Governor’s Vacation During Storm Draws Questions

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(Host) While Vermonters dig out from a record-breaking snowstorm, Governor Peter Shumlin was vacationing out of state.

But as VPR’s John Dillon reports, just where the governor went remains a mystery.

(Dillon) Governor Shumlin is monitoring storm developments by phone. His spokeswoman Sue Allen says he’s participated in conference calls to track the clean up efforts.

Allen said Shumlin was focused on two main issues: power outages and the threat of flooding in southern Vermont, and heavy snow in the north.

(Allen) "He has been in contact all day today, off and on with the commissioner of public safety, Keith Flynn, with emergency management personnel, with the department of transportation about the road clearing issues, with the agriculture department to keep track of how the storm is impacting the farms."

(Dillon) Allen says Shumlin has also been in touch with Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, who acts as governor in Shumlin’s absence. With driving treacherous, Scott made the call to close most state offices on Monday.

But Shumlin’s absence became political fodder for the state Republican Party. The G-O-P issued a news release headlined: "Where is Governor Shumlin?" Spokeswoman Allen said the governor is enjoying a few days of well-earned vacation.

(Allen) "Like any private citizen he’s entitled to a vacation. We’re respecting his privacy in terms of not disclosing where he’s taking that vacation, other than to say it is out of state."

(Dillon) Allen would not say whether the governor’s vacation spot was warmer and drier than Vermont. Shumlin will be back in the state Tuesday afternoon.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier

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