BURLINGTON - Fat checks from private companies and wealthy individuals don't belong in Vermont elections, lieutenant governor candidate Dean Corren said Thursday at a downtown news conference.
Corren, who is seeking to represent the Democratic and Progressive parties in the race against incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott this fall, called for the public financing of all elections in Vermont.
Corren said public financing would make politicians more honest.
Corren said his message is not an attack on Scott. In general, corporations and PACs donate because it behooves them, he said. Corren has qualified for up to $200,000 in public campaign funding, while Scott does not support the use of public money in elections.
"You have to believe who is paying the piper is calling the tunes," Corren said.
Corren is the first candidate to qualify for public financing since Progressive Steve Hingtgen ran for the same seat in the 2004 election cycle, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
To qualify for financing in the lieutenant governor's race, a candidate must raise at least $17,500 from no fewer than 750 individual contributions of no more than $50 each. Corren raised $19,000.
Scott says he plans to set his own fundraising goal this year to match Corren's $200,000.
Corren was a four-term state representative in the 1990s and a former aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. He's now employed as an energy scientist working on underwater hydropower for a firm based in New York state.