2012 was a great year for the Vermont Progressive Party.
In November, while Republicans lost seats, every Progressive incumbent was reelected: the four members of the Vermont House who ran for reelection and the two members of the Vermont Senate.
We added one new Vermont House member (Cindy Weed of Enosburg, who beat a Republican incumbent) and one new Vermont Senate member (David Zuckerman, who came in 4th in the six-seat Chittenden County district). Now there are three Progressives in the Vermont Senate and seven Republicans.
We also elected the first Progressive to a statewide office ever (not counting Senator Bernie Sanders, who runs as an Independent): Doug Hoffer was elected Vermont Auditor of Accounts as a D/P. Doug is clearly a Progressive in all the ways that matter. So now in Vermont we have one Republican in statewide office and one Progressive.
In the Lieutenant Governor’s race, Cassandra Gekas got 41 percent of the vote against incumbent Phil Scott. She received more votes than Republican Randy Brock got in the Governor’s race, despite spending a fraction of what he spent in that race. Cass ran a great campaign and impressed everyone who heard her at a forum or rally. She articulated a clear Progressive vision for Vermont’s future.
And then there is Ed Stanak. “Don't panic; Vote Stanak” was his radio ad tagline. Ed didn't start running until after the Primary Election because so many of his friends in Labor had backed TJ Donovan. With Bill Sorrell winning the primary, Ed went to work articulating a simple, but powerful, platform to hold Wall Street accountable, close Vermont Yankee, and more. In the end, Ed finished with 6 percent of the vote, enough to qualify us for Major Party status (as did Cass Gekas' results).
Don Schramm held the Progressive banner high in the State Treasurer’s race, after we attempted to persuade Beth Pearce, the Democratic candidate, to talk about the reasons Vermont would like to end our association with Wall Street banks. Don promoted the concept of a Vermont State Bank, and explained the many reasons why Vermont’s economy would benefit from such a move.
It’s clear that the Vermont Progressive Party, the most successful ‘third party’ in the country, continued to grow in 2012, even as the Vermont Republican Party continued its decline. Together, we are standing up against the corporate interests so prevalent in the other political parties – and we are winning.