Democratic Lt. Gov nominees look for last minute support

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(Host) The race to select a Democratic Lt. Governor nominee is one of the few statewide contests on next Tuesday’s election ballot.

Former Brattleboro Rep. Tom Costello and Northfield businessman Nate Freeman are searching for last minute support in their effort to defeat incumbent Republican Lt. Governor Brian Dubie in the November election.

VPRs Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) For the most part this race has been a low key affair and voter turnout isn’t expected to be very high.

The two candidates, Tom Costello and Nate Freeman do agree on a number of issues. They both feel incumbent Republican Lt. Governor Brian Dubie has failed to provide effective leadership on many key issues and they both want to carefully scrutinize the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant before the facilty is re-licensed for another 20 years.

However, they disagree on the need to strengthen Vermont’s sex offender laws.

Costello served as the chairman of the House Judiciary committee in the early 1990s. Speaking on VPRs Vermont Edition, Costello says he supports a package of reforms that include longer mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of sexually assaulting a child:

(Costello) "There should be mandatory minimums for certain aggravated sex crimes on children secondly there should be an opportunity for civil confinements thirdly there should be funding for special prosecutory units these steps are important to protect our children and I fully support them."

Freeman opposes this plan because he says there’s no proof that it’s been successful in any state and he noted that several Vermont crime victim organizations don’t support longer mandatory minimum sentences:

(Freeman) "These are the people that we need to talk to to understand what are the best methods in terms of a 25 year minimum it’s my understanding that that will drag kids into the courtroom and it will actually be less successful in getting sex offenders off the street than our current law."

Costello says one of the main reasons that he’s running is because of his concern about the condition of the state’s economy:

(Costello) "I have never seen Vermonters in such a state of anxiety, worry, hopelessness and helplessness disappointment at their futures."

Freeman says he decided to run because he feels it’s time for Vermont to enact bold solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing the state:

(Freeman) "The race is less between candidates at any level and much more so a race against time we have very pressing issues that we need to work on and the political back and forth that we read almost as if it was a soap opera every day that is not helping any Vermonter here in the state of Vermont."

The race for the Democratic U.S. House nomination is the other statewide contest next Tuesday.

Incumbent Congressman Peter Welch is facing a challenge from former Green Party candidate Craig Hill of Montpelier.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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