Candidates for Vermont's top jobs talk about the issues - Rights and Democracy

Candidates for Vermont's top jobs talk about the issues

WPTZ | December 6, 2015 | Report by Hannah McDonald

Rights & Democracy organized weekend panel

BURLINGTON, Vt. —Four candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor talked about everything from the Black Lives Matter movement to minimum wage laws at a panel organized by Rights & Democracy. 

During the one hour panel, candidates for governor Matt Dunne and Bruce Lisman along with candidates for lieutenant governor Kesha Ram and Dave Zuckerman answered five questions.

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Livable wages and the feasibility of upping Vermont's minimum wage to $15 was up for debate. 

"We need to get to a living wage in this state in order to do right by the people who are living and working here," said democrat Matt Dunne.

"Nobody who works full time should live in poverty we can all agree on that, and at the same time the average Vermont makes $12/hour the average cost to afford a two-bedroom apartment is $19," said democrat Kesha Ram. 

Higher education was also talked about at forum. Vermont's public colleges are statistically the most tuition-dependent in the country. 

"It's a great perversion of our resources that we would spend so much on those who are incarcerated $130 million and a fraction of that to both the state college system and the University of Vermont," said republican Bruce Lisman.

One question was centered around Wednesday's demonstration at a St. Albans school where some activists said minority students were suspended more often than their peers.

"A huge piece of this is training and educating the administrations and guidance counselors in these schools to really investigate deeper before rapidly creating a punishment," said progressive democrat Dave Zuckerman.

Candidates also got a chance to explain how they'd balance a needs-based budget and shared their opinion on the climate talks in Paris.

Rights & Democracy invited candidates from all of the major parties in both the gubernatorial and Lt. Governor's race.

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