Democrat John Bauer kicked off a run for lieutenant governor Monday that he said will focus on economic equality, more investment in Vermont businesses and campaign finance reform.
Bauer, who was endorsed by the state Democratic Party over the weekend, told reporters at the Statehouse that he would not accept corporate donations and intends to qualify for public campaign funding.
To do that, Bauer would need to raise at least $17,500 from 750 Vermonters in amounts of $50 or less by mid-June. That would entitle him to receive $50,000 for the primary election period and $150,000 for the general election, according to the Secretary of State's 2014 election guide.
"Money in politics is a like a snake wrapped around our democracy," Bauer said. "It's growing and it's squeezing ever tighter. Public financing is a way for us to loosen that grip to make a change to make publicly elected officials elected using public money. Because of what's happened in two (U.S. Supreme Court cases) we now have corporate financing of candidates."
Bauer joins former Progressive lawmaker Dean Corren of Burlington as announced candidates for the state's No. 2 job. Incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott is expected to seek re-election.
Bauer, 57, of Jeffersonville said he believes the state should create ways for Vermonters to invest within its borders.
He proposed the creation of a state-run retirement fund similar to an IRA or the popular college savings plan in which non-union, hourly workers could contribute money that would be invested in local communities. He suggested the funds could be managed by Vermont banks and credit unions and could offer various risk levels for investors. He said Vermonters should benefit from the same strategies that are enriching Wall Street investors.
Bauer also said he agrees with fellow Democrat Gov. Peter Shumlin's push toward a single-payer health care system and other policy issues, but has not yet reached out to the governor for an endorsement.