- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Bruce Lisman, a retired Wall Street executive and founder of the advocacy group Campaign for Vermont, announced Tuesday that he’s running as a Republican candidate for governor in 2016.

Lisman is the first GOP candidate to announce he’s in the race and the second candidate overall, after Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith. Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, said in June that he wouldn’t be seeking a third two-year term.

“I’ve spent the last four and a half years listening to citizens across Vermont, from all walks of life, and there are resounding concerns about the current direction of our state,” Lisman said in a statement emailed to media outlets.

“It is my hope that Vermonters will consider my non-political approach to policy matters, willingness to listen, and results-based management style and join me in moving Vermont away from the detrimental politics of recent years and into a new era of shared success.”

Lisman grew up in Burlington and graduated from the University of Vermont in 1969. He spent his career on Wall Street and served as co-head of Bear Stearns & Co.’s stock division, a position he held as the company collapsed during the lead-up to the Great Recession. The result of the collapse was that JPMorgan Chase bought Bear Stearns for $10 a share, when its previous 52-week high was $133.20. Lisman said Tuesday that his division wasn’t responsible for the collapse.

The 68-year-old Shelburne resident enters a field that is expected to become more crowded in the coming months. Smith announced his candidacy in August. Others who are expected to run or are considering it include Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott; Republican Scott Milne, who narrowly lost to Shumlin in 2014; former lawmaker Matt Dunne, a Democrat; Randy Brock, a Republican former state auditor and state senator; Transportation Secretary Sue Minter, a Democrat; and Libertarian Dan Feliciano.

As co-founder of the group Campaign for Vermont, Lisman has been critical of the state’s fiscal policies under Shumlin and other Democrats who control the Legislature. He’s also advocated for more transparency in government and education reform and against Shumlin’s policies on health care and energy.

Like many Vermont Republicans, Lisman doesn’t follow the national party on social issues. He said he favors continued legal access to abortions and supports same-sex marriage.

He said he would lay out his specific policy plans during the course of the campaign.

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