Letter: Overthinking Gov. Phil Scott

This letter is by Mark Shepard, a former Vermont state senator (2003-2006) in the Bennington District.

Many Republicans have been frustrated by Republican Phil Scott as governor of Vermont. I served with Phil for four years in the state Senate and never saw Phil as someone that could be counted on to hold strong to any position.

Phil Scott is not well understood within today’s left-right political spectrum, where the left embraces shifting power toward the state and a collectivist’s view of people, and the right embraces shifting power toward individual, free-markets and individual human value.

Rather, as a seasoned race car driver, Phil Scott simply applies his racing-mind to his politics. As with racing he has no destination, but rather simply tries to position himself to stay ahead of the pack as he goes round and round, never really getting anywhere.

So if you want someone who is guided by a set of ideas and who you can depended on to lead the state based upon those ideas, Phil Scott may not be your best option. Of course that always depends on what your options are. If, as has been the case in every one of his general elections, the alternative is someone who embraces a set of ideas that has failed everywhere tested, Phil starts looking a lot better.

My advice for liberty-minded Vermonters is to stop worrying about the governor’s office until you have a majority in the Legislature. You might actually like the Phil Scott that shows up in that scenario.

Mark Shepard
Vermont State Senator 2003-2006

Image courtesy of Public domain

8 thoughts on “Letter: Overthinking Gov. Phil Scott

  1. Please don’t misunderstand the point. It is not that we should be satisfied with Scott, but rather don’t let him distract you from from focusing on the much more important posts. I am not even saying vote for him. Just get your focus on those legislative seats.

    And for the couple of commenters who think I am in la, la, land … I did it! And I did it in Vermont. It can be done. It has been done and by many more people than just me.

    What I did not do was listen to all the people who told me it could not be done. I was a complete unknown, had never ran for any elected office, had never spoken in public, embrace a very limited-government model, the free-market, individual liberty, pro-life, pro-constitution, etc … and I won a Vermont Senate seat twice and in a quite left leaning county … Bennington … take a look at the makeup of Bennington legislative seats. Look all the way back to 2006, when I last served.

    The problem was not getting elected, not at all. That was the easy part as well as a lot of fun. The problem was serving in a legislature that runs for 5-6 months and that is a problem for anyone who feeds his family from working in the competitive marketplace. I could not afford to serve more than two terms, so I did not run for the third. Those long sessions are by design to keep the voice of most Vermonters out of the state house. Make no mistake about that.

    But please don’t let anyone tell you Vermont legislative seats are impossible to win for a conservative. They can be won by an honest candidate that works hard. If it can be done at the senate level, the house level is even more possible.

    By now it should be well understood in Vermont that the legislature is what matters most. That is the policy making body. As for the long session, run a campaign against them and cut them down to what they should be. Two months, every other year, is plenty of time for an entity as small as Vermont to figure out its priorities, goals and associated budget for each two-year biennium. If you want the voice of Vermonters in the legislature, then that is how to make it happen.

  2. The writer is in La-La Land…a wish & a dream. Has Mr. Shepard ever stopped to think this…what are the odds that Repubs will ever get a majority in both houses? And not just a simple majority…a VETO proof majority. Does he realize what the voting population is in Vermont? Progressies, Leftists, Socialists and Democrat….especially in the major population & city centers, where the majority of VT population is. And let’s not forget the large amount of votes from Unions! State employee union, City employee union, Municipal union…and the biggie…the Teachers Union. And can ya’ guess how they vote 🙂

  3. The subject is moot as long as republicans/ conservatives sit out elections. He was nervous being primaried following his encouraging and signing gun legislation. It seems he had almost as many democrats voting for him than people upset with him voting against him. A clear message was sent; screw us over and don’t expect any political consequences.

  4. I agree with Mr. Shepard that the focus of effort should be on the legislature. I would say the goal should be a much more attainable veto proof number of legislators than electing a Republican majority. I would also take issue with his charcterization regarding Governor Scott’s not having clear principles.

    The fact is time and time again Governor Scott has laid down what he feels is most improtant and done all in his power to obtain those goals. This includes holding the line whenever possible on tax increases and focusing on the need for more young Vermont workers. Holding to the principle of smaller more practical government in the face of Democratic/Progressive supermajorities have also made him the governor with the most vetos in Vermont history.

  5. Phil Scott is the definition of RINO.

    He should be removed from the Republican party for the stances he is taken on issues. I understand in the political process there’s a give and take I’m just not sure that there’s any spot that he has given back to the Republicans, and even if he has a few times it’s far less than what he should be doing which is vetoing everything, forcing them to override it and standing his ground.

  6. As far as I am concerned Phil Scott has burned his last bridge, of coarse if we are still using Dominion software to tabulate the next election, who knows, he could quite possibly win again.

    But, Phil is too much of a facilitator, for everything I am against to even consider voting for him again!

  7. Mark Shepard, Phil Scott is using his racing mindset he’s always making a ” left turn “,
    with his policies and he’s not in the lead……. he’s back in the pack, not a leader !!!

    If he was a leader, he would have vetoed every one of the Liberal nonsense bills coming
    out of the statehouse. Four years ago I would have sided with you, but not now, I will not
    vote for him again.

    Montpelier is nothing more than a clown show, just look at the status and the condition
    the state is in High Debt, High Taxes, Lax Economy………

  8. Well Mr. Shepard, your words ring true. Scott seems only to want to be ahead of the pack, not leading it. Direction and Leadership are kind of important, even running this tiny state. Lack of both can lead to anarchy- and we seem to be started down that road here in the Green Mountains.
    Ahead of the pack might get you the most votes, but leadership is what Vermont needs, regardless of the majority in the legislature.

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