Leahy and Jeffords differ on gubernatorial candidate support

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(Host) Vermont’s two U.S. senators agree on many policy and political issues. But they have parted company over who should be Vermont’s next governor.

VPR’s John Dillon has this report:

(Dillon) Independent Senator Jim Jeffords has campaigned for Democrats and has thrown his support behind Peter Welch, the Democratic candidate for Congress.

But Jeffords, who was a Republican for decades, is loyal to his old party when it comes to the governor’s race. He has donated to Governor Jim Douglas’ campaign and recently wrote him a letter of support.

The senator was out of state this week and not available for an interview. But in his letter to Douglas, Jeffords cited their long friendship, and their work together on issues such as the tire burn proposed by the International Paper Company in Ticonderoga, New York.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy has campaigned extensively for Peter Welch this fall. But he’s also tried to boost his party’s gubernatorial candidate as well.

(Leahy) “He’s my party’s nominee and I have worked with him forever. I think he’d make a very, very good governor.”

(Dillon) Leahy appeared with candidate Scudder Parker at toy factory in Barre. The plant uses scrap wood to fuel a wood-fired heating system. Leahy says it’s the type of project that Parker worked on when he directed the state’s energy efficiency office.

(Leahy) “Because I know Scudder Parker, because we have worked on these energy matters, and especially as energy is going to be one of the biggest issues affecting our state, for our children and grandchildren. I’m very comfortable endorsing Scudder Parker.”

(Dillon) Parker said the renewable energy sources will help close a gap in the state’s energy supply as contracts with Vermont Yankee and Hydro Quebec expire in the next decade.

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

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