Listen, Learn, and then Lead

Listen, Learn, and then Lead is not a slogan – it’s my style of leadership as a public servant and for 30 years as a small business owner. These are the leadership principles I will bring to the Governor’s office.

If you’re not familiar with my record, it’s probably because I haven’t held a press conference or hosted a photo op for every proposal, good deed or achievement.

That’s not my style. Politicians generally try to do one of two things – get credit or cast blame. Like Harry Truman said: “You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.” And, as the last several years show, boasting about being bold is not a productive strategy for a governor. The “me first” approach tends to push people away, rather than pull us together. It also increases the level of partisanship in our process, which is already at unhealthy levels.

Listening is more important than talking; and actions speak louder than words. After all, we are elected by the people to do the work they need, not for personal gain or notoriety. By genuinely listening to Vermonters, I have found that constituents have the best ideas and there is almost always a commonsense solution and a bipartisan consensus to be found, even in some of the most complex areas.

My approach to governing and public policy has always been to understand the issues that matter to Vermonters and focus my work on those issues. I make a point to listen and learn everything I can about their goals, struggles and the outcome they are hoping for. Then, I quietly lead the effort by organizing people and resources to develop solutions and meet the needs of Vermonters.

We can get a lot more done when we’re focused on results instead of on who is getting the credit. Whether in the private or public sector, effective leaders look inside themselves to take responsibility and look outside to credit others. This is the leadership Vermonters need and I am that kind of leader.

Serving as Governor is an important responsibility, and that’s why Vermonters deserve to fully understand my leadership style and how it has influenced action over the years of my public service.

Even as a member of the minority party my approach of listening, learning and leading has led to numerous legislative accomplishments, program developments and fiscally responsible changes that I’m proud to have championed. More importantly, I’ve had the privilege of serving thousands of Vermonters along the way – directly assisting about 100 a month as Lt. Governor and more as a State Senator. Vermonters have come to know and trust that I am responsive and that I take action.

Given the opportunity to bring this approach to the Governor’s office, I believe we will restore faith and trust in our state government, strengthen the economy and make Vermont more affordable.

Here are just a handful of examples of some of my quiet accomplishments over the years