Fresh from his narrow victory over Republican challenger Randy Brock, Lieutenant Governor-Elect David Zuckerman answered questions on the election. He discusses his plans once he assumes office in Jan. and how the campaign affected both him and his family.
GC: Congratulations on your victory, Lieutenant Governor-Elect Zuckerman. What is at the top of your agenda?
DZ: Given the national change, making sure we set a tone that is inclusive of all perspectives is at the top of my agenda. We must focus on the fundamental issue affecting Vermont and the nation, the economic stagnation of working people’s incomes. As a small business owner, I know that we always must look for ways to find savings (as we must also do in government), but we are not going to impact people’s daily lives without getting them the pay they deserve for working full-time.
GC: What do you say to Vermonters who supported you at the polls, and those who didn’t? How will you work to assure all Vermonters that you will be every Vermonter’s Lieutenant Governor?
DZ: I have an 18-year track record of welcoming all perspectives and working across party lines. My door will be open to all Vermonters.
GC: Tell us about Election Night. What was it like as you watched the returns? How did you feel when you realized you were chosen by Vermonters to be Lieutenant Governor?
DZ: I was relieved to know Vermonters have a different set of priorities and values than what was unfolding nationally. The national outcome certainly tempered my excitement. Not only thinking about my daughter and her future, but also how national policy changes, in the areas of climate change and health care, may affect Vermonters in the near and distant future.
GC: How do you think your life, and your family’s life, will change, if at all, now that you are Lieutenant Governor?
DZ: Compared to campaigning, being Vermont’s Lieutenant Governor will be much more balanced. I’m used to working hard as a farmer and look forward to using that work ethic in the role of Lieutenant Governor.
GC: How will life on your farm differ? How do you feel, knowing that you will be the state’s first active farmer in 50 years to hold the position of Lieutenant Governor?
DZ: We are still evaluating the adjustments that will need to be made on the farm. I look forward to bringing the farming skills of practicality and problem-solving to the office. This is quite an honor and responsibility and I hope I do it justice.
GC: What do you see as your greatest strength that will help you as you assume the Office of Lieutenant Governor?
DZ: Patience. I’ve learned that issues move slowly and it takes time to build coalitions… patience has given me the ability to stay positive and focus on the work that needs to be done.
GC: What are you looking forward to the most about your new role?
DZ: I am excited to continue to meet people from all walks of life.
GC: You will be working with a Republican governor. What’s exciting and challenging about working with someone with whom you differ? How will your experience in the Vermont State Senate help?
DZ: In post-election analysis, a lot of people have asked me, ‘How do you think you and Phil Scott both won?’ …while all of the major candidates had good name recognition by the end, I think that Vermonters want to really know the people running for office. Both Phil Scott and I have been travelling the state, working with Vermonters for a significantly longer time than the other two candidates… Phil and I have a long working relationship both when I was in the House and he was in the Senate as well as these last four years when I have been serving in the Senate under his guidance… We both greatly value and respect the institution, and will embrace the work ethic and cooperative attitude that is key to our working together to better Vermont.
GC: How is your family embracing your new role as Lieutenant Governor?
DZ: There is excitement, pride, hope, and concern. It is a tremendous responsibility, and they understand that. They are excited for the role that I will be in to work to better the lives of our neighbors and friends across all of Vermont. There is also concern about the time it will take from our business and family. I have watched Phil Scott juggle this with his business and family. I hope to find a successful balance to be sure I give my daughter the guidance she needs as she matures and my spouse the love and partnership we have committed to.
GC Q: What is the one thing you want your fellow Vermonters to know about you that may not have been highlighted during the campaign?
DZ: That I am deeply concerned about negative character-attack campaigns. The deep damage that it can do to family members and the way that it will reduce the likelihood of future candidates from running is very distressing for me for our democracy.