March 2023 Newsletter
NEWS FROM CHAIR DAVID GLIDDEN
Hi all! Let me introduce myself to those of you I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting. My name is David Glidden, and I’m the new VDP Chair. I’m a born and raised Vermonter who has been working in Vermont politics since 2016. I was previously Vice Chair of the party and cannot wait to continue serving Vermont as Chair!
While I am settling into my new role, what is certain is there has been no pause in the work. After being Chair for less than a week, I got to attend our Speakers’ Soiree to celebrate Democrats making history by electing the most LGBTQ folks to Montplier ever, and the incredible legacy of Representative Bill Lippert. While Democrats were doing that, conservatives were continuing their vicious attacks on young LGBTQ people across the country and right here in Vermont.
We cannot take a break from fighting for all Vermonters. In my less than a month in this role we have looked to establish new training partnerships for all VT Democrats to participate in. Our incredible staff have worked with municipal campaigns up and down our state and continue to provide critical training and expertise in their office hours. We saw the success of this on Town Meeting day across the state. Though we also saw why we cannot stop our critical work, while we won historic victories in many towns, the town of Ira voted down its library budget by ONE vote due to conservative hyperbole about drag queen story hour.
My work is just getting started, and I can’t wait to continue to help the party grow and build on all of our successes in the off year. The countdown to 2024 gets shorter every day, and we are working hard to make that election even more successful than our last.
UPDATE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Town meeting marked the end of a thoroughly successful election season for us. Democrats won big in November, for federal and state offices and for the House and Senate; we won big in a special election in Burlington in December; and we did it again this March in races around the state.
This is a testament to our focus and dedication, and to our recognition that we can make peoples’ lives better by getting more good people elected to public office. And now that the election season is (mostly) over, we have a chance to build the durable infrastructure we will need to keep expanding and improving our victories and turn those wins into results for working Vermonters.
The VDP team is committed to providing the resources and support necessary to build strong town and county parties around the state. You’ll notice the listing of staff office hours in our events section. It doesn’t end there. We’ll be traveling around the state over the next month or so to talk with Democratic leaders about how we can best support their work. The first of these will be on Saturday, March 25 at 10:00 am in our Montpelier office, 73 Main Street, Suite 400. If you live driving distance to Montpelier and want to talk with us about what you would like to see from your town, county, or state party, come on by! We’re still finalizing dates and locations for the northern and southern swings, and we’ll update you as soon as we have those locked down.
There’s a lot of work to do for the rest of this year, but with your help, we can make the VDP stronger than it’s ever been.
MUNICIPAL ELECTION UPDATE
Town Meeting Day was a success for Democrats across Vermont, but especially in Burlington where the Democrats gained their first City Council majority in decades. Especially of note were the two races that pushed the Democrats over the edge: Tim Doherty in the East District and Hannah King, who won her Ward 8 special election by a margin of over 40 votes after falling short by nearly the same margin in the prior year.
Beyond the hard work of the candidates and their teams, the Vermont Democratic Party’s field operation played a major role in both of these wins. Over two months, our paid canvassers knocked on thousands of doors and made countless phone calls to Burlington voters on behalf of the candidates, and our student interns made significant strides in registering and organizing University of Vermont student voters in the student-dominated Ward 8. Ultimately the work of this team made all the difference in helping us mobilize Queen City voters, and getting our candidates across the finish line.
The Treasurer’s Office has been working hard to help get legislation passed.Treasurer Pieciak continues to provide testimony regarding the proposed paid family leave program (H.66). The bill as currently drafted has the treasurer’s office administering the program and the focus now is on staffing and costs.10% for Vermont is a program that Treasurer Pieciak is rebooting and plans to roll out publicly in April. This program is designed to lend money from the Senate’s cash balance to programs and organizations in Vermont, specifically those involving housing and climate change response. The current projection of money to lend out is $100 million.
In the Secretary of State’s Office, they had a busy time preparing for Town Meeting Day. SOS Copeland-Hanzas handed out 3,000 copies of a comic book about voting and democracy a week before Town Meeting Day. The comic book is titled Freedom and Unity and legislators sent in lots of requests for copies for their constituents. Her office also delivered certificates of recognition to dozens of municipal officials across Vermont as a thank you for their years of service. These certificates were given to legislators to be handed out during Town Meeting week.