VTGOP hosts economic forum, says other media ask candidates ‘divisive questions’

The VTGOP hosted a forum this week to let Republican candidates focus on the economy, an important topic this election cycle that has been largely ignored by mainstream news outlets.

“If voters are concerned about the economy, we want to make sure that we are addressing their concerns. And if our candidates aren’t able to get their ideas out into other forums, we’re going to create a forum for them,” Vermont GOP Chair Paul Dame said to begin the forum Monday evening.

On Thursday, Dame published a video on YouTube blasting local media for asking puzzling debate questions aimed at dividing candidates and voters rather than focusing on issues people care about.

“If you want to hear answers to many of the more divisive questions you can sure check out some of those previous debates,” he said at Monday’s forum. “But tonight we are going to focus on policies that Republicans here in Vermont are advocating to help strengthen our economy.”


THE ECONOMY FIRST – A GOP-specific forum on Monday was intended to focus on economic issues and other questions more in line with what the voters want to hear about.

The GOP Senate Candidates

GOP candidates for U.S. Senate attending the forum were real estate finance professional Myers Mermel and military veteran and business professional Gerald Malloy. Former U.S. attorney Christina Nolan was not present.

The two were asked how they might influence economic policy, and Mermel answered first.

“I think President Trump was very successful in breaking through a number of barriers to make sure that America was represented well,” he said. “Oftentimes he would threaten tariffs as he did, and he would add tariffs to Mexico or China. One of the things that I think we need to work on is that America is represented first.”

Myers Mermel

Myers Mermel

Mermel added that he thinks the technology sector may present an opportunity for Vermont.

“I’m encouraged by the semiconductor act that just passed. As you know, I’ve been fighting to have a $2 billion to $8 billion microchip fabrication plant brought here to the State of Vermont,” he said.

He noted that Albany, NY, just across Vermont’s border, continues to see such investments.

“That could produce literally thousands of jobs and that would take a senator who’s willing to fight for his or her state,” he said.

During his turn to speak, Malloy talked about energy independence.

“One of the things that I want to do as a U.S. senator is to make sure that the U.S. regains its independence for oil and gas, gains independence for future energy, maintains and gains independence for critical technology including microchips, and develop and maintain independence for food,” he said.

Malloy said the main themes of his campaign are “abiding by the Constitution, promoting economic prosperity, and ensuring defense security and order.”

He added that he thought the United States should withhold trade from certain nations.

“On that list would include communist countries, countries that are pushing drugs into our country, terrorist harboring countries, countries that don’t have fair trade, and countries that have human rights violations,” he said.

The GOP House Candidates

GOP candidates for U.S. House who participated in the forum were accountant and YouTube “Generally Irritable” show host Ericka Redic, and former congressional nominee Anya Tynio.

The candidates were asked what is the primary obstacle to affordable home ownership in Vermont.

Anya Tynio

Anya Tynio

Tynio went first.

“I think this is a two-fold issue, one is the federal and one is the state, and I’m going to focus on Vermont right now,” she said. “And that is that the cost of land in Vermont is higher than the national average, it’s between $2,000 to $15,000 just to get started in the building process, and that doesn’t even count what you are going to have to pay with Act 250.”

“It almost feels like the State of Vermont doesn’t want new housing,” she added.

She commented on other ways that this is impacting the overall economy.

“It’s negatively affecting recruitment for workers, it’s negatively affecting the amount that people are paying for housing, especially in the Chittenden County area and Brattleboro and some of those places.”

At her turn to speak, Redic argued that overregulation is a major culprit in discouraging home ownership.

“Number one, we would need to repeal Act 250 or at least severely reform it to make it so if I want to build a 13-unit apartment building, I’m not spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in permits and fees before I’ve had an architectural drawing or before I’ve had a shovel put in the ground,” she said.

Redic added that when businesses don’t come to Vermont, that means they are going elsewhere and taking their economic benefits with them.

“We have come to terms with the fact that one of the big things we are dealing with is also market forces,” she said “So Act 250 is preventing us from being able to build new housing, or it’s making it cost prohibitive, which makes investors want to go to places like North Carolina or Tennessee to Texas where they are seeing a boom in population.”

The GOP Candidates for Lieutenant Governor

The two GOP candidates for lieutenant governor who participated in the forum were Greg Thayer of Rutland and Sen. Joe Benning of Lyndonville.

Each candidate was asked what’s being done right with regard to other states’ economic policies.

Benning went first and looked to the policies of neighboring New Hampshire.

“Well I would start by looking 18 miles across the river from where I live to New Hampshire,” he said. “The idea of getting rid of the sales tax would be an ideal way to compete with that neighbor on our border

“I used to be able to say that if you traveled the length of Main Street in St. Johnsbury you find at least 13 empty storefronts. If you went to Littleton, New Hampshire, which is right across the river, you would not be finding any empty storefronts.”

Benning noted that some of the recent public housing investments have had poor returns for the amount that goes into refurbishing them.

“We are investing millions and millions of dollars on housing in places that have storefronts below them — these are multi-story buildings, and the storefronts being brought in is great; but [not] when you are only getting a few hundred dollars a month for an apartment that you have just invested millions of dollars in refurbishing,” he said.

Thayer said Vermont must copy states that focus on cutting regulations and taxes.

“We need to follow states like Florida and New Hampshire, like Senator Benning just cited, South Carolina and Texas, and stop these regulations,” he said. “Stop handcuffing our people. That’s one of the biggest problems seen in Vermont.”

Thayer continued on about the value of having some regulations, but not so many that it impedes projects.

“I’m not saying we have to do away with all regulations, because we do need to keep the people safe, I get that. But it’s overburdensome.”

Watch the full debate in the video above.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of VTGOP, Myers Mermel and Anya Tynio

9 thoughts on “VTGOP hosts economic forum, says other media ask candidates ‘divisive questions’

  1. In the lieutenant governor’s race there is only one clear choice for the state of Vermont.

    That is lifelong vermonter Gregory Thayer who has put in almost 2 years crisscrossing our state fighting for our children and for our constitution.

    Greg has plenty of experience in business and banking and will do a wonderful job working on the waste of taxpayers money in montpelier Vermont.

    Greg believes in supporting and practicing our constitution and he believes in the right to life.

    Greg is solid gun supporter and is against any laws being imposed on vermonters regarding gun rights.

    Greg has been unmercifully attacked by his opponent Joe Benning for practicing his constitutional rights.

    And Mr Benning the white people in the state of Vermont and across this country are not white supremacist

    We are also not insurrectionists.

    It would be nice if you stopped addressing us that way..

    Benning calls himself a Scott republican… Not quite sure if Scott is even a republican after he voted for biden.

    I believe Mr Benning also voted for biden in spite of the fact he claims different. Mr Benning clearly supports the biden agenda.

    Mr Benning claims to be an avid gun supporter however he remains completely quiet about the gun grab that biden is attempting that affects every gun owner across the country.

    There is only one person in the lieutenant governor’s race that will represent vermonters.

    Greg will adhere to the wishes of his constituents constituents.

    We do not send people to montpelier Vermont that beg us to vote for them and then they vote their conscience.

    When they vote their conscience we have absolutely no idea what they are voting for.

    We have a chance in this primary to send decent representation both to washington DC and to montpelier Vermont.

    Please check out the candidates find out the truth and make wise choices before you put a check mark next to their name.

  2. So–“We” have a housing crisis? How many of the “homeless” are FROM Vermont or even lived here for a few years? This “pandemic” was open season for ALL types of scammers & once word got out on “social media” that we were paying for hotel/motel rooms the race was on. Now they’re here they qualify for “services” of ALL types, the “homeless” population has DOUBLED since word got out of Vt.’s largesse. Add to this the “New Americans” & our state PAYING (working) people $10,000 each to move here we wonder WHY the “housing crisis”? Maybe Guv Phil can/will import busloads of imports from Texas, Az, NM, & others rushing our border, we could have Vato Nights on Main St. & Lowrider Jumping Contests every weekend nights, just more of the “countless contributions” of which Scott is so proud..But..It WOULD improve our restaurant/culinary choices..

  3. The Dem/Prog agenda would not work unless they were helped by the Republicans. The GOP is stronger than the Dem/Prog side – even in a minority position. The GOP has not put up any fight National, State or Local to stop any of the Leftist agenda. None of this would be happening unless the GOP went along with it for their own personal gains. So, will the GOP clean up it’s own corrupted party or keep playing along in the evil corrupt game? They better decide quick because the summary judgement in the Court of Heaven was handed down. Their judgment is coming.

  4. It would be useful for Republicans and all other Vermonters to have Hungary’s President Orban speech as part of the discussion

    You can gain access to the video on u-tube by googling

    Hungary’s PM Viktor Orbán’s full Opening Speech at the 2022 CPAC Conference in Dallas, Texas

  5. It’s fortunate to have Messrs. Malloy and Mermel bidding to represent Vermonters in the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, only one of these gentlemen will move forward after the primary. Hopefully, the loser of the primary will find a way to continue representative involvement.

    And yes, ‘it’s the economy stupid’.

    I would like to have heard each candidate more strongly emphasize free-market economic solutions, as opposed to government incentives. Specifically, lowering the cost of government will concurrently make Vermont more competitive. But let the markets determine the business sectors that are best suited for Vermont. As it is now, 40% of Vermont’s workforce is employed by the significantly tax subsidized government, healthcare, and education sectors.

    If either of these gentlemen can de-emphasize public sector employment, not to mention the disincentives created by the Vermont social services these tax-subsidized employees administer, a lower cost of living and a lower cost of doing business here will follow. In that case, productive people and businesses will come to Vermont, the same way they’re choosing to move to Florida, Texas, Tennessee, South Dakota, and other free market states.

    But it is the free-market differentiation that best exposes the deficiencies of the democrat senate candidate one of these gentlemen will face, Peter Welsh. But I’ll reserve comment on Mr. Welch for when that time comes. In the meantime, I wish both Messrs. Malloy and Mermel the best in their campaigns. We are privileged to have them for consideration.

    • The way things are going, private citizens are going to be required to get a state license to buy a hammer. The state is afraid you might hurt yourself and they want to know who’s doing repair work at their house. They want to know about everything you’re doing in case they can collect a few more bucks to heal the planet, feed the unicorns and buy more fairy dust. Only the wokest of the woke would contemplate starting a business in Vermont. Go woke, go broke!

  6. Many Thanks to Paul Dane………..worth the watch/listen with the 9th coming right up next week!
    VOTE………our lives depend on it! Our Childrens/ Grands/Beyond depend on it……….

    • Anya is the only level-headed educated candidate who should move forward in this election.

      After listening to this wonderful woman speak she will do a wonderful job of representing vermonters in washington DC.

      She loves our constitution and does not believe in the slaughter of The unborn.

      She supports the second amendment and our constitutional rights

      Please get out and vote ANYA for the senate

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