Candidates for Democratic lieutenant governor of Vermont debate climate issues

Several advocacy groups are hosting a series of debates with Vermont candidates focused on climate issues. The series kicked off with four official nominees for lieutenant governor.

The 90-minute virtual forum was organized by Renewable Energy Vermont, Rights and Democracy, the Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club, Vermont Conservation Voters, and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group Research and Education Fund.

The host said all qualified candidates were invited but only Democrats participated. Each nominee highlighted their Vermont roots and connection to the land.

Charlie Kimbell served as a member of the legislature’s rural caucus and during his six years at Vermont House focused on workforce development.

“I really think a practical solution to how we’re going to address some of our biggest challenges and reduce our greenhouse gases is to have a workforce that’s willing to weather our homes. as well as expanding broadband. Maintaining rural Vermont’s active involvement in a growing sustainable economy is one of the key issues in protecting our climate and environment in the State of Vermont.

Patricia Preston is the executive director of the Vermont Council on World Affairs and the only Democratic candidate not elected to the Statehouse. She said it’s crucial that the state’s environmental policy creates a just and sustainable future for Vermonters.

“I will advocate to make childcare and housing more affordable, increase renewable energy generation, and strengthen our rural communities by expanding access to high-speed internet. Although there are obvious obstacles ahead of us, change is possible. »

Kitty Toll noted that she served in the legislature for 12 years during which she pushed through the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act through the appropriations committee. Asked how the state can alleviate the climate crisis, Toll said it starts with educating children.

“So that children experience and understand what is happening to the environment, but also that they understand the goodness of renewable energy resources and the little things they can do within their own families. So our schools are going to be a vital part of that, along with the government leading the charge to do the work that we need.

David Zuckerman is an organic farmer who served as lieutenant governor from 2017 to 2021, leaving the post to run unsuccessfully for governor. He countered that young people in Vermont are well aware of the climate crisis.

“It is our job to act to bring about the necessary changes. Further, without addressing the economic injustice and inequalities that exist in our society, people lack the resources to make the necessary investments in their own lives around the environment. So we need to combine the reality of our climate justice issues with our economic injustice and social injustice issues. And if we don’t combine them, we won’t succeed.

Topics candidates were quizzed on included the urgency of the climate crisis, how to tackle transport emissions, accessibility to solar, bio-energy and wind power, and limiting access for lobbyists fossil fuels in Montpellier.

Each candidate answered the questions and there were no rebuttals.

Republicans Joe Benning and Gregory Thayer are also candidates.

Teresa H. Sadler