Candidate Forum

candidate forumWEST BARNET- With election day drawing closer, the candidates are reaching out to the public to share their views for the future of Vermont. Residents were able to ask the candidates questions at a forum in West Barnet last night.

 Senator Jane Kitchel (D) and Senator Joe Benning (R) attended the forum. Alongside them was Senate candidate Mike Heath (D). State Representative candidates Claudette Sortino (D), and Marcia Martel (R), were also in attendance.

A couple of points made by the public focused on health care plans, and the consolidation of schools. Most of the candidates agreed that schools are the heart of the community. Heath does not believe that schools should be consolidated. Sortino thinks that smaller class sizes help students focus more in class. If school were consolidated the number of students in the classroom would go up. Martel is against combining schools because she believes the members of school boards would loose their voices. Benning is also opposed to the state making schools consolidate. He said that, "Schools are the anchor of the community and there is little evidence to show that consolidation saves money at this point."

The Single Payer Health Care plan raised a lot of questions from the public. Also known as "Medicare for all," this system allows the government, rather than private insurers to pay for all health care costs. All three of the candidates who are running for Senator have the same view on this plan. Kitchel thinks that there could be other ways to provide health care to vermonters. "I for one would never come down and say that is the answer to making sure all our vermonters have health care coverage. It's not the only way and it may in the end not be the most financially feasible way." Benning does not think the single payer health care plan would work well in the long run, he said that that plan would be "unsustainable." Heath said, "I think the problem with the entire system and the reason that we can not pull it off is because we have a system that profits off of treatment. Not off of cures and not off of making people better."

Currently none of the candidates have any upcoming campaign events. Elections begin on Tuesday, Nov. 4th.