WATERBURY -- A candidate for governor on the November ballot as a Libertarian said Thursday that he is mounting a write-in campaign for the Republican line as well as a way to force incumbent Democrat Peter Shumlin to defend his policies and to spark a debate about those issues before the election.
The candidate, Dan Feliciano, laid out five issues he said he’d focus on during his campaign: the economy, spending, property tax increases, energy and "the need to defend our liberties."
"The other announced candidates clearly have little or no idea about where the incumbent governor has gone wrong, or just what they would do to guide Vermont to a better future," Feliciano said at a park in downtown Waterbury.
Feliciano also called for an end of the state’s movement toward a single-payer health care system. He said he’d open up the health care marketplace established under President Barack Obama’s landmark law to more insurance providers.
"It’s just a carnival of incompetence that’s taken place here," Feliciano said.
Feliciano launched his write-in campaign less than a month before Vermont’s Aug. 26 primary. Republican businessman Scott Milne of Pomfret is considered the party’s favorite in this year’s primary against two other candidates who do not have the backing of the GOP establishment. Shumlin also faces a little-known primary challenger.
State GOP chairman David Sunderland said Vermont Republicans need to know Libertarians support radical policies such as amnesty for some people convicted of drug crimes. "There’s a very big difference between Republicans in Vermont and Libertarians in Vermont," he said.
Feliciano said that while he is a Libertarian, he doesn’t support all the party’s platforms. He said he does not support amnesty for nonviolent drug offenders but that he does support the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana.
"I am not for amnesty. Let’s be very clear about that: I’ve never said I’m going to release the felons," Feliciano said.