MANCHESTER -- IT WAS THE STUDENTS' TURN TO ASK QUESTIONS ON FRIDAY AT BURR AND BURTON ACADEMY, AND THEY WERE PREPARED.
The students asked Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, the Republican candidate for governor, about education policy, affordable housing and whether he thinks Donald Trump's recent statements will hurt him in his race against Democratic nominee Sue Minter.
"It could have an effect," Scott said during a student assembly when asked by a student about Trump's behavior.
"There's a tremendous level of frustration, both here in Vermont and across the nation, in terms of politics. We have this growing lack of faith and trust in government and our leaders," Scott said. "We have to act appropriately in our own back yard and prove that we can do better, that we can become public servants, not politicians."
"Do what's right at the election. Do what's right for your constituency. Do what's right for your constituents regardless of whether they voted for you or not," he added. "I think that we can act appropriately ... we can turn this around and restore trust in our leaders."
Scott said he has been consistent over the past year in declining to support the real estate magnate and reality TV star's candidacy. He said he would write in another candidate for president when he votes.
Scott's visit to BBA started with a tour of campus, followed by an assembly in the gymnasium with a brief speech and student questions, and a one-on-one interview session in the Riley Center theater, with BBA cinematography program students running the show.
In the one-on-one, Miles Glazer, 17, a senior from West Pawlet, posed the questions, while Jillian Santos, 16, a junior from Dorset, handled the camera and senior Noah Armitage, 16, of Whitehead, N.Y., managed the sound.
"I'm excited. This is something that I'm very interested in," Glazer said before sitting down with Scott.
Glazer asked Scott about his plans for Vermont's healthcare system, his views of Act 46 and, if elected, how he might find common ground with a largely Democratic legislature as a Republican governor.
"I believer if you set priorities and get people together, we can all agree," Scott said. "I've reached across the aisle my whole political life, and I believe if you reach out, they will reach back."
Scott's address focused on education as an economic engine for the state. He said he wants to invest in early childhood programs and reduce the cost of K-12 education while building flexibility into Act 46 to maintain or expand school choice. He said early childhood services need to be more widely avaialble, more comprehensive and more affordable, while adminstrative costs for K-12 schools need to be reduced.
"Lowering the operational and overhead costs of the public education system is the only way to get property taxes under control," he said.