Today is Town Meeting Day in Vermont. In Brattleboro, it is “elect your representatives for Representative Town Meeting Day” Day.
It hasn’t always been this way in Brattleboro. From our start until the start of the 1960’s, Brattleboro held regular Town Meeting Days. In the 1960’s residents fought for the right to challenge the change, and even voted to change back to the old system.
If you are curious about this history, take a look at Representative Town Meeting in Brattleboro – Part 1: Origins and Adoption. Then follow it up with a look at Representative Town Meeting in Brattleboro – Part 2: The Reaction and Repeal.
Brattleboro misses out by not participating along with the rest of the state. On Town Meeting Day we vote, then study news from around the state, looking at all the new issues, arguments, and decisions in other locations. We’re left out of celebrating democracy along with fellow Vermonters on a day dedicated to it.
On the other hand, Brattleboro remains unique by holding our own day of representative democracy. What happens here isn’t lost in the mix of state news on Town Meeting Day. We can stand out with our decisions by being different.
Perhaps Representative Town Meeting should propose an experiment – to return to a regular Town Meeting Day for one year only. No need to disband RTM, just move the meeting day up to March 6 and make it known that all residents are welcome to attend, participate and vote in this experiment. Make the necessary motions to allow it to happen. See what happens.