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VERMONT DEMOCRATS

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February 2023 Newsletter

NEWS FROM CHAIR ANNE LEZAK

I’m writing this as I enter my final two weeks as VDP Chair. This has been an intense, rewarding, unforgettable year and a half.


Throughout my time as Chair, I have been buoyed by so many who provided wise guidance and support throughout. I can’t even count the number of times I requested and received valuable advice and ideas that helped me with every aspect of the work. This includes legislators and candidates, State Committee members, County and Town chairs, long-time Democratic activists I’ve known for years, and emerging new leaders.


I leave with pride in all we accomplished together since November, 2021 and I’m confident that the Vermont Democratic Party will continue to be a strong, positive force for good in our state. I am especially proud of the following achievements:


  • Our unprecedented election success up and down the ballot: Exciting, can-do leaders in U.S. Sen. Peter Welch and U.S.Rep. Becca Balint, in our terrific statewide office-holders, and among our historic number of Democratic House members and in the State Senate, which retains its lopsided Democratic majority.

  • The VDP’s internal strength: A small but mighty year-round staff, led by highly skilled and passionate Executive Director Jim Dandeneau; a stable and well-organized party infrastructure (special thanks to VDP Treasurer Deb Berryrere); and ambitious, meaningful strategies to ensure a strong, sustainable VDP.

  • Energized, engaged Vermont Democrats: Large numbers of Democrats campaigned, attended candidate events, participated in county and town Democratic happenings, and donated funds; and many hundreds of you joined our keynote events, including our large, joyous election night celebration.


My heartfelt thanks to all of you. I know I'm leaving you in good hands.


UPDATE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

We’re a month into the new year, and the staff at the VDP has been in heavy planning mode since the holidays wrapped. We have set three goals for ourselves this year:

  • To raise the level of political engagement in our communities.

  • To raise the level of political skill in our elected officials

  • And to raise the level of professionalism and ability in potential Democratic campaign staff and volunteers.


We’re confident that these three goals will improve the overall health and stability of the party heading into a potentially chaotic, difficult 2024 election cycle. We’re already hard at work supporting municipal candidates from Vernon to Enosburg, working with town and county chairs to identify local candidates and improve our data infrastructure. And from there, we’re going to work hard to be everywhere: we want to make the VDP a positive, regular presence in all Vermonters’ lives.


We’ve been meeting with county and town chairs throughout the municipal election process, and we’re going to keep that up. But we also want to make sure we have an open door to help you, which is why we’re rolling out office hours. Every Monday at 8:30, I’ll have an open Zoom link and be at my desk. Feel free to drop in and ask questions about anything the VDP or our town and county committees do, and how we can help. And the rest of the team will have links for their office hours below.


We want to help. We have lots of ideas, but your feedback is really important, so please tell us your thoughts!



MUNICIPAL ELECTION UPDATE

Over the past few weeks, the Vermont Democratic Party’s municipal field operation has been busy at work in Burlington. In the Queen City’s Central and East District, our paid canvassers have been introducing candidates Avery Muzikar and Tim Doherty to voters and talking about some of the biggest issues affecting their neighborhoods such as the affordable housing crisis and public safety. Additionally, volunteers and student interns have been especially engaging students on the University of Vermont’s campus and surrounding neighborhoods to support Hannah King’s run in the Ward 8 special election.


With just over three weeks left until Town Meeting Day, and a few days until ballots are all mailed to voters across the city, our operations are only continuing to grow as we engage neighbors across the city and get out the vote!



LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

The Legislature is hard at work delivering on promises from the campaign trail. The House has already passed a budget adjustment that helps protect people experiencing homelessness and farmers, as well as passing critical protections for people seeking abortions, their doctors, and their allies. The Senate has introduced big ticket items expanding pre-K, protecting us from climate change, and outlawing the terrifying paramilitary training camps that far right domestic terrorists like to practice in.


It’s still early, but this is shaping up to be one of the most consequential legislative years in history, and our legislators need your support. Make sure you’re telling them that you’ve got their back as they try and fix all of these crises that are hitting us all at once. Respond to this email, and we’ll be sure to pass along your comments to the right place.


COMMUNICATIONS UPDATE

We have shared a lot on our socials about our current legislative session, policy updates, and our responses to Phil Scott’s annual budget speech. Check them out Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and make sure to follow us for updates on the session and VDP events!

And make sure to check our website for news updates from the VDP, like our release on Phil Scott’s Health Care Plan.


If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about communications, feel free to email me at ebowers@vtdemocrats.org!




DATA UPDATE

Deepest thanks to everyone who is running, knocking on doors, and supporting municipal candidates! (And extra special thanks to those of you logging your every door knock and phone call in VAN).


If you or someone you know would like to hear more about VAN pricing and access for local campaigns, please email at me klapp@vtdemocrats.org.


As always, we are offering Data Director Office Hours and VAN 101 & 102 Trainings each week. If you have VAN questions, please do drop in!


UPCOMING EVENTS


Save the date! Curtis-Hoff Dinner: Friday, May 12 - Details coming soon


Office Hours:

VDP Executive Director Jim Dandeneau: Mondays, 8:30-9:30 am

VDP Data Director Kate Lapp: Mondays, 4-5 pm

VDP Communications Director Emily Bowers: Thursdays, 2-3 pm

VDP Finance Director Shelden Goodwin: Every other Tuesday 4:30pm-5:30pm


Saturday, February 18, 2023, 9-10 am: Special State Committee meeting to elect interim chair

Monday, February 20, 2023, 7:30-9 am: Orange County Dems Legislative Breakfast, Vermont Technical College, Randolph.

Thursday, February 23, 2023, 6-8 pm: Annual Speaker’s Soiree, Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier. For more information or tickets, click here.

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