By Lisa McCormack
Courtesy of Stowe Reporter
First candidate in 10 years to make attempt
John Bauer, candidate for lieutenant governor, is determined to keep the influence of corporations and large contributors out of his campaign.
The Jeffersonville Democrat is the first Vermont political candidate in 10 years to attempt to qualify for public financing.
This would allow him to serve the people of Vermont without being beholden to corporations or large contributors, he said.
“One of the biggest impediments to solving the problems we face is the influence of money on politics,” Bauer said. “I’m in the 5 percent that believe we can address the influence of money on politics. I’m looking for others who can agree and support me now.”
To qualify for public financing, Bauer must receive $17,500 in contributions from 750 registered voters by Thursday, June 12, with a contribution maximum of $50.
In order to meet that deadline, Bauer started his campaign earlier than most candidates. He recently launched his Every County Counts Tour. It included stops in each of Vermont’s 14 counties during the month of May. Events ranged from house parties to a picnic at Maidstone State Park.
Bauer, 57, has been a Lamoille County resident for 28 years. He works as a sound engineer for the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe. He has two grown daughters, Julie and Annie.
He grew up in Detroit where he learned his trade working with high school bands and at a recording studio. He moved to Vermont after vacationing here in the 1980s.
He’s running for lieutenant governor because “it’s a unique position that can take time to study issues and bring people who aren’t in state government together to discuss them.”
“I’m primarily concerned about economic issues that exist in the country and Vermont,” Bauer said. “Also, climate change isn’t being paid enough attention to, and we need to address water pollution in our state.”
He plans to campaign even if he doesn’t qualify for public financing.
“The issues will still be there,” Bauer said. “The middle class is shrinking … more people are falling into poverty. Vermont may be one of the better states to live in, but that’s not saying much. We can do better.”
He’d like to institute programs that “keep more money in Vermont,” such as a Vermont mutual fund.
“Now, it’s difficult to invest retirement money in Vermont unless you invest in stocks of big companies,” Bauer said.
He’d also like to create intrastate funds that would invest in small Vermont start-ups, which often have trouble obtaining traditional fundraising.
Additionally, he’d like to attract more young families to Vermont.
“Maybe we need a Department of Travel and Tourism and Immigration to get young families to relocate here,” Bauer said. “It’s a really cool place to live.”
Although this is Bauer’s first run for political office, he’s worked on political campaigns. He managed Susan Bartlett’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign and Jeb Spaulding’s first campaign for state treasurer in 2002.
Asked about the popularity of his likely opponent, Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, Bauer said, “I don’t have any name recognition, but I have ideas and a drive toward solutions. I’m offering people a choice.”