All seven of the people running for governor in Vermont faced off last night and it was far from your typical political debate. The event featured interesting apparel and a heated discussion of a wide variety of topics including; aluminium nanoparticles, the “Zionist regime,” bathrooms at highway rest areas, and a potential nuclear disaster near the city of Burlington.
The debate began with all of the candidates introducing themselves. Pete Diamondstone of the Liberty Union party went first.
“I am a revolutionary, non-violent socialist and I am a secessionist,” he declared.
Diamondstone went on to make a rather interesting demonstration comparing capitalism to a water bottle.
Cris Ericson, an independent who had an elaborate hat, was up next. She said she lived in Los Angeles during her “married years” and was running for governor because she wants to “stop things.”
Dan Feliciano was up next followed by Republican Scott Milne, who apparently had some trouble remembering where he was born.
“I’m a third generation born in Vermont — take that back — I was born in Brooklyn,” Milne said. “I got here about 90 days after I was born. … My mum was a New Yorker.”
Bernie Peters, another independent, had a long beard and a camouflage baseball cap. He said he entered the race because he’s been “watching politics for quite some time” and is “really kind of disappointed.”
Emily Peyton, who described herself as an “Earth activist,” went next.
“I consider myself what is known as a light worker and why I’m in the race is to bring forth the very exciting solutions and the hopeful solutions,” said Peyton.
Incumbent Gov. Pete Shumlin (D) was last.
After the introductions, things heated up pretty quickly.
Soon, Diamondstone compared students to “slaves” and argued all schooling should be free. He bristled when the moderator asked him how much this program might cost.
Later on, Diamondstone, who was definitely the early star of the debate, began outlining his plan to increase wages. It involved Vermonters “rising up and taking over every major industry.” As examples of industries that should be taken over, Diamondstone cited “pharmaceutical” and “IBM.”
Ericson spent much of her time criticising a plan to base new Air Force F-35 fighters in Vermont. She suggested one consequence of this plan could be “nanoparticles of aluminium” from the planes having a negative effect on the climate. Similar theories have been put forth by widely discredited “chemtrails” conspiracy theorists.
Eventually, the conversation focused on how the candidates would confront an opiate “drug epidemic” in Vermont. Peyton blamed the problem on overprescription of opiates and said she personally knows “many, many people who have become hooked on heroin.” She suggested focusing on alternative treatments for pain including marijuana, meditation and hypnosis.
Naturally, Diamondstone had his own take on the drug issue. He proceeded to outline his theory that the “US government lets heroin into this country.”
Diamondstone also offered his unique perspective when he was asked about his ideas for reforming Vermont’s Department of Children and Families. His answer involved a heated critique of the military and its aid to the “Zionist Regime.”
Diamondstone returned to the “Zionist government” later on when he offered a critique of the two party system. However, he seemed to lose his train of thought.
While Diamondstone stole the show in the early part of the debate, Ericson took the spotlight later on.
She got into a heated exchange with Shumlin where, after calling for the legalization of marijuana, she predicted he would face a lawsuit for closing bathrooms at highway rest areas and “denying your own employees the right to go to the bathroom.”
“You are uncivilized!” Ericson shouted at Shumlin.
Shumlin later insisted his administration had actually expanded highway bathroom facilities.
“We’ve been building them, not closing them down,” he said.
In her closing remarks, Ericson returned to the F35 proposal. Noting the planes are “capable of carrying nuclear bombs,” she warned of a potential disaster where a nuclear weapon was dropped into Lake Champlain.
“If one jet crashes in Lake Champlain, that will permanently destroy the drinking water for one third of Vermonters,” Ericson explained.
You can watch the entire debate here.
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