FAQ

Who are you?

I am Peter Duval, and I am an independent candidate for governor of Vermont. More about me here.

Why are you running for governor?

I am running because Red & Blue teams are not getting the job done. Vermont has fallen behind in meeting weak climate goals set decades ago. Since then, the ecological problem has worsened dramatically. And sprawl continues to chew up Vermont's open space. Yet Vermont dithers with over-elaborate technology substitution programs that are too-little-too-late. And they seem to have made a pact to deliberately ignore greenhouse gas emissions from biomass energy.

Red & Blue teams play ping pong for political power using the same rhetoric: ‘climate crisis’, ‘housing crisis’, ‘demographic crisis’, etc. Both teams lose the ball. Vermont needs to break out of that game and echo chamber, to think differently about its problems and opportunities. I am running to change the language and ideas of the political debate, to expand our ways of thinking.

What policies will you pursue to promote social and racial justice in our state?

This question was asked by the League of Women Voters. The short version is available at their voter guide, Vote411.org.

Short Answer

Problems in transportation, housing, and government operation affect everyone, especially visible minorities and indigenous groups. Everyone benefits when we address systemic racism.

Transportation: Traffic is an environmental justice problem while traffic stops are ineffective and dangerous. Automation and road redesign would reduce vehicle damage, traffic casualties, and pollution, with significant fuel and cost savings.

Housing: It’s tempting to say “upzone” to increase density, but zoning created the problem. Decoupling development rights from land may be the way forward.

Government Operations: Bureaucracy can frustrate anyone, but it is worse for those of us without resources.

Problems in transportation, housing, and government operation affect everyone, especially visible minorities and indigenous groups. Everyone benefits when we address systemic racism.

Extended Answer

TRANSPORTATION

Traffic is an environmental justice problem, while traffic stops are ineffective and dangerous.

We know that speed kills and traffic is an environmental justice problem. We also know that police speed enforcement is ineffective while disproportionately putting police and the public at risk. Updating traffic management to slow motor vehicles would improve pedestrian safety and relieve the police of traffic duties. Automation and road redesign would reduce vehicle damage, traffic casualties, and pollution, with significant fuel and cost savings.

Some examples of fast actions that can be taken:

(1) Automate traffic enforcement (speed cameras, weigh-in-motion, etc.)

(2) Reduce limited access highway speeds to 55mph, strictly enforced (transit speed unlimited; real-time rideshares can probably also be allowed a higher limit).

(3) Lower speeds to 30 kph/20mph in designated downtown/village districts, known as “Tempo 30” in some places.

We know traffic signals are killers (and waste energy and equipment). Therefore:

(4) Convert signal-controlled intersections to modern roundabouts (Vermont can do this quickly with temporary modifications at many intersections).

HOUSING

High housing costs, NIMBYism, and bias against multifamily housing are integral to systemic racism. It’s tempting to say “upzone” to increase building density and presumably make more housing available. But zoning created the problem, and more zoning is unlikely to fix it. Vermont’s history of constrained zoning has made zoning changes a matter of financial gifts & takings worsened by inefficient, prescribed land use.

Decoupling development rights from land may be the way forward. Development rights could be fairly and permanently separated from the land. Once development rights are available for use wherever appropriate, environmental performance will increase. The process becomes: “this is what we would like to build here, and we already know how much we will spend (or earn) at the development rights bank to build it,” instead of “this is what we must build to pay back the land-use gamble by soaking up all of the zoning potential on this parcel.”

It’s a big move, but so was Act 250. Deane Davis never implemented the state land use plan. It’s late, but it’s never too late to finish the job, and with the benefit of history, it can be a job well done. I support policies to:

(1) Explore a statewide development rights bank that would facilitate infrastructure consolidation and retreat from wilderness while enabling effective, car-free, compact settlement;

(2) Eliminate the development review board approach to interpreting local regulation;

(3) Expand inclusionary zoning and shared appreciation, familiar strategies that can be implemented statewide as part of statewide building codes;

(4) Further standardize zoning definitions and language. Shrink, simplify, and clarify the scope of regulations; and,

(5) Standardize compliance presumptions, with a regular process for updating presumptions.

Cost, adequate standard of living, durability, and #realzero are issues that need to be addressed.

What will you do to support a vibrant economy in our state?

This question was asked by the League of Women Voters. The short version is available at their voter guide, Vote411.org.

Short Answer

I would observe Vermont's policy to use the Genuine Progress Indicator to describe the state of the economy. (Act 113 of 2012)

Our economy exists within – and depends upon – its ecosystem. Therefore, attention first goes to planetary boundaries and the urgent need to return half of Vermont to wilderness, consolidating infrastructure and services for a more efficient and effective economy. The ‘Nordic Model’ of capitalism and universal services, and steady-state economics would guide my planning and decision-making.

End dithering, add two years to the existing education system, preK-13, while expanding on existing alternative pathways – ensure equitable opportunity in education.


What are the most important challenges facing our state, and how do you propose to address them?

This question was asked by the League of Women Voters. The short version is available at their voter guide, Vote411.org.

Short Answer

Vermont is dependent on its natural environment for myth, brand, and economy. Elements include sugaring, reliable snow, winter sports, fall foliage, and temperate summers. We depend on a Holocene climate and stable ecosystems.

Already, greenhouse gas emissions should be negative, and a retreat from wilderness should be underway to address biodiversity loss, carbon sequestration, and more. The ecological problem must be seen as a whole. Short-term, I would focus on food self-sufficiency and energy conservation – organized and substantial – addressing inflation, the war in Ukraine, and climate. Long-term, our way of living must be examined.


What Vermont traditions do we need to preserve in the Green Mountain State?

This question was asked by the Brattleboro Reformer. The short answer was published in the Reformer's election guide.

Short Answer

Open primary voting is a Vermont tradition that needs exercise to be meaningful. With open primaries, the PeterForVermont.Earth fusion campaign seeks write-in votes – “Peter Duval” for Governor – on all primary ballots. And for voters who care most about our environment, writing in “Peter Duval” for Governor on the Progressive Party ballot is an effective vote to keep Earth front and center in Vermont politics.

Vermont’s billboard ban is another tradition that needs to be refreshed. I pledge to never, ever print lawn signs, which are distracting roadside blight. Even though the Secretary of Transportation regularly warns them, it seems like every candidate illegally places signs along our roads. When politicians break the law, it sets an example for the rest of us. I would work to restore respect for Vermont’s Sign Law. [10VSA495(d)]

Half of the Earth, including half of Vermont, needs to be restored to wilderness. I didn’t decide that; smart people who know ecosystems — like E.O. Wilson — determined that. Everyone who visits the west coast of Vermont looks across Lake Champlain at one of the best examples of wilderness restoration on the planet, Adirondack Park. It would be my job to make that happen in Vermont. Fortunately, that is also the way toward a sustainable, steady economy as we prune uneconomical infrastructure. And it would help restore Vermonters’ liberty to roam on foot, termed ‘hunt and fowl’ in Vermont’s 1777 constitution, a tradition that predates settlement and reflects Vermonters’ understanding of the importance of the natural environment.

Of all the Vermont traditions, progress toward ‘inhabitant’ suffrage may be the most important. So, become an informed voter and, on August 9 and November 8, wield that power. Vote!

Extended Answer

2-year terms for state level offices is a tried and true process that shortens campaigns. It provides for a complete dissolution and reconstitution of the government. Routine inspection of a candidate's record is more deliberate and less disruptive than long terms, which invite recall elections that undermine democracy.



What are the three most important issues or challenges going forward and how would you address them?

This question is frequently asked by reporters. I suppose that it makes sense if you are trying to cram some words into a few column-inches. Today, bits are too cheap to meter. I don't think this should be reporters' favorite question. I mean, would you really understand the full potential of pizza if you were only ever sold a cheese slice or two?

One of the planks of this campaign is to alter the clichéd rhetoric of Vermont politics. It's important to not reduce or oversimplify a complex or complicated problem. Yet there are simple solutions for overlapping or complex problems. Computer scientists work with complicated challenges every day. I would use that training to look for simple, comprehensive solutions to seemingly isolated problems. Livable wage, grade 13, and parent stipends have good potential to resolve multiple issues now, not in ten years.

The PeterForVermont.Earth campaign looks for underlying problems and connections. One example: our consumption connects many ‘crises’ and the war in Ukraine. Every time Vermonters fill up a tank (car, home, or farm), our demand for oil increases its price, affecting all global commodities and increasing inflation. That puts money in Putin’s pocket. Through coordinated conservation, we could reduce fuel use while doing less to prop up Russia. We did it before and can do it again. I would lead the state government to make that effort – right now.

I am running on an ecology platform with Nordic Model economics and social policy.