Saturday October 20, 2012

The race for Vermont treasurer is between incumbent Beth Pearce, a Democrat who was appointed by Governor Peter Shumlin last year to fill a vacancy, and Rutland City Treasurer Wendy Wilton, a Republican.

Both women have shown themselves to be competent for such a position. Ms. Pearce has more than 30 years experience in government in New England and New York and was deputy Vermont treasurer for seven years before being appointed to replace Treasurer Jeb Spaulding, who left to become Secretary of Administration under Governor Shumlin.

Ms. Wilton has compiled a solid record by playing a major role in bringing severe budget deficits and other problems under control in Rutland.

The major difference is that Ms. Wilton has left no doubt she would act as something of a watchdog and provide comment on current and potential budgetary problems within state government, and on the proposals of the Democratic administration -- such as on the status of the state pension system and the fiscal ramifications of the governor's efforts to create a single-payer health insurance system in Vermont.

It isn't that these aspects of government and administration proposals should not be questioned, but the office of treasurer is not where that comment and criticism should originate. The office should be non-partisan to as great a degree as is possible.

In fact, Ms. Pearce has stressed that she always has operated in that manner and, in fact, worked under the administration of former Governor James Douglas, a Republican.


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She should be elected to a full term in the post on Nov. 6.

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In contrast, the office of State Auditor does call for something of a watchdog. The person most likely to provide that with a government likely dominated by Democrats -- and in his usual no-nonsense, high-profile style -- is 16-term state Senator Vince Illuzzi, a Republican.

Democratic/Progessive candidate Doug Hoffer, who lost a close race against incumbent Thomas Salmon -- who is not seeking re-election -- two years ago, would also make a good state auditor. He is well qualified having been a self-employed policy analyst for two decades and for several years under worked contract with the state auditor's office.

However, in this case, we believe someone who can point out potential problems but who has never seemed a strict partisan in the Legislature would be the best candidate.

That would be Mr. Illuzzi.