Brock Slams Shumlin Over Upcoming Irene Tour
08/17/12 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel
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Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock says Governor Peter Shumlin's upcoming 4 day, 22 town tour of communities hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene has all the appearances of a political junket that Brock says "is in bad taste."
Shumlin's 4 day tour is part of the governor's initiative to mark the first year anniversary of tropical storm Irene.
In a press release, the governor said it was an opportunity "to celebrate how far Vermont has come in recovering from Irene and acknowledge the work still needed to fully recover and build Vermont back stronger."
The tour will begin on Saturday, August 25, and will take the governor to four regions of the state that suffered enormous damage.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock thinks Shumlin is inappropriately mixing politics with the Irene recovery effort.
"This tour has all the makings of a campaign junket and it just doesn't look right, it doesn't feel right," said Brock. "This Irene was a terrible event for Vermont and for Vermonters, it's one that we should remember it's not one that we should necessarily commemorate."
And Brock questions the governor's motivation for this Irene anniversary tour.
"Vermonters did extremely well in terms of their outpouring of support and help and the spontaneous things that we did for our neighbors and recognizing that is one thing," said Brock. "But a 22 town tour that has all of the appearance of a taxpayer funded political junket I think is in very bad taste."
At his press conference this week, Shumlin was asked about concerns that the Irene tour might look like a political event. He said he was doing his job as governor.
"My job as Governor is to ensure that I do everything possible to get Vermont back on its feet after what is undeniably the worst storm that's ever hit the state and I'm going to do everything in my power to do that," said Shumlin. "If people want to criticize me for it so be it but I'm going to do the job that I was elected to do and I think this is certainly part of my job."
In the past few weeks, Brock has also criticized Shumlin's handling of the effort to rebuild the Waterbury State Office Complex after it was flooded by Irene.
Other members of the Administration responded to the charges but not Shumlin because he doesn't feel the campaign should officially begin until just after Labor Day.
"My point is a simple one," said Shumlin. "If we want to preserve the two year term in Vermont which I do, it's very important in my view that the campaigns be a reasonable period of time where a governor focuses both on doing the job and running for re-election. That time is not now."
Shumlin says there will be numerous campaign debates this fall where Randy Brock will have the opportunity to raise any of these issues.