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Vermont governor endorsed by state's mayors; Feliciano says no Medicare in single-payer system

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BURLINGTON, Vermont — Vermont Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin hauled in the endorsement Tuesday of all of state's mayors, including Democrats, Republicans and independents.

In a statement distributed following an announcement in downtown Burlington, the governor's campaign said the mayors feel Shumlin has helped them improve their cities.

"Governor Peter Shumlin is a bold, strong leader who tackles Vermont's biggest challenges head-on and seizes our greatest opportunities through innovative efforts," said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, a Democrat.

Shumlin has made supporting and revitalizing the state's downtowns one of the cornerstones of his time as governor.

The two-term incumbent is being challenged by Republican Scott Milne, Libertarian Dan Feliciano and four other candidates.

"Mayors are on the front lines of growing jobs and economic opportunity," Shumlin said. "We have more work to do to ensure all Vermonters have the quality of life and economic security they deserve and I look forward to continuing to work with Vermont's mayors to get that done."

In a separate development Tuesday, Feliciano said he felt Shumlin was trying to "take control" of Medicare benefits as a way to help offset the cost of his proposal for a single-payer health care system. Feliciano claims Medicare benefits would be reduced if they're rolled into a single-payer system.

He was reacting to a report that Vermont officials are seeking a waiver that would require Vermont senior citizens to access Medicare through a single-payer health care system.

"Vermont seniors paid for their Medicare benefits and should continue to access those benefits without interference from the governor's plan," Feliciano said in a statement.

Shumlin's campaign manager Scott Coriell said the governor's single-payer proposal, Green Mountain Care, would do nothing to change Medicare. He said Vermonters "deserve better than a scare tactic from their gubernatorial candidates."

"Seniors will still access care through Medicare as they do today," Coriell said. "In fact, seniors will have the added protection of Green Mountain Care which will serve as supplemental coverage beyond the benefits of Medicare."

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