Shepard blasts Welch, Rainville

By Sam Hemingway, Burlington Free Press Staff Writer | August 11, 2006

WILLISTON -- Republican Congressional hopeful Mark Shepard on Thursday lashed out at Peter Welch, a Democratic rival for the state's House seat, saying Welch is wrong to think bigger government will solve the nation's problems.

"Some government is a good thing, but too much government is a bad thing," Shepard said at a news conference staged outside the Vermont Republican Party's offices in Williston. "Peter Welch does not know how or when to stop growing government, and his appetite for more government seems to never be satisfied."

Shepard cited as examples Welch's support for a health coverage program for Vermont's uninsured called Catamount Health and for Act 68, an education finance reform law. Welch and Shepard serve in the Vermont Senate.

"The so-called health care reform bill that passed this year was political compromise, allowing politicians to claim reform, when in reality it continues heading Vermont in the wrong direction and is financially unsustainable," Shepard said.

Shepard also attacked Martha Rainville, his GOP opponent in the Sept. 12 primary. He said Rainville has not been specific enough on the issues and let herself be "propped up" by other Republican leade, including first lady Laura Bush and Gov. Jim Douglas. Shepard also criticized Rainville's vow to run what she has called a "clean campaign."

"Martha has confused running a clean campaign with a refusal to get her hands dirty at all," Shepard said. "You must be willing to engage in a discussion of the issues." Shepard said Rainville was wrong not to participate in recent "Conversations on the Green" gatherings around the state.

Brendan McKenna, Rainville's spokesman, said Rainville had been clear on where she stands and accessible to voters.

"Martha has spent the summer out around the state talking with Vermonters, listening to them about the issues and outlining her ideas," McKenna said.

Carolyn Dwyer, Welch's campaign manager, downplayed Shepard's criticism of Welch.

"That's nothing more than recycled Republican rhetoric," she said of Shepard's remarks about Welch. "The voters would be better served if Mark Shepard encouraged Martha Rainville to share her positions on the issues."

Contact Sam Hemingway at 660-1850 or e-mail at shemingway@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com

"... many politicians talk the talk about doing something tangible about new jobs and it doesn't go much further. Sen. Shepard walked the walk."
"Sen. Shepard's big accomplishment, and it is a significant one, lies in the major role he played in bringing the Bennington Microtech Center into being."

Bennington Banner State Senator Endorsement Editorial, October 29, 2004

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