Dunne steps up criticism of Dubie

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(Host) Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Matt Dunne has stepped up his criticism of incumbent Republican Brian Dubie.

Dunne says voters deserve a full-time lieutenant governor. And the challenger got support today from Howard Dean, the Democratic National Committee chairman.

But Dubie released his daily calendar, and says the record shows that he’s worked hard for Vermonters.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Sounds of leaf raking)

(Dillon) Young volunteers for Dunne’s campaign raked leaves in a small city park in Burlington.

The work was part of Dunne’s brand of “service politics.” The Windsor Democrat has organized volunteers to work at food pantries, clothing swaps, and other projects.

Howard Dean, who served as lieutenant governor from 1987 to 1991, says the effort is a way for people in politics to give back to the community.

(Dean) “These are the kinds of things that ordinary Vermonters relate to, and politics means something.”

(Dillon) Dean says Dunne is in step with voters with his views on Iraq and his pro-choice position on abortion.

(Dean) “There are fundamental differences between these candidates. And I think when you choose a lieutenant governor, you shouldn’t just think that you’re choosing a down-ballot office which is very important and I care about, you should also think that you may be choosing the next governor of the state of Vermont.”

(Dillon) Dean held the lieutenant governor’s job from 1987 to 1991, when he became governor when Richard Snelling died.

The job has only two official duties – to preside over the Senate when the Legislature is in session, and to fill in for the governor when necessary.

Dunne has campaigned to make the position more than that. He says he wants to be a full-time lieutenant governor, and he implies that Dubie doesn’t do enough to earn the $61,000 annual salary.

(Dunne) “I am saying that for $61,000 a year I believe Vermonters expect someone who’s going to be working fulltime on their behalf. Brian Dubie has had four years to show what he believes is the kind of commitment to the lieutenant governor’s office. I am offering an alternative.”

(Dillon) This week, Dubie released his schedule that shows a mix of official meetings and private appointments. Some days are blank. But his staff said the calendar does not show time spent preparing speeches, in unscheduled meetings, and on work at home.

Dubie says he works as an airline pilot one weekend a month when lawmakers are in session, and two weekends a month when the legislature is adjourned. He says he’s always on call as lieutenant governor.

(Dubie) “Although I have other responsibilities, the job never ends.”

(Dillon) Dubie says he stays in touch with constituents by email and cell phone, and that he’s used his office to focus on energy, agriculture and trade issues.

(Dubie) “You know, it’s a little disconcerting to me that someone would make a charge, make an allegation, and not have the facts to back it up, and then ask me to show me to show my schedule before he has any back up for his allegation and to make an accusation that is really not grounded in any reality.”

(Dillon) Dubie says one of his role models as lieutenant governor is Howard Dean, who maintained a medical practice while serving in the part-time political position.

Dean says he had to work outside the lieutenant governor’s office, because at that time the job only paid $31,000 a year.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Burlington.

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