economy.

“We’re gonna have to do the difficult thing like what Gov. Richard Snelling did back in 1990 when he instituted a progressive income tax,” Corbo said. “We raised the rate on the top 5 percent of the wealthiest Vermonters which helped us overcome that we were in from the 1987 recession at that time.”

Winburn also spoke in favor of this tax.

“I don’t believe that we can cut our way out of recession,” he said. “We need investments, we need infrastructure, we need more workplace development and the way we can help pay for that is by taxing pot, having a progressive income tax, the wealthy benefited in the good times and I think they can pay their fair share during the hard times.”

Vermont Office of the Lieutenant Governor

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman

On social justice issues, Zuckerman said white supremacy is real and pervasive.

“We have to recognize that racism and white supremacy are part of a multi-generational systemic issue that has affected all of our economy and all of our citizens in disproportionate ways as you mentioned like in housing and wealth accumulation,” he said.

Holcombe also said racism needs to be addressed with policy changes.

“I would also do implicit bias training for all the agencies just as we did at the Agency of Education,” she said. “I would evaluate every single policy proposal that came to me through the eyes of equity to make sure that we are truly sharing opportunity and not re-enforcing the inequities that we already have.”

On the environment, Corbo said he is for a green economy.

“You have to think outside the box, you have to think about turning the entire economy of the state into something of a green peace economy, maybe something on the order of becoming the organic garden breadbasket of the whole East Coast,” he said.

On the coronavirus, Holcombe and Zuckerman said they would be in favor of health mandates. Holcombe grilled Zuckerman on whether he would take a strong enough stance in support of higher vaccination rates. Two years ago, regarding vaccination policy, Zuckerman said the pharmaceutical industry hasn’t always had a great safety record with its products, and he used the example of the industry’s role in the opiate crisis.

On Tuesday, Zuckerman gave his support for mandatory vaccines.

“I support vaccines and I will follow medical professionals’ advice on making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory,” he said. He also reiterated that he had previously voted in favor of taking away Vermonters’ philosophical exemption from vaccines for children to attend schools.

Holcombe implied she would be in favor of forcing Vermonters to wear masks statewide. She called Scott’s COVID-19 lockdown “lukewarm at best.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Dennis Hill, Michael Bielawski/TNR, Vermont Agency of Education and Vermont Office of the Lieutenant Governor

17 thoughts on “Democrat candidates debate taxes, climate change, social justice and universal health care

  1. As a covid – vaccine can never be accurate bc Covids by their nature continually shift which is why there is no vaccine for common cold – and Flu shot is notoriously ineffective. And do not believe it’s even the 47% efficacy claimed. And does not work *at all* for elderly.

    There are many things which can be done to bolster immune system that are inexpensive and readily available. I’m almost never sick and have exposure to children which can be germ-carriers as their immune systems are learning.

  2. This book is already amazing…. (xxii) introduction…

    “Totalitarian regimes, they declared, all had at least five things in common: a dominant ideology, a single ruling party, a secret police force prepared to use terror, a monopoly on information, and a planned economy.”

    We have police threatening to put business owners in jail for operation, that’s not even secret. We will probably have mask police by this Friday. Despite despite 623,939 people being fine. (623,989 – 55 deaths = 623,989).

    Vermont hits all 5 items for a totalitarian regime, let that sink in. Many have intuitively known this.

    These countries were all overrun……..willingly by many. Do not be fooled, they are very effective. The task before us is huge.

    All our top leaders from a practical standpoint fall in formation. Gov, Lt. Gov, Leader of House, Leader of Senate….

  3. Sad to say, this slate of Democrat candidates for Governor is uniformly unimpressive. Let’s take a look:

    Rebecca Holcombe: All one has to do is look over her record as Secretary of Education and then move on…..Nothing there to warrant a promotion to Governor.

    David Zuckerman: About 24 years in Vermont government dating back to 1996 when first elected to the House and on to the Lt. Governor’s slot…….Go to LG Zuckerman’s Wikipedia report and you’ll find no accomplishments of consequence listed after 24 years on the job in Montpelier.

    One other thing you will not find in LG Zuckerman’s record is any indication that he was concerned or even aware of the presence of white supremacy in Vermont, an issue that today he tells us “is real and pervasive” in the Green Mountain State…….When did he learn of this problem as it shows up no where in his 24 years in Montpeleir?

    Patrick Winburn: He wants to raise taxes and continue spending…..Enough said.

    Ralph Corbo: Mr. Corbo tells us we need to think out of the box, along the lines of a strategy of turning Vermont into a “green peace economy” or the “organic garden breadbasket of the whole east coast.” A strategy that would produce seasonable low paying jobs for a few months a year…..And oh, LG Zuckerberg proposed a similar strategy a couple of years ago and was broadly panned.

    This slate of candidates will not make Vermonters want to pull the Democrat level in the voting booth this November.

    • We may very well be surprised. What we don’t see, because we don’t subscribe or get feeds are all the very, very clever information being sent to every Vermonters cell phone, several times per day.

      For example when Trump came to Burlington. How was it that thousands came to protest? How did they even know?

      How was it that thousands came to protest and paint BLM in the middle of a pandemic? The massive distribution of information electronically across our state is overwhelming, it’s effective. For every email a Republican puts out, for example our VTGOP suggests posting once a week, others are getting 8-10 per day. From all the candidates on the Democratic side, even though competing against each other, they promote the very same topic. This can be convincing to many.

      I’ve just, just started reading Iron Curtain, The crushing of Eastern Europe, and while I’m only into like page three of the introduction the similarities of what has and is goign on in Vermont can not be ignored.

      I’ve been stating it’s not a discussion of Republican vs. Democrat, it’s an election between American Loving Democrats and Conservatives vs. Pimps for the NWO and Communism.

      There are many democrats that know something is wrong. We need to give them credit, recognize them. We are at the tip of this socialist spear. The task before us is no small matter. We’d be wise to perhaps study Poland, it took them awhile to get out of their mess. Now they rightfully embrace christianity (foundation of western civilization), don’t allow migration without permission and are probably on our closest allies for freedom and capitalism.

    • Not to support Zuckerman, but I recall that Sen George Aiken served 34 years and had only one bill passed with his name on it – but he did much good service to the Republic is less noticeable ways.

  4. This will be the frame work for the debate, along with cOvid. How can you navigate and win the hearts of all VERMONTERS without triggering so many that are indoctrinated ?

    Perhaps the key to winning hearts and minds, starting the reformation from socialist ideology that is the root of Vermomts affordability, school funding and drug problems.

    • This frame work is done , by and for the advantage of those currently in office with complete assistance of the “press”.

      Notice all the topics have to do with government having complete control over our lives. They will say things will be cheaper that way, and perhaps for a year, then suddenly the costs go up. Remember we were sold this on our educational system?

      In the primary debate Scott said he was the only backstop against the radical left. How come he’s not inspiring more republicans to join him? Is he tearing down or building up the party?
      We the public need to change and take control of the narrative.

  5. Vermonters need to wake up and just think about things. We have a cross-section of this thinking in the legislature now, bringing about their agenda little by little. They never stop, as there is always a next step…… never to go back to correct anything that doesn’t work, only pile on more absurd, ludicrous, stupid stuff to add to the total.
    It is no wonder that these transplants, here turning everything upside down , were driven out of wherever they hailed from. More non-sense from these idiots will only drive more folks to NH or further South.
    When will they realize that taking more than we have in hand is just not in the cards?
    God help us!!!

    • And the Governor is one who does not really want the job, sides with the lunaticks, and will most likely be beaten in the primary. He is the biggest disappointment of recent VT politics, without question.
      Anyone interested in saving the state should support John Klar.

      Vermonters: Simply put, it is Klar or bankruptcy along with electing some reasonable people/new faces in the legislature.

  6. Interesting. There were a several topics about which I’d be interested in hearing the views of these pipe dreaming candidates. Heath care for all?? Green economy??? Unrealistic and unaffordable. Let’s cut to the chase. If these folks are serious about reviving Vermont’s economy, what is their position on reducing taxation??? Where do they stand on reducing spending??? All we’ve heard is spend, spend, spend. Affordable? What’s that???? Nothing new with this bunch.

  7. “There shouldn’t be any connection to your employment” – FDR – Wage and price controls. To attract employees, this forced the employers to compete by offering benefits. A company health insurance plan was one of the prime benefits. the “connection to your employment” you decry is the result of government mandated manipulation of the market. The Progressives, like Adolf Hitler and Woodrow Wilson (now fallen out of favor with his fellow Progressives – like their Civil War heroes), were Statists and Corporatists, dogmatically believing that the government knows how to run your lives (and everything else) better than you do. As exemplified in their Democrat run cities like Chicago with over a hundred shootings, fifteen fatalities in one weekend – or their “peaceful” demonstration riots and peacefully destroyed neighborhoods. Tax and spend – because they know how to spend your money better than you do. And, to top it off, no matter how much of your money they spend and no matter how high they drive your fuel costs they are not going to produce any discernible change in Vermont’s climate.

  8. Yes, listen to this gaggle of fools solving problems we don’t have or problems
    only in the minds of these liberal fools, hold on to your wallet or purse !!

    Let me hear what there plans are for the states ” Debt Issue ” lack of any major
    businesses and no support for small business and the restrictive provisions that
    hinder opening a business in Vermont………….

    The circus is in town, and this shows the clown bus is full !!

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