Democracy Expands in Brattleboro and From Brattleboro

At BCS we’re shouting hallelujah, You can imagine, with the overwhelmong selectboard lawsuits against our homeless shelter it’s great to have this good news. It’s been ten years. Brattleboro is the first city — the only city in America that gives its young people a voice as voters and as elected officials. This may stem the tide of youth moving out of town. We were just talking with Addie Lentzner of the Vermont Youth Lobby. We’re thinking about a state-wide campaign. If we proceed BCS will advocate for full voting membership on school boards.

Young Brattleboro students have a great range of options for political expression. On one hand the student member of the school board is formal but tokenized and not allowed to vote. On the other hand Rio and other Youth Vote workers also disrupted the selectboard and the Heifer Parade to declare a climate emergency. The Youth Vote amendment creates the best option, both formal and powerful, if the young voters choose to own their power.

There have been stops and starts. For examples, it took a year to arrange an essay contest and presentation at the high school for the first campaign in 2014 and 2015. Then the selectboard gave us legal hassles, which we overcame. Then we lost in a tainted election in 2015. The selectboard didn’t offer much resistance in 2018 and 2019, and we won by a huge margin. The campaign coordinator was Rio Daims, assisted by Maya McNeill and Maya King. By 2022 the selectboard board was actually helpful. Lily Charkey and the Selectboard mobilized people but failed to override the governor’s veto.

Thanks to everyone now ! School is the biggest thing in life for most 16- and 17-year olds. They are most interested in controlling that environment. Let’s make it right, because the amendment that Brattleboro approved in 2019 included membership on the school board. Donate, or JOIN US to brainstorm on making the amendment complete and expanding democracy this way across the state.

Brattleboro Common Sense
802 246 7424

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