A Veto Proof Majority…

Cabot, Vermont -In 2017 they told us, “we can’t do right by working Vermonters because we don’t have the votes to override the Governor’s veto.” Then we gave them enough votes to do just that… And on Friday the Vermont Speaker of the House sought to adjourn without achieving a livable wage.  Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Vermonters continue to labor 40-60 hours a week at poverty wages (many thousands without healthcare).  And throughout the five months during which the General Assembly was in session, they could not even be bothered to hold one single hearing on card check (S.36).  But this should not come as a surprise…


Press Release: Picket Lines To Meet Scott Walker In Burlington On May 30

Montpelier, VT, 5/10/19 -The Vermont Republican Party has invited Wisconsin’s former union-busting Governor, Scott Walker, to speak at a fundraiser in Burlington’s Hilton Hotel on May 30. On April 26, AFSCME-Vermont called for Scott Walker to be met with labor/community picket lines. To date, 22 VT labor unions (representing over 17,000 union members) have endorsed the picket, along with 5 allied community organizations, and 5 political groupings. More endorsements are expected in the coming days.

“To labor unions, woman’s groups, racial justice organizations, and pro-union progressives of all stripes, Scott Walker represents the worst of the worst in terms of the wrong direction the extremist-anti-union-right would like to take our country if given the change. Walker believes workers should have NO collective bargaining rights, that our education system should be privatized, that women should not control their own bodies, and that the wealthiest 1% should receive massive tax cuts (at the price decimating our social services).


Governing by Decree: Presidential Power in the Age of Trump

President Donald Trump

If it seems as though the US President is the boss of the whole world, it’s because in many ways, he is. Presidential powers for modern presidents are prodigious. With the power to impose sanctions and tariffs, control the government through executive orders, and order military action, a determined president can create a lot of geopolitical mayhem.

The most remarkable tool to that end is the economic sanction which is a form of punishment designed to destabilize countries America has strategic interest in by crippling their economies. Most sanctions bind American companies from doing business in the target nation. But recently, there has been a new form of sanction, called a secondary sanction, that aims to prevent any country or individual in the world from doing business with our declared enemy.


Early Voting in Brattleboro – Ballots Available

Early/absentee ballots for the Special School Merger Election to be held May 21, are now available in the Brattleboro, Town Clerk’s office.  Anyone wishing to vote prior to May 21 may apply for an early/absentee ballot until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 20.

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.


AFSCME Local 1343 President Challenges Lawmakers Stand With Us On Card Check, Or You Are Complicit

Montpelier, Vermont 4/3/19 -Vermont AFL-CIO Unions including AFSCME, AFT, IBEW, USW, & PFFV, have been fighting all winter to get legislators to advance H.428 & S.36, card check recognition for public sector workers. The bills were introduced in the House by Progressive Brian Cina, and in the Senate by Democrat/Progressive Phillip Baruth. If passed, card check would establish that whenever a majority of workers sign a Union card in any given public sector shop, their Union would be immediately recognized. Despite Labor’s united front on this issue, the Vermont Senate and House (which is overwhelmingly composed of Democrats) has yet to hold hearings on the bills, let alone move them out of committee.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


A Fresh Face Running for the Brattleboro Town School Board

Dear Brattleboro Voters,

My name is Emily Murphy Kaur and I’m writing to ask your support in my campaign for a one-year term on the Brattleboro School Board. With the merger remaining unconfirmed, we sit at the crossroads of an uncertain future of which my background in teaching, district level policymaking, and grant writing can be uniquely utilized to advocate in support of our community.

Having started my career as a public school teacher of students with significant disabilities, I’ve had a lot of experience working with teachers, school directors, and superintendents, and in building communities that are inclusive and safe places for all students to grow and learn. My work at the school level fostered a strong interest in working at the district level to ensure that teachers and the community have a voice in the broader decision-making process.


Why I’m Running for Selectboard

Hi!

My name is Oscar Heller, and I’m running for a 1-year seat on the Brattleboro Selectboard.

I’m a small business owner and the chair of the Brattleboro Energy Committee. I’ve been coming to Brattleboro for 17 years, and I’ve lived here since 2014. I’m thirty years old, and I hope to bring a fresh perspective to the Selectboard as a young business owner. My two primary areas of focus are bringing a modern, green economy to Brattleboro, and working to address homelessness and drug addiction in our community.