Progressive Party does well in Burlington election

In the Burlington, Vermont elections a couple of days ago–the Progressive Party made out quite well. Incumbent Progressive Party mayor Bob Kiss was re-elected in the third round of Instant-Runoff Voting. In Ward 2 and Ward 3 respectively, Emma Mulvaney-Stanak and Marrisa Caldwell, both Progressive Party members, won election to the City Council. Marrisa Caldwell was running for the seat vacated by Tim Ashe, who was elected to the Vermont Senate in November. Sen. Ashe, longtime readers will remember, was elected to the State Senate as a Democrat (also cross endorsed by the Progressive Party)  but had served on the Burlington City Council as a Progressive.

Undoubtedly, an endorsement from US Senator and former Burlington Mayor Bernie Sanders did not hurt Kiss’ re-election chances.

“I have known and worked with Bob Kiss for over 25 years. As Mayor, Bob has a record of running the City of Burlington in an effective and efficient manner, putting the needs of taxpayers first. In these tough economic times we need a mayor who will continue fighting for the middle class– and Bob is that leader.”

Of course, Bernie Sanders himself has a longstanding connection to the Progressive Party. At this time, the Progressive Party of Vermont has five sitting State Representatives, a State Senator, the Mayor of the largest city in Vermont, and three City Councilors in that city.

17 thoughts on “Progressive Party does well in Burlington election

  1. Trent Hill Post author

    And in an effort to pre-empt Richard Winger, yes–I know that Tim Ashe was elected as a D/P, which makes him a Democrat. I would be interested in who he is caucusing with (Democrats or Progressives), though.

  2. Morgan Daybell

    VT Progressives actually have five members in the State House this biennium (and maintain three on the Burlington City Council).

    Tim ran in the D primary and won the P primary as a write in. So, for the election he was both, and he is listed as both in the State House.

  3. Trent Hill Post author


    For our purposes it is illegitimate to say a candidate is both. Who does he caucus with? Which is listed first? I know that Progressive Party website claims him, and he was formerly listed just as a Progressive.

    You are correct about 5 state Reps. Correcting now.

  4. Ross Levin

    It should be noted that everyone in the State House from the Progressive Party was elected in Burlington (I think, I’m not 100% sure). Also, Marrisa Caldwell’s only opponent was a Green.

  5. Trent Hill Post author

    Yea, Caldwell’s seat was a gauranteed third party seat. Additionally, there are currently 2 Independent City Councilors in Burlington. So I believe the Council is half third-party.

    And yea, I believe all the State Reps from the Progressive Party are from the Burlington Area–but there is nothing wrong with having a base of support. If Bernie Sanders can win an election, statewide, as an Independent, and Anthony Pollina can place second–Im sure these men would do well in state-level races.

  6. Ross Levin

    There was another seat that was between and independent and a Green, but I forget which one. The independent must have won, since no Greens won in Burlington.

  7. Vermont

    Actualy, only two of the six Progressives in the State House are from Burlington. Two are from the far southeast of the state (Brattleboro), and another is from the central-west part of the state (near Rutland). In the past the Progressives have also elected two legislators from the Northeast Kingdom. And of course the party has a good number of local elected town officials throughout the state (ie Selectmen, Constables, etc.).


  8. MattSwartz

    What are the ideological differences between the VTProgressives and the Greens?

    I’ve yet to get a satisfying answer about this, but I’m not implying that none such exists. I know the Liberty Union party is Pacifist/Socialist, so that sets them apart, but what are the other issues in play in Vermont minor party politics?

  9. Vermont

    The Vermont Green Party is a very very small party. They have never recieved major party status (which requires 5% of the vote in a statewide race). They also have little to no presence outside of Burlington (and I understand that they recieved a total of 35 votes in the Mayors race). The fact is, in Vermont the Greens are generaly assosiated with 9-11 consperacy theories and other issues which have little direct relivance to the various Vermont social movements. In a word, they are not in the trenches when it comes to the labor-farmer struggles, nor do they appear to take strong stances on Vermont specific social issues.

    -Now please don’t misunderstand me, I am not writing this to take away from the Greens, I am just trying to get accross that in Vermont they are less than a fringe party. They have never won an election in the state at any level.

    As for another of the Vermont third parties, the Vermont Liberty Union usualy recieves 5-6% in at least one statewide race, and usualy are recognized as one of the states major parties. Of course they are hard line socialists, and have an aging, but small constituancy amoung the holdovers from the commune movement of the 60s-70s. That said they have no elected offices (to my knowalge) except for one selectman in a rural town in north-central VT. US Senator Bernie Sanders (who is now assosiated with the Progressives) was a past member of this party.

    The Progressives, for their part, often take leadership roles in community organizing, and have grown deep roots within organized labor, among the farmers, and in the anti-war movement. This, in my opinion, is the reason for their growing success. And as they have won real victories, they have attracted the supporters and activists which the Liberty Union Party may have otherwize attracted. The Progressive Party are essentualy democratic-socialists.

  10. MattSwartz

    Thanks VT and GE, that’s interesting to know.

    I don’t have any use for socialism, but it’s interesting how states with smaller populations and longer traditions tend to have a higher level of discourse.

    It’d probably be better to have a state legislature full of self-proclaimed socialists who work for a living than one full of closet socialists for whom legislating is a full-time job, or even a side project for their law careers.

  11. Vermont

    I am not sure what you mean by an “experiment” in VT and NH? That said, folks should know that there is little political overlap between the politics of the NH Free State Movement and the VT Progressives. In fact the Free State leaders came to VT before they decided to move to NH and met with the Progressive mayor of Burlington. The mayor, politely, suggested that they not come to VT but go elsewhere.

    Regaurdless of where you stand on many issues, folks in northern New England understand that, for the most part, there is very little overlap between social-democratic ideas (Prog), and radical free market capitalist ideas (Free State). The only coming together that I can think of is the fact that both the Progs and the Free State support gun rights (as Anthony Pollina was endorsed by the Gun Owners of Vermont in his 2008 run for governor), and they both are generaly freindly to those who smoke/grow pot.

    And briefly to address Mat’s coments, I agree that the VT Progressives are very much so grounding in the working class. To my knowlage there are no party leaders who are millionairs. However, I would estimate that at least one quarter of the Vermont AFL-CIO Executive Board (who are not paid, and who work in their trades) are members of the Progressive Party. And the entire E Board is at least freindly to the Progressive Party (as their recent endorsements demonstrate).

  12. Vermont

    In the Burlington City council contest, Caldwell ran against a strong Democractic Party challanger, and won, but it was very close.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *