(Host) Rutland attorney Bill Meub is seeking the Republican nomination for Vermont’s seat in the U.S. House. Meub, who announced his candidacy Tuesday, hopes to run against incumbent Congressman Bernard Sanders.
VPR’s Nina Keck reports.
(Keck) Vermonters may remember Bill Meub from two years ago, when he ran unsuccessfully against Ruth Dwyer in the Republican gubernatorial primary. In that race, Meub campaigned as a moderate running against an extremist. This time around, against Bernie Sanders, Meub’s campaign mantra isn’t all that different.
(Meub) "I see Bernie as being extreme and I see myself as being mainstream."
(Keck) One of Meub’s biggest obstacles will likely be name recognition Â– especially with an opponent like Bernie Sanders:
(Meub) "’Bernie’ in Vermont is Bernie Sanders. That says an awful lot. But… he’s been saying the same message for 12 years. You hear about the multi-national corporations how many times? He is a socialist. He believes in his issues and wants to argue on them. In the ’90s it may have been okay to talk about different issues and being a voice of the outside. We do need somebody now that’s on the inside that can play."
(Keck) Meub says this is especially true following the events of September 11. He says over the past ten years, Bernie Sanders has repeatedly called for major cuts in military and intelligence spending Â– something Meub calls irresponsible.
Sanders makes no apologies for his voting record. He says eight to ten years ago, he did think it was appropriate to ask for significant cuts in military spending:
(Sanders) "With the end of the cold war, in my view the military budget was too big…. Obviously September 11 has changed things and we want to make sure that we have a strong and effective military."
(Keck) Bill Meub is a strong proponent of school choice and teacher testing. He supports a women’s right to choose, but opposes partial birth abortions and says he would consider mandating parental notification for minors seeking abortions. And while Meub believes broader health care coverage is needed, he says it should come from the private sector not the government. Meub says helping the private sector succeed is the best way to improve the standard of living in Vermont:
(Meub) "This state needs to recognize that it has an economic climate Â– despite what everybody says Â– that is not conducive to business. Now that doesn’t mean we give up on environment, it doesn’t mean anything. But we need to ask ourselves why are 42% of our children growing up in poor economic conditions."
(Keck) Bernie Sanders says he’s been fighting for low-income Vermonters for years and he says his constituents know that. Sanders says voters today are increasingly turned off by the power special interest groups hold over the Republican and Democratic parties. He says being an independent frees him to stand up and speak out on any issue.
Rutland attorney Bill Meub says speaking out is one thing but getting things done is another.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.
(Host) Bill Meub will face Royalton lawyer Karen Kerin in the September primary.