MONTPELIER -- A Republican lawmaker from Stowe said Wednesday she’s considering a bid to unseat two-term incumbent Gov. Peter Shumlin.
Rep. Heidi Scheuermann said she has been talking to supporters around the state and doing what she termed due diligence on a possible run against the Democratic governor.
"Certainly it’s still in the exploratory phase ... I don’t want to give myself a deadline right now" for making a decision, Scheuermann told The Associated Press in an interview. She said she had not formed a formal campaign committee or filed papers with the secretary of state’s office.
The election is more than seven months away. Former state Auditor of Accounts Randy Brock lost to Shumlin in 2012 after declaring his candidacy in December of 2011 -- 11 months before the election.
Brock, a former state senator, also has said he is considering a rematch against Shumlin in 2014. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Scheuermann, 42, is co-owner of an apartment complex in Stowe and manages three others, she said. If she were to mount a campaign, Scheuermann said her three major issues would be what she called a still-tepid economic recovery in Vermont; opposition to Shumlin’s plan to launch a universal, state-backed health care system in 2017 and rapid increases in education spending and the property taxes that pay for it.
On the economy, Scheuermann said Vermont needs to use public loan programs and other measures to boost both its traditional industries and newer, technology-based companies.
Shumlin has staunchly defended his economic record, saying Vermont has added 11,000 jobs since he took office in January of 2011 and that its 4 percent unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country.
Scheuermann (pronounced "Sherman") sharply criticized Shumlin for his failure to date to detail what sort of health benefits will be offered under the universal system he wants to launch in three years and how the system will be financed. Under a law passed in 2011, the Shumlin administration was to recommend a financing plan by January of 2013.
"It is unbelievable still to me that we don’t yet have a proposal from the governor on funding," Scheuermann said "We don’t even have ideas, or a variety of proposals to work from."
Louis Porter, Shumlin’s secretary of civil and military affairs, said the administration did not wish to respond to Scheuermann’s remarks Wednesday.
Scheuermann also reiterated her longstanding criticisms of Vermont’s school funding system, saying it has left local voters who pass school budgets too detached from the effects of their decisions on the statewide school property tax and funding system.
She called the more than $1 million Shumlin had in his campaign account as of a report earlier this month "daunting," but added that she thinks he is "beatable if there is the right candidate with a real positive message about Vermont and the future of Vermont."