2020 Vermont Governor Candidate Guide

Phil Scott (Republican - Incumbent)
Phil Scott (Republican - Incumbent)
David Zuckerman (Progressive Democrat)
David Zuckerman (Progressive Democrat)

See Guides.vote for more online guides with links and sources. Volunteer at philscott.org or zuckermanforvt.com. Download a PDF version of this guide.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT – Support Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare?

Phil Scott – Yes. Opposed Republican effort to replace ACA. Says effort could undermine coverage or reduce funding for Medicaid expansion.

David Zuckerman – Yes. Now advocates moving to a single-payer, universal system.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE – Require political ads to disclose their largest funders?

Phil Scott – No position found.

David Zuckerman – Yes. Supports limits on campaign financing. Opposes current system that he says gives corporations too much power and makes it hard for people to run for office.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat?

Phil Scott – Yes. “I actually believe, myself, that climate change is real and it’s man-made.”

David Zuckerman – Yes. “We believe that it is important to do everything we can to … step up to stop climate change.”

CLIMATE CHANGE – Address as a top priority by taxing or limiting output of greenhouse gases?

Phil Scott -Mixed. Has opposed a carbon tax and advocated cutting subsidies for solar power. But has invested in state-specific climate goals. Broke with Trump by arguing U.S. should stay in the Paris Climate Agreement.

David Zuckerman – Yes. Supports a carbon tax. Supports increased use of renewable-energy sources.

Calls Scott’s climate approaches “incredibly incremental relative to the scale of the problem.”

COURT — SUPREME COURT – Support picking Ginsburg replacement now versus letting Nov. winner choose?

Phil Scott – No. Don’t rush. Wait till after inauguration. See CEEP Supreme Court guide.

David Zuckerma – No. Glad for Scott’s stand but says he should do more to oppose Trump. See CEEP Supreme Court guide.

COVID-19 – Support Trump administration’s response to coronavirus pandemic. 

Phil Scott – No. Disagreed with Trump about who should decide when businesses should open or shut during the pandemic. Set cautious policy for pandemic approaches.

David Zuckerman – Commends Scott’s response but says he would have enacted mask mandate sooner and helped more with finances and education.

EDUCATION – Use public funding for private and/or for-profit schools?

Phil Scott – Yes. Has supported “school choice” at public events in the past.

David Zuckerman – No. Opposed vouchers for private schools. Wants income tax so everyone “pays their fair share for … public education.”

ENVIRONMENT –  Tighten or loosen environmental regulations?

Phil Scott – Unclear. Opposed Trump administration’s replacement for the Clean Power Plan. “This is simply the wrong approach.”

David Zuckerman – Tighten. Supports government regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions.

FINANCIAL REGULATION – Tighten or loosen financial regulations?

Phil Scott – Tighten. Intervened in a court case to defend “an independent and effective CFPB.”

David Zuckerman – No position found.

GUN LAWS – Enact more restrictive gun legislation?

Phil Scott – Mostly. Historically against restrictions, but signed gun-violence-prevention legislation after the 2018 Parkland school shooting.

David Zuckerman – Yes. Supports restrictions on purchase and possession, and requiring background checks at gun shows.

IMMIGRATION – Create path to citizenship for “DACA” residents brought to U.S. as children? Support or oppose expanding border walls?

Phil Scott – Yes. Worked with a bipartisan group of governors to urge protections for DREAMers. Vermont joined a multi-state lawsuit opposing border-wall spending. Scott has opposed Trump restrictions on immigrants.

David Zuckerman – No position found. Supported state helping immigrant families excluded by federal COVID relief programs.

LABOR – Support “right- to-work” laws, eliminating unions’ ability to mandate dues for workers they represent?

Phil Scott – Mixed. Has supported a right-to-work law and vetoed a family medical leave bill. But has also supported teachers’ right to strike.

David Zuckerman – No. Such laws “harm union and non-union workers … by depressing union membership and limiting [their] effectiveness.”

LEGAL ABORTION – Keep legal or ban?

Phil Scott – Legal. Has “always been pro-choice.” Signed a 2019 abortion-rights bill that prohibits public entities from restricting an individual’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

David Zuckerman – Legal. “Protecting women’s choice is integral for women to have the power over their own lives.”

LGBT RIGHTS – Support LGBTQ rights?

Phil Scott – Unclear. Previously opposed civil unions and was concerned about gay marriage. Voted for state’s same-sex marriage bill in 2009, though said would have supported submitting as referendum.

David Zuckerman – Yes. “A longtime supporter of LGBTQIA rights. [I] co-sponsored the bill that codified marriage equality in Vermont.”

MARIJUANA – Keep illegal or decriminalize?

Phil Scott – Yes. Signed the bill to legalize marijuana in the state in 2018.

David Zuckerman – Yes. “Has been championing marijuana reform” since he was first elected to the legislature. Now advocates for a “legal marketplace” for it.

MINIMUM WAGE – Raise federal hourly minimum wage above current $7.25?

Phil Scott – No. Vetoed bill that would have raised state minimum wage in 2020, predicting “overall negative impact on economic growth.”

David Zuckerman – Yes. “Ensuring that the minimum wage keeps pace with the cost of living … will help those working full time.”

PLANNED PARENTHOOD – Support Planned Parenthood’s receiving public funds for non-abortion-related care?

Phil Scott – Yes. “I think they do great work for women’s health.”

David Zuckerman – Yes. “We will do all in our power to protect funding for Planned Parenthood to ensure they can continue to provide general health services.”

POLICE/COMMUNITY ISSUES – Restrict police use of force and increase public oversight?

Phil Scott – Yes. Signed a bill in July aimed at addressing excessive use of force by police. “This is a pivotal moment for meaningful change.”

David Zuckerman – Yes. “Limiting the use of force and holding our public safety officers accountable is required to rebuild trust in the system.”

STUDENT FINANCIAL AID – Support free or subsidized tuition for lower-income people?

Phil Scott – No. “Nothing is free.” But will work on ways to provide more affordable student loans.

David Zuckerman – Yes. Supports “free in-state tuition for Vermonters.”

TARIFFS – Support administration tariffs on steel and other products?

Phil Scott – No. Opposed tariffs on Canadian products. “They’re our largest trading partner. It has an effect on everything we do.”

David Zuckerman – No position found.

TAXES – Support administration’s $1.9 trillion (2017) tax cuts?

Phil Scott – No. Expressed concerns about the long-term impact and its rushed and partisan enactment.

David Zuckerman – No. Has focused his attention on how to recapture a portion of the cuts that went to wealthy taxpayers to address state needs.

VOTING RULES – Support efforts to make it easier to vote?

Phil Scott – Mixed. Reluctantly let a vote-by-mail bill become law without his signature.

David Zuckerman – Yes. Has urged citizens and the governor to ensure that mail-in voting is available for everyone.

Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan effort to help colleges engage students in elections. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements. Vote411.org and Ballotready.org offer guides to local races.