by Nathan Empsall, Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 07:18:53 PM EDT
Matt Dunne is a Democratic candidate for Governor of Vermont, a state that hasn’t had a Democratic Governor since Howard Dean but offers an open seat this year. Although Matt is running in a competitive primary with several other qualified progressives, he is on MyDD’s Going on Offense Act Blue page. After getting to know him in 2006, I believe he’s the right candidate for the race and the right man for the job, and I hope you can help him out.
I’ll run through his broad support and stalwart progressive platform tomorrow – a platform that has earned him the endorsement of climate hero Bill McKibben – but it’s his background that makes him the best general election candidate. Any Democratic nominee in this state will be a progressive, so primary voters need to make sure they pick one whose background can match the GOP opponent. (Lt. Governor Brian Dubie is a commercial pilot, farmer, and veteran.)
Although Matt is only 40, his resume is one of the most impressive you’ll ever see, delving into academia, business, technology, service, and policy all. You could even throw in agriculture, since he grew up and still lives on his family’s 100-acre farm. He’s also a proud father of three (seriously, ask him to show you photos, you’ll never see a bigger smile), including a newborn son less than two months old.
Business and Technology: Matt is currently Google’s Manager of Community Affairs, and helped to persuade the company to relent on its secrecy policies and reveal the locations of its servers. He has previously worked as Director of Marketing for a local software company and helped manage the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, VT.
Service: Matt was Director of AmeriCorps VISTA under both Presidents Clinton and Bush. He based his 2006 campaign for Lt. Governor around “service politics,” asking his supporters to participate in service projects rather than traditional rallies. After the campaign he founded the Service Politics Institute.
Politics and Policy: Matt was the youngest person ever elected to the Vermont State Legislature when he was just 22. He served for six years, and after leaving to head AmeriCorps returned for four more years as a State Senator. According to his website, he “advanced legislation to drive the development of regional technology incubators, streamlined regulations and encouraged foreign companies to locate in Vermont... Matt successfully fought efforts to cut healthcare to the poor, increased funding for individual development accounts, pushed for federal recognition of Vermont's civil union policy, gave veterans preference for state jobs and promoted incentives to encourage the production and use of clean, renewable energy.” Matt's concern for and the poor led him to support the pre-scandal John Edwards in the 2004 and 2008 primaries. He left the state senate to become the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 2006, and though he narrowly lost, he significantly outperformed the party's gubernatorial nominee, meaning a lot of independent voters split their ticket to support Matt Dunne.
Academia: Matt served as Associate Director of Dartmouth’s College Nelson Rockefeller Center for Public Policy from about 2002 to 2006. This is where I met him – I was very involved at the Rockefeller Center during my time at Dartmouth, and when he stepped down to run for Lt. Gov., several of us in the College Democrats regularly volunteered for his campaign. Matt founded the Policy Research Shop at Rocky, helping students learn how to effectively research and present public policy to the Vermont and New Hampshire state legislatures. He also grew up the child of a professor and is one of the smartest people you’ll ever meet.
Matt is tied for second in fundraising in the crowded Democratic field and has reached all of his publicized fundraising goals so far. Please help him out at ActBlue. His resume and 2006 showing prove he’s the man to beat Dubie this fall and pick up at least one new statehouse in a tough election year.