Republican candidates for lieutenant governor take on economic crisis, GWSA, guns and more

Five Republican candidates for lieutenant governor went head-to-head in a Zoom online debate Thursday evening.

Candidates participating in the event hosted by the Lamoille County Republican Committee included former Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Milne, business owner Dana Colson, former Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom director Meg Hansen, political writer Jim Hogue, and Dwayne Tucker, who is also running for state Senate.

Ethan Allen Institute President Rob Roper and News & Citizen editor Tommy Gardner co-moderated the debate.

IN THE HOT SEAT: Five Republican candidates for lieutenant governor participated in a Zoom debate Thursday evening.

One important topic of discussion was how to deal with immediate economic woes facing Vermont, including potentially a $430 million loss of state revenue.

Milne said Vermonters must first recognize the scale of this downturn.

“The problems that we have coming our way because of the COVID economy are catastrophic. We’re in for the biggest economic storm that we’ve seen in 75 years in America,” he said. “Unfortunately for Vermont, that’s built on a foundation of 20-plus years of economic malaise and mismanagement by an increasingly powerful Democratic/Progressive state Legislature.”

Colson took aim at overzealous government regulations and high costs to do business.

“I do business with hundreds of small businesses and highway departments and individuals all over the state,” he said. ” … Vermonters are struggling, one-party rule has hurt our economy, businesses made of Vermonters are fleeing our state due to high taxes and unrestricted government spending and overregulation. We cannot keep growing government and shrinking the private sector, this is unsustainable.”

Hansen, with her health care background, noted the low death rates for COVID-19 mean parts of the economy can and should open faster to bring economic relief.

“We need to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach,” she said. “We have data now. We’ve seen that there are at-risk populations — these are the elderly and people with chronic conditions. We need to allocate our health care resources to help them make sure that we minimize the transmission. The fatality rate for people under age 70 is 0.04 percent; for those under the age of 18 it is practically zero. … A prolonged, months-long lockdown is just causing economic devastation as well as financial bankruptcy for hospitals.”

Hogue called for the creation of a state public bank to fix the economy.

“As it is right now, Vermont has to borrow a lot of its money from out of state, and then it has to pay it back with huge amounts of interest every year,” he said. “So if Vermont had its own state bank then that money would be recycled back through the state and it would also lower access.”

Tucker said he would tackle high taxes.

“I’ve seen a slow decline in Vermont in many different ways. I feel that it’s very important to address every need in Vermont and I have a mile-long list, and every one of those starts with industry and economic growth,” he said. “Seventy-two percent of Vermonters vote that this is their primary concern, we need tax reform.”

The debate covered several other subjects, including the Second Amendment, universal background checks and new restrictions on ammunition capacity.

Colson and Hansen said Vermont needs fewer gun restrictions.

“We have to get rid of unconstitutional laws,” Hansen said.

Milne, Hogue, and Tucker all agreed that the state has “the right amount” of gun laws currently. Milne expanded his answer.

“We do not want to open up a veto-proof majority Progressive/Democrat-controlled legislature by talking about gun laws. We don’t want to touch gun laws or it’s going to go in a bad place for people that are pro-Second Amendment.”

He added that he thought Hansen’s plan to repeal new gun laws was “naive.” Hansen replied, “It’s not naive if you stand for the Constitution.”

At another point in the debate Hansen took aim at her opponents.

“I’ve seen that winning this statewide race is not necessarily the goal for many of those in power. Their goal is to protect the status quo,” she said. “So I see some of my opponents as gatekeepers of Montpelier, and they are engaged in a war on excellence.”

On other subjects, Colson doubled down on his promise not to seek new taxes.

“First of all let me be clear: no new taxes,” he said. “We need spending cuts, and I would largely leave that to the agency heads to work out the details. A lot of it is shifting our priorities.”

He said that he would limit new hires, and attrition is one way he would allow for cuts. He also proposed cutting regulations on farmers and loosening the restrictions of Vermont’s zoning law Act 250.

Tucker talked about health care, including universal coverage.

“We can do things such as, possibly, assign doctors to a community or home-based health care roles that help people get healthy. We could guarantee universal coverage and health care equitability for all Vermont citizens,” he said.

Also on a health topic, Hogue commented on Vermont’s public vaccination policy, which currently allows for religious exemptions but not philosophical exemptions.

“I would also hope for a better look at vaccines; I think the mandatory policy is shameful and egregious,” Hogue said. “I would like to see the legislature take a more honest look at what they have done with vaccines.”

The full debate can be viewed online here. The debate segment begins at minute 19:40 in the video.

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

10 thoughts on “Republican candidates for lieutenant governor take on economic crisis, GWSA, guns and more

  1. “It’s not naive if you stand for the Constitution.” said Meg Hansen. That’s all I need to hear. It is refreshing and envigorating to hear a Republican who is not pandering to Democrats for their votes. Meg has mine!

  2. So Scott Milne is a never Trumper. How do we have republican candidates who do not support the number one republican candidate, our president? I voted for Mr. Milne in the past but he does not get my vote this time. Coming out against our president like the current governor is a sign of weakness and a pandering to those on the left. We need fresh new ideas and people who support our whole party. This goes for any others running, no RINOs and no candidates who openly reject our president!

    • They are campaigning together, it disgusting they are allowed on the ticket. I see them advertising all over breitbart, the biggest rino’s advertising on the most conservative news sight, I find it very ironic. No conservative would vote for either in a primary.

      They have shills on the Internet trying to tear down and split votes from the true representatives that support our constitution.

      Hopefully Meg wins by a landslide, her signs are everywhere.

  3. It seems to me that some great places to start to get Vermont back on track to being a Vermonter’s Vermont as compared with a flatlander’s Vermont is to reduce spending, the number of dead wood of
    hangers on in Montpelier and to cut the legislative session back to 4 to 6 weeks.

  4. Meg Hansen is our only hope to save this state. No BS, straight to the point, educated, and values our freedoms.

  5. To stimulate Vermont’s population growth and, concurrently, an economy to support that growth, Meg Hansen and Dana Colson made equally essential observations: decrease expensive regulation. However, a case in point they only briefly mentioned with regard to subsidies to parents for alternatives to schools closed by the pandemic, and the best example of incentivizing education free markets in my opinion, is deregulating Vermont’s burdensome public pre-k thru 12 education monopoly representing the State’s single most expensive sector of governmental costs. Consider this report.

    The pandemic is bringing students to Vermont – mostly in towns without schools
    “… the beneficiaries of this trend at this point appear mostly limited to a handful of so-called “tuitioning” districts …… which, instead of operating schools, provide vouchers to families to send their children to the public or private school of their choice.”

    For decades, my school district’s tuitioned School Choice grades have consistently seen higher enrollments, better education outcomes, and lower per-student costs than our non-choice monopoly grades. The referenced VT Digger story supports our anecdotal experience, and I hope Ms. Hansen and Mr. Colson continue to emphasize School Choice as they move forward.

  6. We here just finished viewing a Meg Hansen interview from VT Digger wherein she provided answers to ten questions posed to all Lt. Gov candidates. Her answers did not even hint at duplicity. Most refreshing. Even though the article’s author couldn’t resist an off handed dig at Meg’s use of her enviably expanded vocabulary, she managed to appear objective.

    I found it interesting that among the ten questions, none appeared that even hinted at the opioid situation in the state. But at the moment it’s safe to say there are at least two vote for Meg Hansen.

    • Wise man, she is the best candidate, most open of the bunch. Funny they’ve called her “ultra conservative”, it’s the first time many Vermonters have seen or heard somebody not afraid to speak their values and hold them dear.

      Meg, you’ll make a very fine Lt. Governor.

      What are your thoughts about this promising cure for covid? More and more seem to be coming out, and Fauci is just now talking about how the new vaccine will be 50-60% effective, suddenly the truth is starting to come out, how do they even expect those great results when current vaccines only prove 47% effective?

      Some of the group are quite skilled in the art of sophistry. Some are draped in American flags while shilling for the United Nations and speaking with forked tongue. We could use a bit less of this in Vermont

      Birds of a feather flock together.

      It is such a treat to see so many signs across our state supporting conservative candidates. Go Meg!

  7. Good Luck to All, we need one of you in the state house, to bring Vermont
    back to being Vermont …………………………….

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