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Vermont Progressive Party
Chairperson Martha Abbott
Senate leader Tim Ashe
House leader Sandy Haas
Founded 1999
Headquarters 73 Main Street, Suite 29,
P.O. Box 281
Montpelier, VT 05601
Ideology Progressivism
Social democracy
Democratic Socialism
Populism[1]
Political position Fiscal: Left
Social: Left
International affiliation None
Official colors Red
Website
www.progressiveparty.org
Politics of the United States
Political parties
Elections

The Vermont Progressive Party is an American political party. It was founded in 1999 and is active only in the U.S. state of Vermont. In terms of the dominant two parties in the United States, it enjoys support from "traditional liberal" Democrats and working class Republicans.[2]

Contents

History

The Vermont Progressive Party originated with the independent campaign of Bernie Sanders for mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Sanders, who was later elected to the United States House of Representatives,[2] and subsequently to the United States Senate,[3] never officially associated himself with the Progressive Party, although the Progressives were among his biggest supporters. A group of his supporters organized themselves as the Progressive Coalition to contest further elections.[4]

The Coalition succeeded in electing several members, including Terry Bouricius, to the Vermont General Assembly, and, after establishing a stable political base, formally became the Progressive Party.[5] While the party has traditionally focused on state races, in 2000 it nominated Ralph Nader for president and Winona LaDuke for vice-president.[6] In the 2004 elections the party picked up three new seats; it now has six representatives in the Vermont House of Representatives,[7] making it the only third party in the United States to have more than one state legislature seat, excluding states that allow electoral fusion (primarily New York), a process in which candidates can appear on the ballot as the nominee of more than one party.[citation needed]

In the run up to the Senate election in 2006, there were pressures from numerous Democratic politicians to convince the Progressive Party not to run a candidate for Vermont's sole seat in the House in exchange for Democratic support for Bernie Sanders in the Senate race. The party's chairman, Anthony Pollina, told the press his party was not going to make deals. David Zuckerman, a Progressive Party member of the state House of Representatives and Chair of the House Agriculture committee, was planning to run for Vermont's House seat. However, in early 2006, Zuckerman canceled his bid for Congress, leaving the race open to Democrat Peter Welch, who won the election.

In the Burlington mayoral election on March 7, 2006, voters chose Progressive Bob Kiss, a three term member of the state House of Representatives, over opponents Hinda Miller (Democrat) and Kevin Curley (Republican). He was reelected to a second term in 2009.

Platform

The Progressive platform is made of 14 points.

  • In terms of agriculture, their goal is to protect family farmers and their land in order to be capable of dealing with global climate change.
  • On civil rights, the state and local government should have affirmative action programs for full and equal access to jobs, housing, education, and public accommodations. There should be a "zero tolerance" policy against any form of discrimination or harassment. The VPP is pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-Equal Rights Amendment, and wants to expand First Amendment rights in the workplace.
  • In terms of the criminal justice system, it is anti-death penalty and it wants to focus on programs that keep people out of prison and from committing crimes in the first place.
  • For the economy they want to promote unions, living wages, full employment, locally owned businesses, and other things such as a $7.50 minimum wage.
  • Educational policies they support include mainstreaming special education children, changing which taxes fund schools, and increased funding for higher education.
  • Environmentally, they want to undo the damage already done, prevent more from occurring (i.e. enforce the limits for pollution runoff), and protect Act 250 which allows citizen input into how land is developed.
  • On families and children, the party calls for things such as affordable daycare, 12 weeks of maternity/paternity leave, and the ability of mothers to breastfeed in public.
  • In terms of government reform, they advocate for financial disclosure of candidates, instant runoff voting, and proportional representation in the state legislature.
  • They advocate that healthcare should be universal and affordable for all.
  • They support affordable and public housing.
  • They encourage the development of personal privacy standards that guarantee how personally identifiable information is collected and distributed.
  • They support cutting taxes for most citizens, and awareness of the social impact of taxation.
  • In terms of transportation they support fixing the roads that exist before building new ones, supporting mass transportation systems over roads, eliminating excessive trucking, the idea that cars are a public health threat, and the need to "protect the livability of Vermont communities."
  • In terms of utilities they advocate for any restructuring to benefit citizens, and are against bailouts for utility companies. They promote local public power, renewables, efficiency, and conservation, and want to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant without selling it. They also want to strengthen the Certificate of Public Goods Process.

Elected officials

Vermont House of Representatives

Vermont Senate

Local government

  • Mayor of Burlington Bob Kiss
  • Burlington City Council
    • Marrisa Caldwell (Ward 3)
    • Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (Ward 3)
  • Ward Clerk
    • Wendy Coe (Ward 2)
    • Julia Curry (Ward 3)

Sources

^ Burlington Free Press article "House committee OKs recognition of Progressives", February 19, 2005, page 5B.

External links

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