Racine to run for Governor in 2010

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(Host) The campaign season is barely over but some Vermont Democrats are already preparing to run for governor in 2010.

Chittenden Senator Doug Racine says he’s a candidate. Racine is starting early to line up support.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Racine is a former lieutenant governor and Senate president. When the governor’s job was open in 2002, Racine ran against Republican Jim Douglas in 2002, and lost. Douglas went on to win re-election three times.

Racine said he’s making his intentions known now because Democrats waited too long last year to select a candidate.

(Racine) "We found out what happened, by looking at this last campaign, what happens when you don’t get a campaign going until May or June of election year. It’s just too late at that point."

(Dillon) Racine plans to meet with Democratic county committees around the state to talk about the 2010 race.

(Racine) "The timing is such that those of us who are interested are clearly thinking about it. And why not just go out and tell people that when 2010 rolls around I’m going to be out there, I will be a candidate. I’m not just thinking about it, I’m not just exploring it, I intend to be a candidate. So instead of playing that game that politicians usually play which is to dance around it, I’m just telling people what I’m thinking, and I’m thinking I’m going to be a candidate."

(Dillon) Racine chairs the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. He says he would build his campaign on job growth and improvements to the state’s transportation and communication infrastructure.

(Racine) "And we need to stay focused on our kids. You know, the governor’s own Next Generation Commission focused on the fact that a third of our kids are either not graduating from high school or are not getting the education they need to be part of the workforce. That’s a huge issue for the future of Vermont’s economy."

(Dillon) Racine served as lieutenant governor in the late ‘90s. In 1991, he was president of the Vermont Senate when the state faced an earlier fiscal crisis. He ran the Senate when Republican Governor Richard Snelling worked with Democrats to pass budget cuts and a temporary tax increase.

(Racine) "I feel very proud that we worked on a very difficult situation in a bipartisan way. And we had a really strong leader in Dick Snelling, he wasn’t figuring out how to put the blame on somebody else. He was very statesmanlike. He sat down with legislative leaders, who happened to be the other party, and said, `We’ve got a problem to solve, so let’s figure out how to work together to come up with a solution that we’re all going to like a little bit of and we’re going dislike a little bit of it.’ And in the end we got Vermont out of its problems."

(Dillon) Democratic State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding is also considering a run for governor. Like Racine, Spaulding has said it’s important for Democrats to start early in the next gubernatorial race.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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