Vermont Town Meeting Day

Huntington Town Meeting 2006
Redjar/Wikipedia

Vermonters come together on Town Meeting Day to elect local officials and decide school budgets.  It’s also a time when residents discuss a number of binding and non-binding questions.  We look at some of the items that came up during Tuesday’s meetings across the state.

John McClaughry is an old hand in Vermont political circles.  The founder of the conservative think tank The Ethan Allen Institute, he served in both the Vermont House and Senate. He worked in Washington in the 1960’s for the late U.S. Senator Winston Prouty and served as a policy advisor in the Reagan White House in the 1980’s.  For 51 years, John McClaughry has also moderated the Town Meeting Day gathering in Kirby, Vermont.  He says one of the nation’s founders is an inspiration behind Vermont’s annual tradition, which is wrapping up this evening.

Former Vermont Governor Jim Douglas
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Today is Town Meeting Day in Vermont, the original and traditional town hall that brings residents of communities across the state together to discuss issues, choose local leaders and decide school budgets.  Former Republican Governor Jim Douglas has moderated the meeting in Middlebury for 31 years, including the years he served as governor.  Now an Executive in Residence at Middlebury College, he explains that the tradition goes back to when the first town in the state was chartered.

Vermont’s Town Meeting Day is quickly approaching. It’s next Tuesday.  The day that personifies democracy in action coincides with the national Super Tuesday primaries this year.  Vermonters are expected to have a heightened interest this year as some schools look at merging and a native son appears on the presidential primary ballot.

Jared Benedict-redjar/Flickr

It is Town Meeting Day in Vermont, a time when school and community budgets are decided and community leaders are chosen in a centuries-old tradition of discussion and debate at town halls across the state.