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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Paid sick leave?

When the five Democratic gubernatorial candidates met last Thursday for a forum before the Vermont Grocers and Retail associations, moderator Chris Graff laid out the landscape this way: The typical person in the audience is Republican or independent, has voted for retiring Republican Gov. Douglas at least once, and feels worse off economically than the year before.

With that said, one of the questions Graff posed to the candidates was whether they support a bill that would mandate paid sick leave, an issue that would surely be of concern for this crowd of store owners.

Secretary of State Deb Markowitz answered first and said she would “be inclined to support additional protections for families.”

Sen. Doug Racine said, “Vermonters who are working ought to have sick leave,” but added, “The question is is this practical.”

Former Sen. Matt Dunne said he would have to look more closely at the problem and base the solution on that.

When it came to be Sen. Susan Bartlett’s turn to speak, she said, “I don’t believe this is the appropriate time to ask you to pay for more.” That drew hearty applause from the crowd.

The last candidate to speak, Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin, said simply, “I agree” and sat down.

— Terri Hallenbeck


Dunne doesn't have solutions to anything
The whole group of 5 are just grandstanding.
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