Shumlin to focus on energy in governor's race
10/07/09 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel  Download MP3
(Host) Senate President Peter Shumlin says he‘s planning a gubernatorial campaign that will make Vermont's energy future one of his top priorities.
Shumlin says he's convinced that a greater commitment to alternative energy sources will help create a lot of good paying jobs throughout the state in the coming years.
VPR's Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) For the past few months, Shumlin has been weighing the pros and cons of joining a very crowded Democratic gubernatorial field. The Windham County senator has been traveling around the state and he says he's encouraged by the support that he's received.
Shumlin says rebuilding Vermont's economy and developing a long term comprehensive energy plan will be his top priority and he says these two issues are linked together:
(Shumlin) "I think that energy is the central issue in the campaign. Let's face it - the administration's position on energy has been ‘let's always do what we've always done because what we've always done is what we should always do'. And I think the job creation throughout the world economy is going to come from a huge economic boom as we move off of our addiction to oil and move to renewable energy technologies. So clearly Vermont's energy future and a visionary view of that is going to be central to this campaign."
(Kinzel) Shumlin will become the fourth Democratic candidate to jump into the governor's race - the others are Secretary of State Deb Markowitz and state senators Doug Racine and Susan Bartlett.
While political parties usually try to avoid hotly contested primary elections, Shumlin says it could be a good thing for the Democrats in 2010:
(Shumlin) "We have an opportunity to articulate to Vermonters over the next many months what our vision is for Vermont, and what kind of leadership we would bring to the job if we're hired for this job. So - assuming that we really focus on the issues, which I intend to do, and that no one goes after each other, which would be a tremendous mistake... I think that anybody that does that loses - I think it'll be a very positive debate about the future of this state."
(Kinzel) Shumlin says he'll make a formal announcement about his future political plans in several weeks.
The Democratic field could grow even larger in the coming weeks because former state senator Matt Dunne is seriously looking at becoming a candidate.
For VPR News I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.