Trailing Scott in polls, Zuckerman outlines policy proposals and priorities

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From the Statehouse steps, Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman laid out his economic relief plan should he be elected to be Vermont’s next governor.

“If we’re smart, if we have a shared vision and we take bold actions, we can emerge from this pandemic with an economy that is stronger, pays better wages, and is more sustainable,” Zuckerman said Wednesday.

Zuckerman wants a new approach to expanding broadband which has become even more of an essential tool this year. He said he would also treat childcare like unemployment insurance and require employers to pay 10 cents per hour per employee to go into a statewide fund.

His top priority, he said, is to raise Vermont’s minimum wage, which he notes the legislature has approved twice only to have the bills vetoed by Gov. Phil Scott.

“Our goal is wages for working people that give them the dignity and honor of their work, and pay for their basic needs,” Zuckerman said.

His other main initiative is addressing the demand for affordable housing by repurposing vacant retail spaces and not diverting funds to other programs.

“Half of all Vermont renters are paying more than 30% of their income for rent and a quarter are paying 50% or more, “said Helen Head, who’s on the board of the Champlain Housing Trust.

A new poll by VPR and Vermont PBS shows that Scott has a 2 to 1 lead over Zuckerman with 55% of Vermonters supporting the incumbent Republican and 24% with plans to support the progressive/democratic candidate. 16% of voters remain undecided.

Scott responded to the poll’s results by saying he’s not taking the large lead for granted.

“While you might be the hero this week, you might be the villain next week and perception changes,” he said. “It’s good information to have, but at the same time you need to focus on what you’re doing and doing it for the right reasons.”

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