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VERMONT DEMOCRATS

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January 2023 Newsletter


THANK YOU SENATOR LEAHY!

After decades of service, Senator Patrick Leahy has officially retired from the United States Senate. The VDP sends our sincerest thanks to Senator Leahy for all his hard work and dedication to promoting Democratic values and bettering our beautiful state. His impact will last for generations to come.


NEWS FROM CHAIR ANNE LEZAK

Here's to 2023!

It's been inspiring to see the fruits of our labors in the statehouse this week. The capitol building is bustling and I've seen many of the folks you all worked so hard to elect. Wednesday, I attended the opening day of the Vermont House, while others from the VDP went to the opening of the Senate. Yesterday I was there for the swearing-in of statewide electeds.


What a welcome contrast with the chaos of the Republican circus in D.C. it was to watch Rep. Jill Krowinski be unanimously voted in as House Speaker! We celebrate her, Sen. Philip Baruth's new role as Senate President Pro Tem (also on a unanimous vote), and the many new and returning members, along with Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, Treasurer Mike Pieciak, Secretary of State Sarah Copeland Hanzas, Attorney General Charity Clark, and Auditor Doug Hoffer.


Now we are on to the March 7 local elections. We hope that many Democrats will step up to run for Select Board/City Council and School Board and that the rest of us will do what it takes to help them succeed. Filing deadline: Monday, Jan. 30.


These positions matter more than ever, as we know that right-wing extremists are pushing their divisive, narrow-minded agendas in towns and cities across the country, including here in Vermont. If you’d like VDP help, please reach out to Jim Dandeneau, our Executive Director, at jdandeneau@vtdemocrats.org.


VDP AFFINITY CAUCUSES

The VDP’s affinity caucuses have begun their work to make the VDP a more welcoming, inclusive party that more effectively supports people from underrepresented backgrounds as they join our party and seek to effect critical change across Vermont.


To join our Disability Caucus, email Asher Edelson at divinums@gmail.com.

To join our LGBTQI+ Caucus, email Isaac Evans-Frantz at isaac@isaacforvermont.com.

To join our BIPOC Caucus, email Matthew LeFluer at hello@vtreleafcollective.org.

If you’d like to start an affinity caucus not listed here, please email Jim Dandeneau at jdandeneau@vtdemocrats.org.


LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Last week the House and Senate convened for the start of the 2023-2024 legislative biennium. House Members and Senators were sworn in under the Golden Dome, the Senate President Pro Tempore and Speaker of the House were nominated and elected, committee assignments were distributed, and the session was officially launched smoothly and respectfully; a stark contrast to what was happening in Washington, DC.

Rep. Jill Krowinski (Burlington, Chittenden-16) returned as Speaker of the House and Sen. Phil Baruth (Burlington, Chittenden-Central) was unanimously elected Senate President Pro Tempore.

Rep. Emily Long (Newfane, Windham-5) will serve again as House Majority Leader with Rep. Kathleen James (Manchester, Bennington-4) as Assistant Majority Leader.

Sen. Alison Clarkson (Woodstock, Windsor) will serve again as Senate Majority Leader with Sen. Andrew Perchlik (Montpelier, Washington) as Assistant Majority Leader.

With the amount of turnover in both the House and Senate this year, about a third in each chamber, each committee also has new faces. For a full list of House Committees, Chairs, Vice Chairs, and members, please find that here. For a full list of Senate Committees, Chairs, Vice Chairs, and members, please find that here.

To watch a livestream of the House floor sessions, please find that here. To watch a livestream of the Senate floor sessions, please find that here.


MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS UPDATE

This past December, the Burlington City Council received a Democratic plurality after Maea Brandt won a special election for the East District. Through a robust field operation led by the Vermont Democratic Party, canvassers and volunteers braved early nightfalls and winter weather to spend their weekends going door-to-door to talk to Burlington voters about local issues they care about and to inform them about Maea’s campaign. Ultimately, this hard work saw a large turnout at the polls, and a 55% victory against two other candidates in the first ranked-choice election in Burlington in over a decade!


Even though Maea made it to City Council in this special election, there is still more hard work to be done as her seat, and four other seats, are on the ballot for Town Meeting Day this spring. Besides just returning back to the East District, the VDP will be working with Democratic candidates across Burlington’s three other districts and in another special election in Ward 8.


DATA UPDATE

Municipal elections are almost here, and reorg is on its way! Don’t forget that town and county chairs have access to Votebuilder, a crucial tool in organizing and campaigning.

Data Director Office Hours - Have questions about VAN, voter contact or other data-related issues? Sign up and pop into Kate's office hours anytime to walk through them together.

  • Mondays from 4-5pm ET*

  • Thursdays from 3-4pm ET*

Votebuilder 101 - In these trainings, we'll go over the VDP's voter file portal -- called "Votebuilder" (or "VAN") -- and the various ways in which we use it to track voter information, organize volunteers, and help our candidates get across the finish line.

  • Tuesdays from 5:30-6:30pm ET*

Votebuilder 102 - This training is intended as the second part of the VDP Votebuilder training series; please complete the VDP Votebuilder 101 training first.

  • Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30pm ET*

* Recurring training times subject to change to accommodate holidays and conflicts.


VDP CALENDAR


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


Thursday, January 26: Senate Caucus Fundraiser - Caledonia Spirits, 116 Gin Lane, Montpelier 6:30-7:30 pm. For more information, click here.

Saturday, January 28: VDP January State Committee Meeting. For more information, click here.


2023 State Democratic Meeting Schedule

Meetings every other month on the 3rd Saturday with two exceptions.

Jan. 28 (4th Saturday)

March 18

May 20

July 15

Sept. 23 (4th Sat. due to Rosh Hashanah the Saturday before)

Nov. 18 - State Reorg

For now, meetings will be 9-11AM via Zoom. We will likely hold at least one meeting at an outdoor location in the warmer months.







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