The recent government shutdown in Washington makes clear that the Republican and Democratic parties are no longer capable of running a functioning government. Nor are they capable of representing working people, or anyone else who does not have a corporate PAC behind them. The two “brand name” parties have proven utterly incapable of solving one of the biggest problems of our time, global warming, which threatens the very future of human life on earth.
But imagine if we had a Progressive Party in every state right now.
Progressives are committed to working to create a better economy for all Vermonters, while promoting a safer and cleaner planet, and we work strategically to advance these issues.
From Church Street Marketplace and Burlington’s public waterfront (created and supported by Progressives in the 1980s) to shepherding the country’s first single-payer healthcare system through the Legislature in Montpelier, Progressives have worked hard to fight for the interests of working families and those with limited resources. Once we promote these issues and they become popular, they are often co-opted by other parties, and then enacted.
Progressives continue to be effective in the Vermont Legislature far beyond our numbers, working tirelessly on behalf of middle-income, working Vermonters, who otherwise would have little voice in Montpelier. We keep the conversations focused on the issues that matter to real Vermonters: on the need for affordable, universal health care and lower cost prescription drugs; on the damage done by outsourcing jobs and the need for a truly livable wage; on creating a sustainable economy and opposing budget cuts that hurt working people; on saving our family farms, supporting collective bargaining, labeling GMOs, developing renewable energy, decriminalizing marijuana, creating a fair tax system, keeping our utilities tightly regulated, closing Vermont Yankee, and more.
In the near future, we will also be focusing on banning direct corporate donations to candidates and parties, divesting Vermont's tax revenues from the fossil fuel industry, and creating a state bank, so that we can get our money out of Wall Street and instead use it to invest in Vermont’s local economy, infrastructure, and state colleges.
In the fourteen years since the Progressive Party was officially established, we have elected seventeen people to the Vermont Legislature, who have collectively served a total of fifty-two terms.
Since 1982, Progressives in Burlington have elected thirty-six people to the City Council, for a total of seventy-three terms, and three Mayors, for a total of thirteen terms.
For the past twelve years, I have been privileged to be State Chair of one of the most effective organizations for change in Vermont and across the country, but now it’s time for me to take on a different role.
Largely because we have focused on the core issues of economic and environmental justice – and because we stick to our principles, win or lose – we have attracted many young people to run for office, and to take on leadership roles on campaigns and within our party structure.
I am very pleased to find that after three decades of activism, we now have active and competent leadership across multiple generations. For that reason, I am excited to be able to step down as Chair of the party with full confidence that there are many smart, capable, younger people who will step up and provide new leadership, energy and ideas. I look forward to working with all of them.