Scott talks at Chamber breakfast
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | February 05,2013
Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, right, speaks at South Station Restaurant during a legislative breakfast Monday morning. Dale Rocheleau, center, president of the board of directors of the Rutland Economic Development Corporation, also spoke at the event.
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott touched on marijuana, suicide and the scenic quality of Route 133 at a Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce event Monday.
Scott addressed the chamber’s first Legislative Breakfast of the year, attended by about 80 people at South Station Restaurant. He called his position in government unique, saying he was not really part of the administration or the Legislature though he wields influence with each.
“I sometimes think of it as being almost in Switzerland,” he said. “We’re a neutral body. We’re able to forge compromises, work with both sides of the aisle as well as the administration.”
Scott touched briefly on numerous issues, saying he knew it was important for manufacturing that electric rates remain low and that he knew the natural gas pipeline project is important to Rutland, especially with local plans to nurture a “value-added” food industry here.
Scott spoke favorably of marijuana decriminalization.
“I can see the merits in that — not legalization,” he said. “That’s something we should really talk about.”
He is not, however, in favor of physician assisted suicide.
“I think it sends a terrible message to our youth,” he said. “We have a teen suicide problem in Vermont and when we talk about that, we don’t want to say it’s OK to take that way out.”
Scott called Gov. Peter Shumlin’s budget address “realistic” and “sobering.”
“We have a lot of challenges ahead,” he said. “You have to look back a little bit at where they started. I think Gov. Douglas had this right three years ago and we vetoed his budget. Now we’re paying the price.”
Scott also described how, during his campaign, he went on a bicycle tour of the state.
“It slowed down the campaign, forced me to look around a little bit, talk to people,” he said.
Passing through Rutland County, Scott said he took Route 133 southward.
“It was absolutely the best part of my ride,” he said, adding that it was also the first sunny day. “It was so picturesque.”
The next Legislative breakfast is scheduled for March 4. Gov. Shumlin is scheduled as the guest speaker.