Republican gubernatorial challenger Randy Brock says Gov. Peter Shumlin has spent too much time away from Montpelier.
But Shumlin’s campaign says many of those trips were for official business.
Brock asked for the governor’s travel records and came to a campaign news conference armed with numbers. He says Lt. Gov. Phil Scott served as acting governor a total of 119 days during Shumlin’s first 21 months in office.
"I think it would strike anyone as being unusually high," Brock says. "And it’s not that you want to micromanage the governor’s time. We don’t. I don’t think that’s appropriate. But I do think it’s appropriate to look at the amount of time spent, and in particular in some cases, the type of time spent as to whether or not it makes sense. And that’s for Vermonters to decide."
According to Brock, many of Shumlin’s trips were for political fundraisers or to attend meetings of the Democratic Governor’s Association.
"He doesn’t have three hours to drive to Bennington for a debate yet he has three days to fly to California for a fundraiser?" Brock says. "Let me be clear, I’m running to be Vermont’s next governor. I’m not seeking a future in Washington, nor as head of my party’s governor’s association."
Shumlin campaign manager Alex McLean says 44 days of the governor’s 119 days away were for trips on official business. The rest were either for personal time off, fundraising, or involved the Democratic Governor’s Association.
McLean says the governor’s trips out of state were often to meet with business leaders to pitch the state as an attractive place to do business.
"What Randy Brock is attacking the governor here is for traveling to IBM’s New York facility to ensure that our Essex plant stays strong, for speaking with EB-5 investors to encourage them to invest and create jobs in the Northeast Kingdom, and for traveling to Quebec to secure stable and affordable energy sources for Vermonters."
McLean says the governor is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And she says the time away cited by Brock includes weekends when Shumlin was out of state and Lt. Gov. Phil Scott was notified.
McLean says the governor has taken two and a half weeks of vacation a year.