Shumlin wants to lead Democratic Governors Association, tells reporters he’s pro-vaccination
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.com March 29, 2012 Governor Peter Shumlin wants to head the Democratic Governors Association. Shumlin made the remarks in an interview with Politico.com, a Washington, D.C.-based news organization, on Wednesday. If the governor is selected for the post, he would replace Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. A new chairman of the Democratic Governors Association will be likely selected in December.
Governor Peter Shumlin. VTD/Josh Larkin
According to Politico, Shumlin told O’Malley about his plans at last month’s National Governors Association conference.
The association, which is dedicated to the election of Democratic candidates,represents the political interests of the 20 Democratic governors in the United States. Shumlin credits the DGA for funding his campaign against Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie after a financially draining five-way Democratic Party primary race.
Shumlin faces re-election in Vermont this November, but is favored to win over his Republican challenger, Randy Brock, a state senator who served a term as state auditor.
Politico.com asked Shumlin if his stance on a single-payer health care plan for Vermont would be seen as a liability if the Supreme Court strikes the Affordable Care Act, the national legislation that the governor plans to use as the foundation for health care reform.
“What’s right for Vermont may not be right for Missouri or California,” he replied. “The bottom line is . . . Congress is a disaster, Washington is paralyzed by the tea party influence and Democratic governors are getting things done for America. I’m willing and ready to serve.”
Is Shumlin’s candidacy for chair a step toward national office? Apparently not, according to Politico.com. Though the governor’s ambitions are hard to hide. The first-term governor was in office for less than a year when he was named chair of the New England Governors’ Conference.
If he is named chair of the Democratic Governors Association, Shumlin will be the third governor in a row to rise to national prominence. His predecessor, Gov. James Douglas was head of the National Governors Association, the Council of State Governments and the New England Governors’ Conference.
Perhaps most famously, Gov. Howard Dean, who ran for president in 2004, was chair of the National Democratic Party, chair of the National Governors Association and the Democratic Governors Association.
Shumlin wants compromise on vaccinations issue
Shumlin told reporters at his presser on Wednesday that he is strongly pro-vaccination, but he does “not believe it is the job of government to mandate to parents what they should do.” He said Vermont has “among the most lax laws” in the nation on vaccination (meaning among the easiest to take the no-vaccine route).
Shumlin told reporters he wants to “educate not mandate.” Asking legislators to work out compromise which would “strengthen the educational component for parents.” The plan would require physicians to sit down with reluctant parents “to dispel myths” and let them know why they should have their kids vaccinated. The parents (and maybe the doctors; this was unclear) would have to sign a document confirming that they had heard the doctor’s explanations and still did not want to have their kids vaccinated.
He acknowledged that Dr. Harry Chen had favored the Senate bill, saying, “Dr. Chen doesn’t see it exactly the way I see it … he has done everything he can to educate his governor.”
~ Jon Margolis