Progressives Question Scott’s Plan to Merge Departments

Contact: Josh Wronski Executive Director, Vermont Progressive Party (802) 229-0800   Montpelier, VT – Some Progressives are questioning Governor Phil Scott’s executive order combining the Departments of Labor and Commerce.   “Efficiency in government and consolidating departments and agencies makes sense when they have overlapping missions,” said Progressive Party Chair…

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Misdirected Criticism

Emma Mulvaney-Stanak
State Chair, Vermont Progressive Party
Former Burlington City Councilor

 
On January 12th, Mayor Weinberger addressed the Burlington City Democratic Caucus and took direct aim at the Progressive Party. He toggled between praising current Progressive City Councilors for their collaborative nature and then harshly labeling local Progressives as divisive, reactionary and fringe. The Mayor also declared Progressives as anti-environment and anti-worker, among many other distorted labels. He went on to claim Democratic credit for recent pro-environment and pro-worker efforts in the city, yet neglected to note that virtually all of these efforts were started by Progressives. Progressives initiated Burlington’s move towards 100% renewable energy sourcing by positioning the Burlington Electric Department to purchase the Winooski hydro plant and by creating the McNeil plant. It was Progressives who pushed recent pro-worker efforts such as supporting the Howard Center workers and maintaining livable wage standards for contractors/businesses at the airport while the Mayor opposed both measures. Clearly, the Mayor’s critique of the Progressive Party is misplaced and his efforts to give the bulk of the credit to Democrats for Burlington’s successes ignores the efforts of 30 years of Progressive leadership in Burlington.

 

 

The Mayor was exactly what he criticized local Progressives to be – reactionary. Many residents recently organized and opposed a major development project at the downtown mall and two related ballot initiatives in November. The Mayor chose to label these residents and anyone who agreed with them “fringe and reactionary.” What the Mayor sees and labels as “fringe” opinions is democracy in action. These residents represent the underrepresented voices and neighborhoods in the city. The Mayor should embrace differences of opinion and find ways to convene underrepresented residents, not push them away. For Burlington to be a stronger, better community, everyone in Burlington should feel welcomed and encouraged to participate in matters that impact our community.

 
More importantly, attacking the local Progressive Party and labeling the Party as fringe based on recent city council endorsements represents the Mayor’s poor knowledge of who our 2017 council candidates are and why they are running for local office. While any council candidate should have formed an opinion of the high profile recent development projects, labeling someone who disagrees with the Mayor fringe or reactionary is out of line. The 2017 Progressive endorsed candidates include: City Council President Jane Knodell, a champion of those exact development projects as well as many neighborhood revitalization projects, Charles Winkleman, an early educator and dedicated activist looking to address affordability issues for young people in Burlington, and Charles Simpson, an academic and champion of public transportation and strengthening neighborhood communities.

 
While Winkleman and Simpson disagreed with aspects of the mall development project, they do not deserve such reactionary labeling by our Mayor. These candidates are running on more than one single issue. Moreover, there are various opinions on the development project within the Progressive Party. Disagreement and discourse is healthy in a democracy within a city and within a Party. It is the job of elected leaders to take the high road and be defenders of good process and stronger communities. Elected leaders should also expect to be criticized and challenged. It comes with the territory. It is the job of leaders to go high in these moments. The Mayor went low.

BURLINGTON STILL NOT FOR SALE; OPPOSE MALL PROJECT Support thoughtful, community-based planning process

This is a press release from the Burlington Progressive Committee.  CONTACT: Charles Winkleman, 802-448-0183, BTVProgressiveParty@gmail.com BURLINGTON – Today the Burlington Progressive Party announced its opposition to the current Burlington Town Center proposal and proposed zoning changes. Progressives understand that although the project would bring some benefits in additional housing and…

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Press Conference in Support of H.656

  Rep. Chris Pearson (P-Burlington) opens up the Jan. 27th 2016 press conference about H.656, a bill to provide property tax relief to low- and middle-income Vermonters. Sen. Anthony Pollina (P/D-Washington Co) and Rep. Sandy Haas (P/D-Rochester). Pollina sponsored a similar bill in the Senate earlier this year. Rep. Mollie…

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Building a Movement for Happiness

May 15, 2014; John de Graaf; Truthout Vermont and Bhutan have embraced happiness rather than GDP as a measure of social success. The world’s happiest countries share surprising characteristics – a small gap between rich and poor; work-life balance; urban design favoring community over cars; high degrees of interpersonal trust;…

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Letter to CCTA Management

On Monday, March 17th, three Progressive City Councilors and Progressive Councilor-Elect Selene Colburn issued the following open letter to CCTA management in support of the bus drivers’ strike. We, the undersigned members of Burlington’s City Council, are writing in solidarity with the Chittenden County Transportation Association’s organized bus drivers and…

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Minutes – February 2014 State Committee Meeting

February 8, 2014; 1:00 pm, 
North End Studios, Burlington In attendance: Approximately 60 people attended, with another several guest speakers. Welcome: Emma Mulvaney-Stanak Emma opened the meeting and thanked everyone for attending. She offered up an instant poll for State Committee members to answer a survey question on paper or…

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Minutes – November 2013 State Convention

November 9, 2013; 1:00 pm, 
Capital City Grange, Berlin In attendance: 125 people Welcome: Martha Abbott Martha started the meeting at 1:15pm and thanked the VT State Employees Association for sponsoring the lunch, Elizabeth Skarie for ice cream, Tina Scanlon for organizing the raffle, the current CoCo members and Robert…

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