Bruce is back.

Those of you who missed reading the caramelized musings of “Campaign for Vermont’s” Bruce Lisman over the past few months will be pleased to learn that Mr. Lisman has at last emerged from the underbrush.

You can almost imagine him thoughtfully plucking the burrs from his flanks and the twigs from his beard as he considers which way forward.

The ham-handed ways of “Vermonter’s First” may have been a little too outre for his delicate sensibilities; but now that the Vermont GOP is a smoldering ruin, the path lies clear for some lucky fella to breath life into it once again.

Will it be the unimpeachably dull Phil Scott? Or will it be Bruce Lisman himself?

In his newest op-ed, built around the departure of Energizer from the state, Mr. Lisman is clearly at a loss for a cohesive message.

His favorite dog whistle just won’t work for this one, and he knows it.  

Offering grudging praise for Governor Shumlin’s efforts to forstall the company’s departure, he even admits that the “carrot” approach failed to do the trick with Energizer:

It has been reported that Energizer isn’t leaving because of the business climate here. They politely declined relief on electricity costs (among the highest in the nation), or work force training (that has slipped far behind other state’s programs), or economic incentives. And newspapers reported that the governor spoke with Energizer at least twice after their intentions became known. We want our governor to be active with our employers, so that’s good.

He goes on to suggest that the real problem is a lack of outreach by the state businesses beyond its borders.  

I’m sure this is news to the Governor, who undoubtedly prides himself on outreach as he steps into the Chairmanship of the National Governors’ Association.  

Says Lisman:

…no one systematically calls on our largest non-Vermont based employers. No one regularly visits their headquarters; no one builds relationships with key decisions makers about expansion and relocation. We should have a team of people focused on this relationship building activity; individuals who come to understand the company’s needs, what drives their decision making, and how to help when they share their challenges.

So it appears that Mr. Lisman is advocating, in this era of belt-tightening, for creation of yet another layer of bureaucracy, a sales staff devoted solely to massaging  out-of-state employers of Vermont workers.  

Even Mr. Lisman has to admit that this wouldn’t have made one bit of difference to Energizer unless the “massaging” included a guaranteed  workforce of laborers willing to accept third world wages.

Could Mr. Lisman be hinting to the Governor that he might be just the dude to head-up this travelling sales team?  

Or have we finally plumbed the depths of Campaign for Vermont’s idea puddle?

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

8 thoughts on “Bruce is back.

  1. What Mr. Lisman fails to mention, failed to uncover during his research or simply forgot is that under the Dean administration the legislature created a group called the Business Recruitment Commission (or something like that).  This group of Vermont’s leading business men and women was charged with helping the state by employing their skills to sell Vermont as they attended to their respective business throughout the country and beyond.  The design also had them constantly promoting Vermont as a great place to do business and working to keep business in the state.  The group was just getting off the ground when Douglas came into office and presto it was gone.  As Douglas’s term of office came to a close, the group was simply washed out of the law.  So much for Republican strategies for promoting business in Vermont.

  2. Bruce grudgingly (“it has been reported…”)admits that his pet peeves were completely irrelevant to the Energizer decision, but he nonetheless repeats them. And then he suggests that we set up a Department of Corporate Kowtowing that would send emissaries to major employers and cater to their every whim.

    Which also, as Sue points out, wouldn’t have made any difference to Energizer, whose decision was made on the basis of declining battery sales.

    So the Wizard of Wall Street takes advantage of the Energizer news to emit a totally irrelevant op-ed.

    I have to agree with simplify’s comment: if this Bruce were in the crimefighting business, he wouldn’t be out battling supervillains; he’d be advocating policy changes to make Gotham City more business-friendly. Since, as we all know, when job creators’ taxes are lower, they can more effectively compete with illegal enterprises and drive them out of town through the magic of Market Forces. And voila — no more crime.

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