By Rob Roper
On Saturday morning, March 11, two former Vermont GOP candidates launched a radio program, “Right Side Up,” on WNTK (99.7 FM) out of the White River Junction area.
Bill Huff, who ran for Windsor County Senate in 2022, and Mike Tagliavia, who ran for attorney general, started the show as an opportunity to keep up the conversations they began with Vermonters while on the campaign trail.
Huff said that this idea actually came up six years ago when someone at the station approached him about hosting a program, but at the time he had recently retired and wasn’t looking for another job. Since then, he became increasingly involved with Vermont politics, running twice for Orange County Senate and, after being re-districted for 2022, for Windsor County Senate. The “shellacking” Vermont Republicans received in the last election convinced Huff to revisit the idea of doing a show.
“Most people are voting party line,” said Huff. “If we can get information out to people about what’s really happening [in Montpelier], maybe we can have a breakthrough.”
Mike Tagliavia expressed similar motivation: “Our hope with the show is to get people thinking about issues and hopefully wake them up.” Tagliavia moved to Vermont four years ago and decided to get involved in politics because, as a business person and a taxpayer, he very quickly realized he wasn’t getting a good return on investment from government spending. Reaching out to and getting to know his own representative inspired him to run for office himself.
“I met a lot of great people running for office,” said Tagliavia, “and I wanted to find a way to keep in touch and keep the issues I ran on in the forefront.”
The first episode of “Right Side Up” focused primarily on S.5, the Clean Heat Standard bill, but also touched on bills sponsored by local legislators, including one by Rep. John O’Brien (D-Tunbridge) that would implement a tax on foods based on the distance they traveled to get to the store.
H.457 (an act related to An act relating to establishing a tax on the transit of agricultural commodities) “proposes to inform customers purchasing food of the carbon and climate change effects of the transit of agricultural commodities by establishing a tax on the mileage an agricultural commodity travels before retail sale in Vermont…. The tax would be assessed at $0.001 per mile that an agricultural commodity travels from the location of original packing for shipment to the point where the commodity will be sold at retail.”
Huff and Tagliavia pointed out how absurd the bill is, how it would make healthy food virtually unaffordable, especially for low-income Vermonters.
Tagliavia noted that he, living in Vermont, didn’t have a banana tree in his back yard. “So, imagine what you will pay for your bananas, and forget about buying a pineapple.”
“You talk about a regressive tax,” commented Huff. “I can’t think of anything that would be more regressive than a tax based on how far your food has to travel. A lot of the population, especially those that don’t have a lot of income, don’t eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables as it is now. They wouldn’t be able to afford any. … What’s the tax going to be on a head of lettuce [from California]?
“I think doctors are going to see cases of scurvy come back because nobody can afford an orange,” quipped Tagliavia.
Future episodes will go into depth on immigration issues on the US/Canadian border affecting Vermont and New Hampshire, and legislation aimed at curbing citizens’ First Amendment rights. The hosts also hope to incorporate guest interviews as they move forward.
Although “Right Side Up” is currently a one-hour program on Saturday mornings, both Huff and Tagliavia are already thinking bigger. Huff is investing in equipment that will allow the two to record the programs out of his home. If the program is a success, he can envision it running on a daily basis.
“If people like the show, we encourage them to contact the station and let them know,” said Huff. “If we can find some sponsors and can show the station that there is the potential to bring in revenue for the station, we have a chance for it to be eventually running on more stations throughout Vermont.”
“Right Side Up” is broadcast Saturday mornings between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. at 99.7 FM on the radio dial. Archived episodes can be found at any time online.
Here is the link to the premier March 11 episode.
Rob Roper is a freelance writer who has been involved with Vermont politics and policy for over 20 years. © Copyright True North Reports 2023. All rights reserved.
6 thoughts on “Two former VTGOP candidates launch radio show”
I heard part of the show Saturday 3/19. I enjoyed it very much. I am not one to call in but I would have called in to discuss a few issues. But I did not hear a number so maybe it is not a call n.
Congratulations gentlemen. And I echo Virginia Duffy’s words, we need your show here in Rutland.
Michael, I’m looking forward to you being a guest on my TV show here, “Conversations with Gregory” on PEG-TV.
The more rational news on the air waves the better. Thanks Mike and Bill for getting the truth out to the masses.
Yes! Excellent news. I write our local stations on a regular basis complaining about their horrible bias, bad news coverage and lack of coverage on positive right leaning issues. WCAX TV news and CBS local news are the worst! I wish more people would e-mail them.
This is the best news I’ve seen in ages going on in Vermont.
The state is suffering tremendously from the lockdown the media has had on the population.
Most people have no idea what they don’t know.
You cannot possibly have a population steeped in nothing but Leftism and think that there will be any real opposition party.
I’m from NH and I’ve often been stunned that all I can get on my car radio in Vermont is VPR- which is mindblowing to listen to as a red stater.
The situation with the media over there is so much worse than most people understand.
These guys should be very popular I’d think.. lets all help them out and get more on the radio like them!
You’ve got to support because as you know, the local Lefties will be freaking out and attempting to take them off the air for daring to go against the assigned narrative.
They are pushing back against one heck of a machine and will need a lot of listeners will to step up.
Wonderful and we need you here in Rutland too!
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