Phil Scott (politician)

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Phil Scott
Phil Scott 2017.jpg
82nd Governor of Vermont
Assumed office
January 5, 2017
Lieutenant David Zuckerman
Preceded by Peter Shumlin
80th Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
In office
January 6, 2011 – January 5, 2017
Governor Peter Shumlin
Preceded by Brian Dubie
Succeeded by David Zuckerman
Member of the Vermont Senate
from the Washington district
In office
January 5, 2001 – January 5, 2011
Serving with Bill Doyle, Ann Cummings
Preceded by Jeb Spaulding
Succeeded by Anthony Pollina
Personal details
Born Philip Brian Scott
(1958-08-04) August 4, 1958 (age 60)
Barre City, Vermont, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Diana McTeague
Children 2
Education University of Vermont (BS)
Website Government website

Philip Brian Scott (born August 4, 1958) is an American entrepreneur and politician serving as the 82nd and current Governor of Vermont since 2017. A member of the Republican Party, he won the 2016 general election with more than 52 percent of the vote.[1] He was previously the 80th Lieutenant Governor of Vermont, an office he held from 2011 to 2017. Before serving as Lieutenant Governor, he was a State Senator representing the Washington County District from 2001 to 2011. He is a candidate for reelection in 2018.

Early life[edit]

Scott was born on August 4, 1958 in Barre City, Vermont.[2] He graduated from Barre's Spaulding High School in 1976,[3] and is also a 1980 graduate of the University of Vermont, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Education.[4]

Business career[edit]

With his cousin, he was a co-owner of DuBois Construction, a Middlesex business which was founded by his uncle;[5] Scott began working there after his high school graduation, and became a co-owner in 1986.[6][7] Scott is a past President of the Associated General Contractors of Vermont.[7]

On January 6, 2012, a fire at Dubois Construction caused substantial damage.[8][9] The owners were able to rebuild and continue operations.[10]

During his campaign for governor, Scott indicated that he intended to sell his share of the company if he won the election to avoid possible conflicts of interest, since DuBois Construction does business with the State of Vermont.[11]

On January 11, 2017, Scott indicated that he had sold his share of DuBois Construction in a transaction that was finalized on December 30, 2016, and that he would provide additional details later in January.[12] Press accounts on January 13 indicated that Scott had sold his share of DuBois Construction to the company for $2.5 million, plus 3 percent interest, payable over 15 years.[13] During a meeting with reporters, Scott indicated that he opted to finance the sale himself rather than having the company borrow the money to pay him in full in order to preserve the company's bonding capacity, which it requires in order to bid on and complete construction projects and other work.[14] Some critics and observers suggested that Scott's sale of his share in the company doesn't completely eliminate possible conflicts of interest, since some Dubois Construction contracts involve work for the state.[14] Scott and the attorney who negotiated the sale on his behalf responded by indicating their belief that Scott's actions remove him from the business sufficiently to eliminate possible conflicts of interest.[14]

Racing career[edit]

Scott is a champion stock car racer.[7] He won the 1996 and 1998 Thunder Road Late Model Series (LMS) championships and the 1997 and 1999 Thunder Road Milk Bowls.[7] (The Milk Bowl is Thunder Road's annual season finale.)[7]

In 2002, he became a three-time champion, winning both the Thunder Road and Airborne Late Model Series track championships and the American Canadian Tour championship.[7] (Airborne Park Speedway is a stock car track in the town of Plattsburgh, New York).[15] He also competed in the 2005 British Stock Car Association (BriSCA) Formula One Championship of the World, but did not finish.[16]

On July 6, 2017, Scott won the Thunder Road Late Model Series feature race; he started from the pole, and the victory was his first since 2013.[17] As of July 2017, Scott has 30 career wins, which places him third all time in Thunder Road's LMS division.[18]

Political career[edit]

Vermont Senate[edit]

A Republican, Scott was elected to the Vermont Senate in 2000, one of three at-large senators representing the Washington County Senate District. He was reelected four times, and served from 2001 to 2011. During his Senate career, he was the Vice-Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee and Chair of the Senate Institutions Committee. He also served as a member of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.[19] As Chair of the Senate Institutions Committee, Scott changed the practices for guiding the state's capital construction budget by establishing an affordable threshold of expenditures, ensuring that expenditures are allocated to long-term investments in infrastructure, and creating a fair process for distributing grants.[20]

During his time in the Senate, Scott served on several special committees, including the Judicial Nominating Board, the Legislative Advisory Committee on the State House, the Joint Oversight Corrections Committee, and the Legislative Council Committee, among others.[21]

Lieutenant Governor[edit]

Scott in 2016

On November 2, 2010, Scott was elected the 79th Lieutenant Governor of Vermont;[22] he defeated Steve Howard and assumed office on January 6, 2011. He was reelected in 2012, defeating Cassandra Gekas, and elected for a third term in 2014, defeating Dean Corren.

As lieutenant governor, Scott presided over the Vermont Senate when it was in session. In addition, he served as a member of the committee on committees, the three-member panel which determines Senate committee assignments and appoints committee chairpersons and vice chairpersons. In the event of a tie vote in the Vermont Senate, Scott was tasked with casting a tie-breaking vote. Scott also served as acting governor when the governor was out of state.[23]

Scott also served as Chair of the Emergency Preparedness Council, where he worked with the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, as well as other agencies and departments, on security matters impacting Vermont.[24]

In his capacity as lieutenant governor, Scott started a "Vermont Everyday Jobs" initiative, where he spends time working in different jobs throughout the state in order to gain a better understanding of what state government can do to help Vermont businesses work.[25]

As lieutenant governor, Scott was a strong proponent of Vermont's "Buy Local" initiative.[26]

As a state senator and as lieutenant governor, Scott was active with a number of community service projects. In 2005, he founded the Wheels for Warmth program, which has raised more than $309,000 for heating fuel assistance programs in Vermont.[5] In 2011, Scott relied on his experience in and contacts with the construction industry to organize the removal and disposal of mobile homes destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene, an effort which was completed at no cost to the homeowners, and without requiring an expenditure of state funds.[27]

Job approval[edit]

As of September 2015, Scott maintained both high name recognition and favorability among Vermont residents. A poll conducted by the Castleton University Polling Institute found that more than three-quarters of Vermonters knew who Scott was, and that among those who were able to identify him, 70% viewed him favorably.[28] Despite being a Republican himself, the same poll found that 59% of self-identified Democrats held a favorable view of Scott, while only 15% held an unfavorable view of him.[28]

National Lieutenant Governors Association activities[edit]

Scott was an active member of the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA), and served on the NLGA Executive Committee and the NLGA Finance Committee.[29][30] As a member of the NLGA, Scott joined fellow Lieutenant Governors across the country in two bi-partisan letters opposing proposed cuts to the Army National Guard in both 2014 and 2015.[31][32] Scott was a lead sponsor on a NLGA resolution to develop a long-term vision for surface transportation in the United States.[33] Scott was also a co-sponsor on resolutions to recognize the importance of arts and culture in tourism to the U.S. economy, to support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, to support designating a National Arts in Education Week, and to support a comprehensive system to end homelessness among U.S. veterans.[34][35][36][37]

Governor of Vermont[edit]

2016 campaign for Governor[edit]

In September 2015, Scott announced his candidacy for Vermont Governor.[38]

An early 2016 poll commissioned by Vermont Public Radio and conducted by the Castleton University Polling Institute indicated that among the two candidates for the Republican nomination for governor, Scott was preferred by 42% of respondents compared to 4% for candidate Bruce Lisman.[39] A poll commissioned by Energy Independent Vermont in late June 2016 indicated that Scott had the support of 68% of Republicans, while Lisman had the support of 23% of Republicans.[40]

On May 8, 2016, Scott received the endorsements of nearly all of the Vermont Republican legislators.[41] Scott did not support President Donald Trump in his 2016 presidential campaign.[42]

On August 9, Scott defeated Lisman in the primary election by a margin of 21 percentage points.[43] He defeated Sue Minter, the Democratic Party nominee, in the November general election by a margin of 8.7 percentage points.[44][45]



Governor Scott has used his "6-3-1" mantra to emphasize his priorities. "6" represents the six fewer workers in the Vermont workforce every day, "3" represents the three fewer children in Vermont's public school system every day, and "1" represents the number of babies born in Vermont every day to a mother addicted to drugs.[46] Scott has frequently stated that his top three priorities are to grow the economy, make Vermont more affordable, and protect the most vulnerable.[47]

On April 13, 2017, Governor Scott announced a $150 million settlement in the ongoing case of alleged fraud relating to the Jay Peak and Burke Mountain EB-5 developments.[48]

Job approval[edit]

According to a Morning Consult poll released in October 2017, Governor Scott's approval rating stood at 60%, making him the 7th most popular governor in the United States. The poll was conducted between July 1, 2017 and September 30, 2017 and has a margin of error of 4%. In April of 2018, another Morning Consult poll indicated that Governor Scott’s approval rating had risen to 65%, making him the 4th most popular Governor in the country.[49] However, his approval rating had dropped to 47% by July of 2018.[50]

Political positions[edit]

Scott is a moderate Republican. As a candidate and Governor, he is known to "embrace moderate and sometimes even liberal policies;"[51] his views can be described as "fiscally conservative but socially liberal".[52] Describing his views, Governor Scott explained: “I am very much a fiscal conservative. But not unlike most Republicans in the Northeast, I’m probably more on the left of center from a social standpoint,” Scott explained. “I am a pro–choice Republican".[53]

Fiscal and budgetary issues[edit]

Scott has called for holding the line on any additional taxes and fees, and has pledged to veto any budget that grows faster than the growth rate of the underlying economy or wages in the previous year.[54][55] Scott has also expressed his intent to avoid using one-time funds to plug recurring budget deficits and to establish bonding practices that emphasize a longer-term outlook.[54] Scott supported changing the state's current one-year budget cycle into a two-year budget cycle in order to enhance long-term planning and management, while reducing budgeting costs.[56]

Taxes and Fees[edit]

The FY18 budget signed into law by Scott did not include any new or increased taxes or fees. He has said that he opposes any new taxes being passed by the state legislature.[57] He also refused to sign a bill that would have raised property taxes.[58] Scott vetoed the FY19 budget twice before allowing it to go into law without his signature.[59] Scott was disappointed the budget raised non-residential property tax rates, but was pleased with achieving 75% of the property tax rate relief he advocated for, including holding residential rates level.[59]

As Governor, Scott has fought to eliminate the tax on Social Security benefits. The FY19 budget achieved this in-part by eliminating the tax on Social Security benefits for low and moderate-income retirees.[60]

Scott proposed and championed the "Working Family Taxpayer Protection Act." This proposal was a reaction to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 signed by President Trump. The legislation supported by Scott and incorporated into the FY19 budget will: lower income tax rates by 0.2% for all Vermont filers, expand deductions, increased exemptions, raise the state Earned income tax credit, add a charitable contribution tax credit, and adjust Vermont's tax code to be more in line with the federal system.[60]

Under Scott's tenure, Workers Compensation tax rates declined by $30 million and Unemployment Insurance taxes declined for two consecutive years due to the health of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.[61]

Economic development[edit]

Scott has set a goal to boost the state's economy by increasing the state's population to 700,000 in 10 years, specifically in key working-age demographic groups.[62]

As Governor, Scott's FY18 and FY19 budgets funded various economic development investments. These include additional resources for the Vermont Small Business Development Center, downtown tax credits to fund co-worker and maker spaces for start-ups, additional marketing funding, new tax increment financing districts to increase downtown development, and sales tax exemptions in key industries.[63] Scott also signed into law a $35 million affordable housing bond, which is expected to leverage up to $100 million in total funds, and will support the creation of hundreds of housing units and thousands of new jobs.[64] Similarly, Scott signed into law permit reform to simply rules for the development of affordable housing.[65]

Scott has made growing the workforce a top priority in achieving economic expansion.[66] Scott signed legislation streamlining the licensing process for veterans returning to the workforce in professional fields.[66]

Health care[edit]

Scott has advocated for a transition from Vermont Health Connect to a different exchange (either the federal exchange or a state partnership) and seeks to eliminate the small business mandate for enrolling in the health care exchange.[67] Scott has also expressed support for moving away from a fee-for-service health insurance system, and towards a system that compensates providers on the basis of outcomes and the quality of care–in order to reduce health care costs.[67] In 2017, Scott implemented a pilot project with an accountable care organization to test the model of outcomes-based care.[68]


Scott has called for modifying Act 46 to improve cost containment measures, incorporate property tax reduction, preserve local control and school choice, and allow communities to keep the funds that they save through school district mergers.[54] Scott has expressed support for flexible learning plans and the utilization of new technologies in the classroom in order to improve educational outcomes.[54]

Scott's FY18 budget made investments in education, including $3 million to the Vermont State Colleges to stabilize tuition and a new position in the Agency of Education to focus on career and technical education.[47] The budget also expanded child care financial assistance by $2.5 million.[66] The following year, Scott worked with the Legislature to eliminate tuition for members of the Vermont National Guard.[66]

As a state senator, Scott voted for legislation to reduce education property tax rates.[69][70] Scott's FY18 budget froze property tax rates.[47]

Safe communities legislation[edit]

Scott passed legislation that banned bump stock devices, expanded background checks for gun purchases, raised the age to purchase firearms to 21 (with certain exemptions), limited the purchase of certain high-capacity magazines, strengthened laws to keep guns out of the hands of alleged domestic abusers, and created risk protection orders.[71] Scott created a Violence Prevention Task Force, ordered a security assessment of all Vermont schools, and signed legislation appropriating $5 million for school security grants.[72]

Government reform and modernization[edit]

Scott supports limiting the length of the annual Vermont legislative session to 90 days. According to Scott, the unpredictable and long length of the legislative session discourages everyday Vermonters from running for office.[56] A 90-day session, according to Scott, would encourage more individuals to run for elected office by setting clear parameters.[56] Furthermore, Scott states that a 90-day session would force the legislature to focus on key fiscal and operational issues.[56]

As Governor, Scott created a Government Modernization & Efficiency Team to implement efficiency audits, strengthen IT planning, implement a digital government strategy, and identify opportunities to eliminate inefficiencies, establish clear metrics and streamline services.[73] Scott also created the Program to Improve Vermont Outcomes Together (PIVOT) initiative, which asks frontline state employees for ways to make systems in state government more efficient and easier to use.[47] Scott consolidated IT functions in state government with the creation of the Agency of Digital Services, saving taxpayers $2.19 million.[47][74] Scott also merged the Department of Liquor Control and the Lottery Department into the Department of Liquor and Lottery in order to achieve cost savings.[74] Scott's Administration has worked to achieve internal improvements through lean training and permit process improvements.[74] Scott also successfully sought to eliminate and merge redundant boards, commissions, studies and reports.[74]


In July 2016, Scott outlined his transportation priorities that he would implement as Vermont Governor.[75] Scott indicated that he would strengthen the link between economic growth and Vermont's infrastructure; oppose additional transportation taxes, including a carbon tax; oppose accumulating additional state debt for transportation; encourage innovation in transportation through implementing a Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit and an Angel Investor Tax Credit (a 60% credit toward cash equity investments in Vermont businesses, specifically targeted toward transportation, energy and manufacturing firms); protect the state's transportation fund to ensure it is used for transportation purposes only; advocate for federal reforms and flexibility in transportation policy; and update the Agency of Transportation's long-range plan for transportation.

Drug addiction policy[edit]

As Governor, Scott created an Opioid Coordination Council, appointed a director of drug policy and prevention, and convened a statewide summit focused on growing the workforce to support opioid and substance abuse treatment.[47] To further treatment options, Scott worked with the Secretary of State's Office of Professional Regulation to streamline the licensing process for treatment professionals.[76] Scott boosted efforts to reduce the drug supply through the Vermont Drug Task Force, Drug Take Back days, and expanding prescription drug disposal sites.[76]

Social issues[edit]

Scott is pro-choice and supports same-sex marriage.[77] He signed into a law a gender-neutral bathroom bill intended to recognize the rights of transgender people.[78] Speaking about the new law, he said "Vermont has a well-earned reputation for embracing equality and being inclusive".[79] Scott also signed gun control legislation that "limits some aspects of gun possession and empowers authorities to remove guns from people who may be dangerous".[80]

On May 24, 2017, Scott vetoed a bill that would have legalized marijuana recreationally in Vermont.[81] He has, however, signalled that he will sign an amended version of the bill that passed the Vermont House of Representatives on January 4, 2018.[82] He has also opposed the Trump administration's immigration policies. In 2017, he signed a bill to limit the involvement of Vermont police with the federal government in regards to immigration,[83] and the Department of Justice notified Vermont that has been preliminarily been found to be a sanctuary jurisdiction on November 15, 2017.[84] He opposed the Trump administration's 'zero tolerance' policy and the separation of families at the border.[85]

Environmental issues[edit]

Scott approved $48 million for clean water funding in 2017.[68] Scott signed an Executive Order creating the Vermont Climate Action Commission.[86] Scott announced a settlement with Saint-Gobain to address water quality issues and PFOA contamination in Bennington County.[87] Scott's FY18 budget proposal called for a tax holiday on energy efficient products and vehicles.[88] On June 2, 2017, Phil Scott led Vermont to join the United States Climate Alliance, following President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement.[89] Scott committed to achieving 90% renewable energy by 2050.[90]

Personal life[edit]

Scott lives in Berlin, Vermont. He has two adult daughters, Erica and Rachael, with his first wife, Angie Wright.[5][91] They later divorced, and in 2011 Scott married his longtime partner Diana McTeague.[92][93]

Electoral history[edit]


2016 Vermont Gubernatorial Race general election[94]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Phil Scott 166,249 52.9%
Democratic Sue Minter 138,935 44.2%
Liberty Union Bill Lee 8,808 2.8%
Total votes 313,992 100%
2016 Vermont Republican Party gubernatorial primary[95]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Phil Scott 27,669 60.50%
Republican Bruce Lisman 18,055 39.50%
Republican Write-ins 48 0.22%
Total votes 45,772 100.00%

2014 Vermont Lieutenant Governor general election[96]

Party Candidate Votes % Winner
Republican Phil Scott 118,949 62.2
Progressive/Democratic Dean Corren 69,005 36.1
Liberty Union Marina Brown 3,347 1.7

2012 Vermont Lieutenant Governor general election[97]

Party Candidate Votes % Winner
Republican Phil Scott 162,608 57.2
Democratic Cassandra Gekas 114,885 40.4
Liberty Union Ben Mitchell 6,964 2.4

2010 Vermont Lieutenant Governor general election[98]

Party Candidate Votes % Winner
Republican Phil Scott 116,198 49.4
Democratic Steve Howard 99,843 42.5
Independent Peter Garritano 8,627 3.7
Progressive Marjorie Power 8,287 3.5
Liberty Union Boots Wardinski 2,228 0.9

2010 Vermont Lieutenant Governor Republican Party primary election[99]

Party Candidate Votes % Winner
Republican Phil Scott 15,981 56.1
Republican Mark Snelling 12,389 43.5

2008 Washington County Senate District general election[100]

Party Candidate Votes Winners
Republican Phil Scott 15,763
Democratic Ann Cummings 15,291
Republican Bill Doyle 15,089
Democratic Kimberly B. Cheney 11,673
Democratic Laura Day Moore 10,847
Republican John R. Gilligan 5,660

2006 Washington County Senate District general election[101]

Party Candidate Votes Winners
Democratic Ann Cummings 14,416
Republican William "Bill" Doyle 12,994
Republican Phil Scott 12,595
Democratic Kimberly B. Cheney 11,685
Democratic Donny Osman 11,154
Republican Jim Parker 7,573

2004 Washington County Senate District general election[102]

Party Candidate Votes Winners
Republican William "Bill" Doyle 16,274
Democratic Ann Cummings 16,134
Republican Phil Scott 13,294
Democratic Kimberly B. Cheney 13,064
Democratic Michael Roche 9,242
Republican J. Paul Giuliani 9,194

2002 Washington County Senate District general election[103]

Party Candidate Votes Winners
Republican William "Bill" Doyle 13,017
Democratic Ann Cummings 11,213
Republican Phil Scott 10,849
Republican J. Paul Giuliani 8,982
Democratic Kimberly B. Cheney 8,450
Democratic Charles Phillips 6,822

2002 Washington County Senate District Republican Party primary election

Party Candidate Votes Winners
Republican William "Bill" Doyle 1,725
Republican Paul Giuliani 1,556
Republican Phil Scott 1,547
Republican George Corey 587

2000 Washington County Senate District general election[104]

Party Candidate Votes Winners
Republican William "Bill" Doyle 15,298
Republican Phil Scott 13,412
Democratic Ann Cummings 12,220
Republican J. Paul Giuliani 11,997
Democratic Warren F. Kitzmiller 11,378
Democratic Paul N. Poirier 10,276


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External links[edit]

Vermont Senate
Preceded by
Jeb Spaulding
Member of the Vermont Senate
from the Washington County at-large district

Served alongside: Bill Doyle
Ann Cummings
Succeeded by
Anthony Pollina
Political offices
Preceded by
Brian Dubie
Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
Succeeded by
David Zuckerman
Preceded by
Peter Shumlin
Governor of Vermont
Party political offices
Preceded by
Scott Milne
Republican nominee for Governor of Vermont
2016, 2018
Most recent
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mike Pence
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within Vermont
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise Paul Ryan
as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Gina Raimondo
as Governor of Rhode Island
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside Vermont
Succeeded by
Matt Bevin
as Governor of Kentucky