MONTPELIER, Vt.- Conservative commentator and Brookfield attorney John Klar was greeted by a few dozen supporters on the Statehouse steps Monday as he announced his bid for governor of Vermont.
Klar said he will run as a Republican. He promised to reverse Vermont’s “swollen tax and regulatory burden” and address the state’s multi-billion-dollar pension deficit.
“The government has grown like a bloated tick off the blood of working Vermonters,” he said. “It’s time to pop it – make sure we get the head out.”
Klar says he’s been a farmer for 20 years. “Farmers get hard work done,” he said, referring to his plans to address to the opioid crisis.
“Rather than just deal with people one on one, I want to do more to help everyone and get more people involved,” he said. “We cannot wait for government to solve that problem.”
Klar vows to repeal and replace Act 46, Vermont’s controversial school consolidation law, saying: “We owe it to our teachers, our students and to each other as neighbors and fellow Vermonters to not find the things that divide us.” He’s alo been critical of Act 250, which governs land development in Vermont.
Klar took some shots at Gov. Phil Scott, who survived a 2018 primary challenge from Keith Stern before beating Democrat Christine Hallquist in November. Halfway through his second-term, Scott has yet to announce his plans for 2020.
Klar said he voted twice for Scott, but now, “He cannot be trusted to keep his word,” he said. “He’s now more than a lame duck because he can’t override a veto. We’ve lost our party, we’ve retaken our party.”
Klar said he did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016, and he replied “no comment” when asked by reporters whether he supported the president, who is being threatened with impeachment by House Democrats.
Klar says next year’s election is not about him, Scott or Trump.
“It terrifies me that our entire nation and our whole state is going to decide all of these issues and let the tick belly grow because of Donald Trump,” he said.
Former education secretary Rebecca Holcombe has announced she will seek the Democratis nomination in 2020. Party spokesperson Christopher Di Mezzo attended Klar’s announcement and later issued a statement.
“Mr. Klar and his divisive, close-minded, and downright disgusting rhetoric has no place in our public discourse,” he said. “His voice is not one to be celebrated, rather, his place in our politics should be scrutinized from every angle.”