The Debate on Socialism

I ran into a friend the other day, and the first words out of his mouth were “Since when did the Democratic party become Socialist?” My short answer was — they haven’t. They’re they same old corporatist, center-right party they’ve been for years. It’s just that Republicans, seizing on the rhetoric of Bernie Sanders and a few others, have decided that socialism is the Democrats’ Achilles heel and so they’re making a big issue of it. Oddly enough, however, this could turn out to be a good thing. By drawing attention to it, they’ve opened a debate that’s been dormant for decades.


Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting 2019

Representative Town Meeting 2019

Brattleboro Representatives are holding their Representative Town Meeting. The crowd is slowly gathering at the gym, where those elected will be talking town and school business for most of the day. Will they approve an extra 1% local option tax? Will there be surprises, twists, and turns? We will find out.

The Town portion of business  comes first, and there are a number of preliminary formalities to endure before actual business begins.


Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting District Caucuses

Brattleboro Districts 1 & 3 will caucus just prior to Representative Town Meeting on Saturday, March 23 at Brattleboro Union High School beginning at 8:00 AM in the Gym. Representative Town Meeting begins at 8:30 AM.  District 1 will be accepting nominations to fill and appoint one town meeting member seat for 1 year. District 3 will be accepting nominations to fill and appoint one town meeting member seat for 1 year.


For Irish Freedom & Working Class Power!

“If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.”

-James Connolly, Irish Republican & Labor Leader


Brattleboro Town Schoolboard Informational Forum and District Caucuses

Brattleboro Town Schoolboard will hold a pre-representative town meeting information forum on Wednesday, March 20 at Green Street School beginning at 6:30 PM in the Gym.  At 6:00 p.m., town meeting members of each district will be available to meet with constituents to offer residents an opportunity to share their views and discuss articles to be voted on at the annual meeting.  Also, at that time, Districts 1 and 3 will be accepting nominations to fill town meeting member vacancies for 1 year.


Opposed to 1% Local Option Sales Tax

I would like to thank our Town Meeting Reps and the Brattleboro Selectboard for reviewing and reconsidering the support of the 1% Local Option Sales Tax. 

I would like to express my opposition to this as a resident that has owned and operated small businesses here in Brattleboro spanning over the last 13 years. At this point it is no secret that running a business in Southern Vermont is a very difficult thing to do. And yes, it may seem that one penny on one dollar or bringing the Brattleboro sales tax from 6% up to 7% may not be a big deal but it really is. Right now, with every business in town competing with online retailers like Amazon, or watching potential customers go across the river to tax free New Hampshire, I feel strongly that this is not a beneficial option for the town nor to the businesses in Brattleboro.


Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting Informational Forum and District Caucuses

Brattleboro Town Selectboard will hold a pre-town meeting information forum on Wednesday, March 13 at Academy School beginning at 7:00 PM. Representative Town Meeting articles will be discussed, including the budget, and the bond issue.  At 6:30 p.m., town meeting members of each district will be available to meet with constituents to offer residents an opportunity to share their views and discuss articles to be voted on at the annual meeting.  Also, at that time, all three districts will be accepting nominations to fill town meeting member vacancies for 1 year.


Vermont Town Meeting Day – Empowering Direct Democracy

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.


Debunking Objections to Youth Enfranchisement in Brattleboro and Beyond

Hi. My name is Mark Tully, a resident of Brattleboro. I’ve been helping out the youth leadership of the Brattleboro Youth Vote campaign – which comes to a head in this Tuesday’s town elections with a ballot measure (Article II) that partially enfranchises youth aged 16 and 17. I’ve worked with youth leadership around the country in various political and artistic projects for over 25 years, and continue to do since moving here four years ago.

While monitoring opinions in the local press, and talking to residents during petitioning and community events, there are some common objections that arise.


Selectboard Candidate Interview – Oscar Heller

Oscar Heller

Another in our series of 2019 selectboard candidate interviews, this time with Oscar Heller who is running for a one-year seat.

Give us a brief biography – who are you? What do you do?

Hi! I’m Oscar.

I was born in New York, but when I was 14 my parents picked a summer camp at random off the internet. That camp was Camp Waubanong in Brattleboro. I spent most of the next dozen summers in Vermont. In 2014 I moved here for good. I live on Elliot Street, just before the park, with my girlfriend Jessie and our two cats.


Selectboard Candidate Interview – Tim Wessel

Wessel Family

We continue our series of interviews with candidates for Selectboard, this time with Tim Wessel, the only incumbent and a three-year seat candidate.

Give us a brief biography – who are you? What do you do?

Hi, I’m Tim! I’m a father to a 29 year old AND a 13 month old, which is crazy and strange and pretty darned wonderful too. I work for myself running Vermont Films, a video production company here in Brattleboro, and I spend my work life shooting and editing films for many different clients, both local and national. Many people saw my appearance on House Hunters on HGTV a few years back, and I also work in production for that show about once a month, usually traveling to do so. My wife and I just celebrated our second wedding anniversary, and the first birthday of our son.


Selectboard Candidate Interview – Daniel Quipp

daniel quipp

Next in our series of interview with Brattleboro Selectboard candidates is Daniel Quipp, running for a one-year seat.

Give us a brief biography – who are you? What do you do?

I’m originally from Wales and married to a person who grew up in Newfane. I have been coming to Brattleboro since 2004 and have lived here since 2014. I’m currently a crisis fuel worker with SEVCA and just started a new job with Vermont Interfaith Action working in Windham and Bennington counties.


Selectboard Candidate Interview – Elizabeth S. McLoughlin

Read on for our selectboard candidate interview with Elizabeth McLoughlin, who is running for a one-year seat on the board. 

Give us a brief biography – who are you? What do you do?

My husband, Tom and I moved to Brattleboro in 2007, after 20 years of visiting relatives here in town, and we opened two small businesses. The younger of our two daughters, Mary, attended BUHS.  I opened a consulting business 10 years ago. With 30 years of experience, as an environmental planner,  I prepare environmental permits, and write environmental impact statements. 


Selectboard Candidate Interview – Rikki Risatti

rikki risatti

It’s time once again for selectboard candidate interviews. All candidates have been emailed questions and we’ll put up answers as they come in.

First up, running as a write-in candidate for selectboard, is Rikki Risatti.

Give us a brief biography – who are you? What do you do?

As an Artist, Educator, and Supreme Court Litigant: I advocate with Public Liberation Unions. I have had to wear many hats. 


Brattleboro Early and Absentee Ballots Available

Early/absentee ballots for the Brattleboro Annual Town and Town School District Meeting to be held March 5, are now available in the Brattleboro, Town Clerk’s office. Anyone wishing to vote prior to March 5 may apply for an early/absentee ballot until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 4.

Early/absentee ballots may be voted in person in the Clerk’s office, mailed to the voter by the Clerk’s office, picked up by the voter, or if a voter is in need can be delivered to the voter’s residence by two Justices of the Peace. All voted ballots must be received by the Clerk before the polls close on election day in order to be counted. For more information or to request an early/absentee ballot call 251-8157.


The Potential of Limited Self-Government

I and many others in Brattleboro support the Vermont League of Cities and Towns in their proposal to try a pilot program of limited self-government for towns in Vermont. One of the issue articles on my website is about this issue. But the number one question I’ve gotten during my candidacy is summed up by this eloquent iBrattleboro comment by Steven-K Brooks:

“Oscar, you have done well explaining the problem. But about the solution, you have only said that Brattleboro needs more freedom to find other sources of revenue. A real solution must be more than an abstract principle: There must be a practical idea that we can develop. I think that the missing piece of the puzzle in your discussion is that you have not mentioned even one alternative way that Brattleboro could raise revenue. I think it is important for you to offer sound and practical ways that — if unimpeded by restrictions on home rule — Brattleboro could raise needed revenue.”


How’s Hubness Hurting Brattleboro?

Vermont Wheel Club

Having lived in Brattleboro a long time and outside of Brattleboro a short time, I continue to wonder about Brattleboro’s concern about being a “hub town” to surrounding communities.

It comes up in discussion, and the argument is generally that Brattleboro is providing free services to freeloading neighboring towns – they use our services and we aren’t compensated.

It sounds reasonable, but how exactly is Brattleboro going uncompensated? For what?