By David Van Deusen, District Vice President of the VT AFL-CIO
March 5th, 2019, Cabot VT -Today, the first Tuesday of March, is Town Meeting Day in Vermont. While a community may have many Town Meetings during the year, this is the one day when every community has a Town Meeting all at once. And here, all the citizens collectively act as the legislative branch of the local government. One citizen, one vote. Unlike in the rest of the United States, towns in Vermont have the right to conduct all their government business from the floor of the Town Meeting.
I attended my first “real” Town Meeting today. It was the Newfane, VT Town Meeting, held at Williamsville Hall. Previously, I’ve been both a representative and a constituent in Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting system. This is the first time I could attend, or not, without needing to be elected first.
Williamsville Hall is right down the road, so I took advantage of the sunny day and walked. Along the way a neighbor caught up with me and we arrived together, went inside and found seats.
I have taught in Brattleboro public schools for over 25 years. Our two children went to Brattleboro schools, BAMS and BUHS. Even though I retired from teaching in June of 2018 I continue to contribute to area schools and to speak out for quality public education. I am committed to promoting equal access to a quality education for children of all abilities. I have lived in this town for over 30 years and believe I have a sense of our community values… diversity, creativity, compassion, sustainability.
It’s Representative Town Meeting Day in Brattleboro.
Representatives are filing in and getting settled, as are those of us who plan on covering today’s event. I have to say, I’m pretty tired from all the work on the new site, so I especially apologize in advance for spelling errors and such.
Usually, however, as they get into the more interesting debates of the day, this becomes less of a chore and more fun. I’m counting on it today.
I urge support for Article 13, Skatepark funding. The emotional arguments against a skatepark are reminiscent of arguments against dance halls in the 30’s, pool tables in the 40’s and bowling alleys in the 50’s. Kids are going to hang out somewhere. In my neighborhood, it was a 6′ plywood pool table in our basement; mom and dad upstairs; not exactly supervised, but ever-present. A skatepark is a relatively contained area more easily supervised than a dead-end dirt road in the woods.