BARRE - Scott Milne, the Vermont GOP-endorsed gubernatorial candidate, formally launched his campaign Wednesday with a one-two punch aimed at Gov. Peter Shumlin.
Milne promised not to vilify the governor's character, and then promptly walked into a backhanded attack on Shumlin's governing strategy.
"Bullying tactics are not respected where I come from," he said. "Leadership is defined by trust, not brazen displays of power."
Milne described the Shumlin administration as "ultra-progressive," "radical," "brazen" and "reckless," as he took swipes at the governor's health care, energy and economic policies.
The North Pomfret businessman portrayed himself as a moderate Republican, and he promised to run a low-budget, "contrarian" campaign of ideas that focuses on economic issues affecting the state, including affordable health care, high property tax rates and jobs.
"Our government should not take on unnecessary risks, particularly when we're spending money we don't have, raising taxes we can't afford, creating programs that have no proven likelihood of success, and if you agree with me, we want to end this era of unbridled experimentation with our government," Milne said in remarks to the media and a crowd of about 80 well-wishers, including fellow Republicans Rep. Tom Koch, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and Sen. Joe Benning, at the Aldrich Library in Barre.
Milne said he is compelled to run for governor because "(Shumlin) must answer for his unkept promises and his mistakes." He accused the Democratic governor of exacerbating the perception that Vermont is unfriendly to business, and he vowed to hold him accountable for the "long-term health of our economy."
Shumlin's "massive overhaul" of the state's health care system was Milne's main target. The candidate is concerned about how the state can move Vermont Health Connect forward in a way that's not "reckless" with people's money and keep their confidence "that we're going to have quality health care five to 10 years down the road."
Milne said he will issue a plan for dealing with the glitch-ridden health care exchange system in September.
Gov. Jim Douglas, who was on hand to introduce Milne as the "next governor of the great state of Vermont," told reporters that "incumbency is not a guarantee of success."