Pollina Closer to Running for Gov

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(Host) Progressive Anthony Pollina is moving closer to becoming a candidate for Governor in 2008.

Pollina plans to hold a series of meetings around the state in mid October to gauge support for a gubernatorial bid. If there’s strong grassroots support – it’s likely that he’ll run.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) There’s no question that many members of the Progressive Party want Pollina to run against incumbent Republican governor Jim Douglas next year.

Progressive leaders say the Democrats have failed to challenge the governor on many key issues facing the state and that the time has come to offer Vermont voters a clear alternative to the policies of the Douglas Administration.

Pollina is strongly considering entering this race. Before he does, he says he wants to measure support for an agenda that would include health care reform, property tax reform, new energy policies and adopting new initiatives to make higher education more affordable:

(Pollina) "There’s a lot of encouragement to take on the race but to do it right is also going to take a lot of energy. Jim Douglas will have all the money he needs. He’s been in elected office most of his adult life. We would be taking on a serious challenge and we need to make sure that the folks who are saying they’d like to see a serious challenge to Douglas are actually willing to step up and put energy in the race as well."

(Kinzel) If the grassroots support is there, Pollina says he’s up the challenge of running for governor:

(Pollina) "It’s certainly something that I would not be afraid to take on because I think challenges need to be taken on if we’re going to move forward and with the encouragement I’m getting it’s certainly something that I’m continuing to look at."

(Kinzel) At this time, the only Democrat who acknowledges any interest in this race is former state senator Matt Dunne. Dunne ran unsuccessfully for Lt. Governor in 2006.

Dunne says he expects to seriously review his political options in November and he says he won’t be influenced by what Pollina does.

(Dunne)"I’ve always made decisions about my next steps in politics based on what I hear from voters and the opportunity to make change happen in a way that would be good for Vermont and I don’t usually take into account other people who are also saying that they might run for an office or are running for an office."

(Kinzel) The Progressives are hoping that, if Pollina enters the race, the Democrats will decide not to field a strong candidate – this would effectively put Pollina in a head-to-head contest with Douglas. The problem is – the Democrats are expressing the same thoughts about the Progressives.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

AP Photo/Toby Talbot

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