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Monday, November 5, 2012

Photo: Conservative Super PAC Funder Lenore Broughton Caught on Camera

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 8:46 PM

It took all campaign season, but we finally got a photo of Lenore Broughton, the Burlington heiress who's bankrolling the conservative super PAC Vermonters First to the tune of $1 million this election. 

Despite her outsize influence on state elections this year, Broughton keeps a low public profile. She declines every interview request she gets and has turned away numerous reporters looking for quotes from her front door this fall.

Prior to a recent Seven Days story and others that followed, there wasn't much known about her background or the source of her sizable fortune. And there don't appear to be any photos of her on the web.

Our last attempt to photograph the elusive Broughton didn't go so well. She walked away from a public meeting rather than be photographed. So we had to get a little more aggressive on the second try.

Seven Days hired freelance photographer Andy Duback to photograph Broughton at a public meeting of a board on which she serves. On Monday, Duback snapped this photo at Burlington City Hall as Broughton was getting on an elevator following the meeting. Along with being a member of the Burlington Telecom Cable Advisory Council, Broughton serves on the Burlington Board for Registration of Voters. That's the volunteer panel charged with maintaining Burlington's voter lists.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Photos: Leahy and the Clintons Inaugurate Industrial Park in Haiti

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 12:22 PM

When we heard Monday that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was hangin' in Haiti with Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, Donna Karan and Richard Branson — oh, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton — we wanted to send our best photojournalist to get the goods.

But he was tied up trying to snag a photo of Lenore Broughton.

So we did the next best thing: We asked Leahy, an enthusiastic amateur photographer himself, whether he could spare a few photos. He obliged.

Here's a great shot Leahy captured of the Clintons in action:

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Photos: Georgia Mountain Turbine Blades To Blow Through Downtown Burlington

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Ever wondered why industrial wind power is running into so much heavy turbulence in Vermont? Anyone who's never gotten a close look at just how large those turbines are may want to head into downtown Burlington tomorrow morning starting at 3 a.m. That's when the first wave of turbine blades bound for Georgia Mountain, the 10-megawatt wind project in Milton and Georgia, roll out of the Burlington railyard, up Battery Street then attempt to make the right turn up Main Street.

"Attempt" is the operative word. According to Burlington Public Works Director Steve Goodkind, who was in the train yard Tuesday morning, it remains to be seen whether each of the 163-foot blades (not including the size of the extended cab truck and rear trailer) will be able to corner the turn without taking out trees, poles and other roadside hazards. "Three trees, two trees, one tree — we're not really sure how many will have to go."

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Poll: VT Candidate Fashion — Who Wore It Best?

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 11:27 AM

We once again interrupt our really pretty serious campaign coverage to bring you this bit of election-year infotainment.

Every candidate running for office knows that how you look is almost as important as what you say. But politicians, as a rule, don't have huge fashion palettes to work with. For the fellas, there's the shirt and tie, with an optional blazer. For the ladies, it's a Hillary-style pantsuit or a Palinesque pencil skirt and blouse.

But in Vermont — a state known for its trendsetting fashion sensibilities — candidates are finding subtle ways to spice things up: a fleece vest here, a yellow rain slicker there. Hey, they don't call us the Milan of New England for nothing!

So here's a game for you politics/fashion junkies, using photos the candidates themselves posted on their Facebook pages. With apologies to US Weekly, we present "Vermont Candidate Fashion: Who Wore It Best?" Two candidates wearing the same attire — you decide who looks better. Check back for results.

THE FLEECE VEST

Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, or Democratic Attorney General Bill Sorrell

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

OMG! Cautionary Sidewalk Stencils Appear in Downtown Burlington

Posted By on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 12:14 PM

My smartphone was safely stowed in my pocket this morning as I walked in to work, which is probably why I noticed these new stencils on the sidewalk in downtown Burlington. Naturally, I took my phone out after I saw them and snapped some photos.

The paint looked pretty fresh. Anyone know who put them there or why? I took these at the intersection of Main Street and South Winooski Avenue, Main and Pine streets., and Main and South Champlain streets.

Update: Mystery solved! Not surprisingly, the people-powered transportation advocates at Local Motion are responsible for these sidewalk safety messages. Thanks to alert reader Liam Griffin for the tip on our Facebook page.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Video: Shumlin Launches Reelection Campaign Monday at Nectar's

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 at 6:44 AM

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Gov. Peter Shumlin capped off his first official day on the campaign trail by touting his economic record to a rowdy crowd of supporters at Nectar's Monday evening.

"We're growing jobs, we're delivering on promises to get tough things done, and we are making extraordinary progress to make this state a better place to get a job, a better place to make a living and a better place for our kids to prosper," Shumlin said.

After spending the summer putting off questions about his long-running campaign for reelection, the governor finally embraced his status as a candidate Monday, touring the state from Bennington to Rutland to Burlington. At Nectar's, he found a welcoming reception from cabinet secretaries, legislators, staffers and donors.

In a 17-minute speech, Shumlin outlined the achievements of his first term and goals for a second term while hammering Republican opponent Randy Brock's health care plan. Though much of his speech focused on the brewing debate over competing health care plans — a debate the incumbent appears to relish — Shumlin told Seven Days afterward that his campaign would be squarely focused on selling his economic record.

We'll have more on Shumlin's campaign kickoff in Wednesday's Fair Game. For now, we leave you with a video of the governor's speech and some photos from the event.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reporter's Notebook: Kind Of Sort Of Covering Romney At A Hardware Store

Posted By on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 12:10 PM

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If a guy walks into a hardware store and nobody sees him, does anybody care?

That was the question I asked myself Wednesday as I skulked around LaValley Building Supply in West Lebanon, N.H., waiting for something to happen.

Inside was this guy named Mitt Romney, who doesn't like dogs very much and who is also running for president of the United States. He's been at camp this week — debate camp, that is — in nearby West Windsor, Vt. But with Democrats hogging the spotlight down in Charlotte, Romney briefly emerged from his pal's $3.9 million lair to conduct a few television interviews in the closest purple state he could find — in what appeared to be the handtool and glove aisle at LaValley's.

I happened to be in Norwich at the time and, alerted to the visit by a tweet from WCAX-TV's Adam Sullivan (thanks, bro!), I popped on down to the West Leb strip, figuring that if the Romney event was a bust I could at least drop by Lebanon Pet & Aquarium Center to check out the fish.

It was, in fact, a total bust.

Though I waited patiently for nearly two hours, I failed to catch a single glimpse of that perfectly coiffed hair, that casually unbuttoned dress shirt or that reassuringly square jaw. I went there for Mitt, but all I got was Randy Brock.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Bernie Sanders
Photos from Sanders' Burlington Labor Day Rally

Sanders dishes out hot dogs and populism at his annual Labor Day gathering.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 3, 2012 at 5:42 PM

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Nothing says "Labor Day" like a sunny September day, free hot dogs and a rip-roaring tirade from Vermont's very own Sen. Bernie Sanders.

At Sanders' annual Labor Day rally and barbecue Monday afternoon in Burlington's Battery Park, you could have it all. And then some.

"What we are saying today is that this country and the wealth of this country belongs to all of the people and not a handful of billionaires," the finger-wagging, self-described socialist told an approving crowd of a couple hundred fellow travelers.

Sanders' 15-minute stem-winder wrapped up a well-attended event featuring a performance by the Gordon Stone Band, remarks from a slew of Vermont labor leaders and — in true Bernie style — plenty of free food for the masses. Ol' Bernardo's warm-up acts stayed on-message, repeatedly calling him a champion of workers' rights and organized labor's favorite U.S. senator. But about a dozen opponents of the proposed basing of F-35 planes at the Vermont Air National Guard's South Burlington headquarters — which Sanders supports — held signs just off-stage protesting Sanders' stance.

We'll have more on the rally in this week's Fair Game, but for now, we leave you with some crappy iPhone-shot photos of the event:

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sorrell Clings to Thin Lead in Attorney General Primary; Race Too Close to Call

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 8:47 AM

UPDATE, 8/29 at 10:00 a.m.: T.J. Donovan says he'll likely concede the race this morning. For the latest updates, stay tuned to our new politics blog, Off Message.

This story was reported by Paul Heintz, Tyler Machado and Andy Bromage

For weeks, the Democratic contest for attorney general seemed too close — and too unusual — to predict. Tuesday night brought no swift resolution.

At the end of primary night — with 245 of 258 precincts reporting — Attorney General Bill Sorrell held a narrow 619-vote lead over challenger T.J. Donovan, according to the Associated Press. But with more than 40,000 voters casting ballots, neither campaign seemed fully prepared to declare victory — or defeat. 

“This has been a really long six months and I’ve said several times this is more a marathon than a sprint,” Sorrell told a crowd of supporters at Burlington’s Courtyard Marriott after emerging for the first time at 10:15 p.m. “We’ve got about a mile or so more to run, and I’m feeling great.”

Standing beside a screen projecting the night’s promising but uncertain results, Sorrell said, “We’ve got a while to wait, but that’s okay. Because between being 600 or so votes up and 600 or so votes down, I choose option A.”

Greeting supporters next door at the Burlington Hilton, Donovan told Seven Days that with a dozen precincts left to report, he “owed it to everybody to see what the votes are.”

But Donovan did not sound hopeful he would pull out a win.

"It's gonna be tough," he said, adding that he would be “unlikely” to call for a recount — as a candidate within two percent of a winner is entitled to do  — given the apparent size of Sorrell’s lead. "We've worked hard and I want to see this thing through. Somebody had us down 20 points a week ago.”

The AG's primary was the most expensive for that office in state history and the first competitive race for Vermont's top law enforcement job since Sorrell took office in 1997. Buoyed by $184,000 in super PAC advertising, Sorrell may well have fended off a challenge from an ambitious and well-organized young challenger who relentlessly hammered Sorrell's 15-year record during the five-month campaign.

For the second time in two years, Democrats faced the prospect of converging for a pre-scheduled "unity rally" on Wednesday with no clear winner. And with Republican AG candidate Jack McMullen waiting in the wings, Dems will be anxious to put the primary behind them and get the general election started.

With more than 40,000 primary ballots cast, voter turnout — while low compared to the 73,000 who voted in the 2010 Democratic primary for governor — was far better than the 30,000 some were predicting for Vermont's second August primary. The turnout rate was roughly 10 percent.

According to figures compiled by Vermont’s Secretary of State, which were not as up-to-date as the AP’s, Donovan took more than 6100 votes in populous Chittenden County, compared with Sorrell’s 5377. Donovan also topped Sorrell in Rutland City and Rutland Town 494-436 — and in Barre City and Barre Town 467 to 344.

But Sorrell pulled in strong numbers from Brattleboro (840 to Donovan’s 453), Montpelier (646 to Donovan's 517), Rockingham (425 to Donovan's 309) and a trio of Orange County towns — Randolph, Strafford and Thetford — whose turnout was likely driven by a competitive senate race there. In those three towns, Sorrell won 751 votes to Donovan's 542. Most importantly, Sorrell consistently outperformed Donovan in smaller towns throughout the state.

At the Hilton, Donovan's campaign party was a high-energy affair, with a DJ spinning Sheryl Crow, Dire Straits and other classic rock tunes. Supporters erupted in cheers when periodic vote counts showed Donovan on top. State Rep. Kesha Ram (D-Burlington), a Donovan supporter, clutched two speeches printed on blue paper — one for if Donovan won, another if he lost.

"I don't have a speech for a draw," remarked Ram, as the race looked increasingly like it would go into extra innings.

Shortly after 10 p.m., Donovan entered the hotel ballroom to address his cheering supporters. "I don't know where this is going to go tonight, but I'm not ready to concede," Donovan said. 

 

After that, Donovan thanked his wife, mother, state Rep. Joey Leddy Donovan (D-Burlington), and "the best governor in the history of the state of Vermont, Phil Hoff."

 

Sorrell’s campaign party, meanwhile, was a decidedly more low-key affair. Featuring soft strains of jazz on the P.A. and more wine-sipping than beer-guzzling, the crowd politely clapped whenever their candidate inched ahead in the vote tally. When Sorrell finally appeared at the end of the night, his supporters went wild. 

In thanking them, Sorrell tacitly acknowledged that many in the Democratic Party establishment backed his opponent.

“I want you to know that in a fight like this, you find out who your friends are,” he said. "And I will never, ever forget what you’ve done for me and what you’re doing for me right now. I am so proud of the campaign that we have run.”

VTDigger.org posted video of the AG's speech.

 

In the race to represent Chittenden County in the State Senate, all four incumbent Democrats running for reelection — Sens. Tim Ashe (9115 votes), Ginny Lyons (8825), Sally Fox (8523) and Philip Baruth (6836) — won slots on the ballot this November. Filling out the six-candidate Democratic slate are two Senate newcomers: former House member David Zuckerman of Hinesburg (7596) and Williston Selectboard member Debbie Ingram (5036). Former House member Peter Hunt of Essex (4576) failed to secure a berth on the ballot, while Burlington City Councilor Ed Adrian — who dropped out of the race a month ago — still managed to collect 3615 votes.

The Democratic slate will go on to face seven other candidates in the general election, including Republican incumbent Sen. Diane Snelling and former Progressive Burlington mayor Bob Kiss, who is running as an independent.

Chittenden Senate - Democrat (top 6 advance)

Franklin Senate - Republican (top 2 advance)

Governor - Progressive

U.S. Senate - Republican 

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