- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) - Gov. Peter Shumlin called again Tuesday for more time to complete changes he began putting into place when he took office almost four years ago, citing the state’s move to a single payer health care system and the creation of more jobs by promoting clean energy.

In a 90-minute debate on Vermont Public Radio, the Democrat defended his efforts to create a single payer system despite continuing challenges to the state’s health care website. He also said that despite Vermont’s low unemployment rate, the economy isn’t as robust as he’d like.

“We have a lot more work to do,” he said. “The challenge we are facing is the middle class continues to get kicked in the teeth, low-income Vermonters are continuing to lose ground.”

Shumlin’s Republican challenger Scott Milne said he wants to take his foot off the pedal of change, reduce state spending and taxes and give Vermont the opportunity to catch its breath.

“I want Vermont to be a better place going forward,” Milne said. “I think the boring, better place that we need to get to over the next few years is let’s slow down. Let’s not rush into things. Let’s get more balance in Montpelier so that we’ve got a chance to step back and think about things.”

Libertarian Dan Feliciano reiterated his call to reduce government, spending and taxes while protecting gun rights.

Feliciano said he favored “giving people back the control of their lives, giving them the ability to make choices that they want to make. That’s what people need to be clear about,” Feliciano said.

Shumlin, who is seeking his third, two-year term; Pomfret businessman Milne; and Feliciano were joined in the debate by Liberty Union candidate Peter Diamondstone, the perennial candidate who continues his call for socialized government.

“All major means of production would be functions of communities and neighborhoods,” Diamondstone said. “Capitalism doesn’t work and will lead ultimately to the destruction of the planet.”

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