Election Issues

Burke seeks second term

June 8, 2010, Brattleboro Reformer, Chris Garofalo

BRATTLEBORO -- First-term State Rep. Mollie Burke announced her intention to run again for the Brattleboro District 2 seat.

Burke, a Brattleboro resident for 40 years, was elected for her first term in 2008. She spent the past two years on the House Transportation Committee, "learning the ropes of the entire legislative process" because of the amount of information a new representative has to assimilate.

"In transportation, we deal with failing bridges and aging roads, but we look at the future too," said Burke. "You become versed in mundane matters like truck weights and paving mixes, along with major policy issues like rail improvements, bridge replacements and the infrastructure needs of Vermont towns. It's been a fascinating experience."

As a member of the transportation committee, Burke sponsored a measure giving statutory protection to "vulnerable users" such as pedestrians and bicyclists by requiring motor vehicles to increase clearance and exercise care while passing.

The bill was signed into law on May 12 by Gov. James Douglas.

"Working on this bill taught me so much about how to get a law passed. It all comes down to working with others, both inside and outside of the Statehouse. That is really the essence of what we do up there," she said.

Labor group endorses Racine for Vermont governor

June 7, 2010, Burlington Free Press, Terri Hallenbeck

Vermont's coalition of labor groups voted Sunday to back longtime labor supporters for election, including Democratic Sen. Doug Racine of Richmond, who is in a five-way primary race for governor.

"He resonates with us," Jill Charbonneau, acting president of the Vermont AFL-CIO, said of Racine. "What makes him stand out for me personally is his action around health-care reform. You don't hear him thumping his chest about what he does, but he works hard."

Brattleboro's Edwards seeking her 5th term

June 7, 2010, Brattleboro Reformer

BRATTLEBORO -- Four-term Brattleboro Rep. Sarah Edwards announced she will seek another two-year session in Montpelier.

Edwards, currently serving Brattleboro's District 3 seat, said she will continue to serve as a progressive Democrat because that "represents most of the constituents in the district."

In her eight years serving in the Legislature, Edwards said she has taken the support of the district voters very seriously, and if re-elected, will continue listening to their viewpoints and fairly represent them.

"It has been a privilege to serve District 3, and in a sense all of Brattleboro, at the Statehouse in this capacity."

According to Edwards, health care, education and energy will dominate any legislative talks in the upcoming session. A longtime member of the House Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, Edwards will advocate to maintain her service on that committee, particularity because of her knowledge of energy-related issues.

"I hope to continue to represent the community on natural resources and energy," she said. "Over the past five years, we have done a lot to get to a place that will help get us ready for the renewable energy sector of our energy future. This will not only place us in good standing to create hundreds of new jobs, it will also lead us to a more sustainable, reliable and secure energy future. I want to continue to be a part of that conversation."

Candidates court organized labor

June 5, 2010, WCAX, Alexei Rubenstein

South Burlington, Vermont - June 5, 2010

Vermont labor union leaders are gathering over the weekend for their annual conference and to make endorsements of candidates for this fall's election. Labor officials say health care, job security and other organized labor causes have taken a hit over the past several years and many organizers see this upcoming election as crucial to their cause.

Vermont AFL-CIO Convention

The Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is holding its 54th Convention this weekend at the Holiday Inn in South Burlington. Delegates from Vermont unions representing some 10,000 working members will be listening to and evaluating an array of political candidates for the US Senate, Congress, and all statewide offices from the three major parties.

This will include Progressive Party candidates: Martha Abbott, Candidate for Governor; Marj Power, Candidate for Lt. Governor; Charlotte Dennett, Candidate for Attorney General; as well as Anthony Pollina; and Rep. Susan Davis-Hatch speaking for the Working Vermonters legislative caucus.

The Long Odds of Third Party Politics

The National Institute on Money in State Politics recently released a study called "Third-Party Candidates Face Long Odds."

The two main conclusions I noticed will come as no surprise to followers of the VPP. First, that our political system is stacked to favor only two parties. Second, that the VPP is the most successful alternative to the two party system.

Nationally, candidates identifying themselves as Progressives, or as independents fared much better than candidates running under the Green or Libertarian banner. This supports our model for change, and our focus on state-level, and not federal-level, political change.

Other interesting conclusions are that the benefits of money and incumbency don't help third-party candidates to the same extent as their D and R counterparts. Incumbent Ds and Rs won over 90% of their races; incumbent third-party candidates just over half.

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