AG Candidates Talk Issues in Johnson

AG DEBATE THUMBJOHNSON - Two candidates are battling for the title of Vermont’s Attorney General.  On September 15, Republican candidate and St. Johnsbury local Deborah Bucknam and TJ Donovan of Burlington for the Democratic party, met at Johnson State College for a debate over the issues.


Bucknam and Donovan spent most of the forum speaking about the heroin epidemic in the Green Mountain State. Donovan calling it the “number one issue” and criticizing the current AG for not doing enough about it. 


Both candidates can agree that there needs to be a program put in place, but have different views on what the program should focus on. 


“Let’s focus on prevention because prevention in the long run is going to be a lot less expensive.” Bucknam said, while Donovan wants to focus on treatment.


There are a wide variety of issues that the next Attorney General will need to face, but the heroin epidemic isn’t the only one both candidates view differently. Even their websites tend to highlight different issues.


Bucknam focuses on “bucking” the present bureaucratic system in Montpelier, putting families first when decision making with the Department of Children and Families and when facing choices dealing with Vermont’s school consolidation law— Act 46. Other issues Bucknam draws attention to are protecting Second Amendment rights and returning control back to local areas from industrial wind projects. 


Issues such as public safety, criminal justice reform, driver restoration and transparency are on Donovan’s agenda. Lastly, opposite views from Bucknam on the Second Amendment. Donovan emphasizes gun violence prevention. He wants to close loopholes in the system, prevent terrorists from purchasing weapons, allow Federal Government to become involved and study the connection between guns and public health. He also wants to establish a Blue Ribbon Commission on the Prevention of Gun Violence in Vermont.


Their different views of the state’s matters may come from their differing backgrounds. Bucknam has worked in the private sector for almost 40 years, while Donovan has been the Chittenden County State’s Attorney for the last 10.