(Host) Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie will visit Cuba next week. Dubie will be traveling with his chief of staff, Martha Hanson, and Essex High School principal Armando Vilaseca – who grew up in Cuba.
Dubie says the trip’s objectives are to build personal and economic relationships between Vermont and the Caribbean island nation.
(Dubie) “We’re going under a program passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Bush, that allows agricultural products to be able to ship to Cuba. And if Vermont farmers can help feed Cuban children, well that’s a wonderful thing. So, I don’t want to put the pressure on us that we’re going down and we’ll walk home with some deal, but we’re going to build a relationship.”
(Host) Dubie says there shouldn’t be any questions about who is paying for his travel on this trip:
(Dubie) “The taxpayers of the State of Vermont are not going to pay a nickel for this trip. We’re all going to pay for this trip out of our own paychecks. And we’re going to go down and make some friends and the trip’s about building a relationship and the taxpayers of Vermont, you know, aren’t going to pay for this trip. But we feel very strongly it’s the right thing to do.”
(Host) The lieutenant governor’s trip to the Far East last year raised questions because it was funded partly by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Taiwanese government.