• House veteran not running; firefighters endorse Donovan
    June 25,2012

    When Rep. Lucy Leriche, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, announced last month she would not seek re-election, she cited the need to earn more money and get back to an “income-producing life.”

    Her first stop? Green Mountain Power.

    Leriche has landed a contract gig with the politically connected electric utility that she expects will last three or four months.

    Leriche, an eight-year veteran of the House who served as House Majority Leader the last two years, will be doing community outreach for the company, which just won approval to buy out Central Vermont Public Service and become the largest utility in the state.

    The Hardwick resident said much of her work will likely be up in the Northeast Kingdom working with communities involved in the Kingdom Community Wind project in Lowell, a highly controversial wind development that will be the biggest in the state when it’s done.

    As the windmills are shipped in, she will be “working with towns to coordinate transportation routes and make sure transportation of the equipment goes smoothly and if anything should arise be there to help get problems solved and make sure things get ironed out,” Leriche said.

    Leriche made it clear the job is temporary and that she is still looking for something permanent.

    Green Mountain Power has made itself into something of a landing pad for former politicians and executive branch officials.

    Leriche said she is replacing David Coriell, who was former Gov. James Douglas’ spokesman at the end of his tenure. Neale Lunderville, who was Douglas’ administration secretary also ended up at GMP.

    Robert Dostis, who chaired the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee that deals directly with utility issues, was hired in 2008 and has been a frequent spokesman for the corporation.


    The Professional Firefighters of Vermont unveiled endorsements last week in statewide races, and true to Vermont form, the 300-member organization wasn’t afraid to split the ticket.

    Democrats Peter Shumlin, TJ Donovan, Beth Pearce and Jim Condos won endorsements for their bids for governor, attorney general, state treasurer and secretary of state, respectively.

    Republicans Phil Scott and Vince Illuzzi, meanwhile, will get the union’s support in their candidacies for lieutenant governor and state auditor.

    The group is known to hit the phones hard for their chosen candidates and could provide a key lift in close races.

    Donovan also picked up an endorsement last week from the Vermont Building and Construction Trades Council.

    The Chittenden County state’s attorney — looking to unseat seven-term incumbent Bill Sorrell in a Democratic primary — is also the top choice of the AFL-CIO and the Vermont Troopers Association.

    According to a press release from the Donovan campaign, the VBCTC cited “TJ’s strong commitment to being a leader in Vermont against the continued misclassification of workers as independent contractors and better enforcement of workplace safety laws.”

    “The Vermont building trades are excited by the prospect of an attorney general (who) is committed to working families throughout our state and we are confident that TJ Donovan will be that Attorney General,” Jeffrey Potvin, president of the Council, said in a written statement.

    In a late-August primary that could draw fewer than 40,000 voters, unions are in a position to play a significant role in the outcome. The AFL-CIO represents almost 10,000 members in 80 unions around the state. If they come out in force for Donovan, they might help the 38-year-old underdog pull off an election-night surprise.

    Potvin says his organization is ready to work on Donovan’s behalf.

    “Our members will work hard to get TJ elected because, after years of inaction, workers across this state need leadership from the Attorney General’s office on important issues such as rooting out rampant misclassification and ensuring safety in the workplace,” Potvin said.


    Peter Shumlin last week had to take a short break from the nonstop work of governing to let Vermonters know he’s going to run for re-election. He told us not to confuse the announcement with the beginning of an actual campaign. No time for campaigns, he said. Too many jobs to create.

    But just today, we noticed the first new activity on Shumlin’s campaign website in more than a year. On the front page of the site, you’ll find three new links, and couple shots of Shumlin, including one of him surveying Irene wreckage from the cabin of a military helicopter. The pic links to a VTDigger story headlined “Shumlin’s Record: The new governor managed the Tropical Storm Irene crisis with aplomb.”

    Another link takes you to Shumlin’s anti-bullying op-ed in the Huffington Post last week. The last story links to the Burlington Free Press’ account of his re-election announcement.

    To reiterate though, there is no campaign. Too many economies to develop.

    Maybe around Labor Day.

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