Dexter Randall

Dexter Randall

Daybell helped bring stability to Progressive Party

December 24, 2012; Burlington Free Press; Nancy Remsen

The turnover in executive directors of the Democratic and Republican political parties in Vermont has been fast and furious in recent years, while the Vermont Progressive Party has had the same man at the helm since 2007.

After three election cycles, however, Morgan Daybell, 43, is ready to move on. He has accepted another job closer to his home in Montgomery.

Daybell said he hopes that his successor will commit to an equally long tenure because the executive director plays a key role in ensuring the stability and longevity of any party, but especially an upstart trying to establish itself as a credible political player.

Read the full article >>

Pollina gleans priorities from public

June 21, 2008, Associated Press, by Lisa Rathke

MONTPELIER, Vt.—Andrea Stander told Progressive gubernatorial candidate Anthony Pollina on Saturday that she moved to Vermont because of how forward thinking it was. But in the last decade the state has fallen behind on environmental policy and missed opportunities in environmental technology, she said.

Pollina said he couldn't agree more.

The candidate wrapped up a series of discussions he's held around the state about how Vermont could be better by reviewing the top priorities that came out of them.

From the 13 meetings emerged a call for enforcement of environmental laws, the clean up of Lake Champlain, investment in small, local businesses, an increase in public transportation, the creation of a local food supply and decreasing the state's dependence on oil.

"We really wanted to do something to make sure we heard from people," he said of the forums.

Pollina said he had hoped to come up with clear policy statements for his campaign but Saturday's meeting turned into an education and question and answer session, with four experts chosen by Pollina speaking on the topics.

Anthony Iarrapino, a staff lawyer with the Conservation Law Foundation, who said he was speaking as an individual on Saturday, said for many years the state has lacked leadership in environmental enforcement. Water quality has suffered as a result, he said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently criticized the state's efforts to clean up Lake Champlain, saying that after almost six years of work, large amounts of phosphorus fertilizer continues to flow into Lake Champlain from the state's rivers.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Jim Douglas, who kicked off his re-election campaign this week, shot back at the EPA saying its contention was out of touch and scientifically baseless.

Pollina called Douglas' response arrogant and nonproductive, while Irrapino said better enforcement would reduce pollution in the lake.

In terms of jobs and the economy, Doug Hoffer, an independent policy analyst in Burlington, said the state should help existing local businesses, instead of trying to draw companies from out of state, and create more affordable housing, quality day cares and help farmers to diversify.

Organic dairy farmer Rep. Dexter Randall, P-Troy, said the state needs to create its own food supply with facilities to process milk, meat and produce and store it.

"I think we can trust our local food supply much better," than food from Mexico, he said.

Besides Douglas, Pollina faces Democrat Gaye Symington and independents Sam Young of Glover and Anthony O'Connor of Derby who are also in the gubernatorial race.


Legislature Wrap Up

The caucus talks about a few legislative victories from 2008:
-Yankee bills
-Ground water in public trust
-Legalization of industrial hemp
-And more

Farm forum looks at new approaches, legislative session

October 10, 2007, the County Courier, by Jedd Kettler

Bringing local farms and agricultural infrastructure together with local food systems and economic development to the benefit of farmers may sound like a lofty goal, but Dexter Randall, David Zuckerman, and Anthony Pollina are likely to call it common sense.

The three Progressive Party heavy-weights will present ideas on the future of agriculture and new approaches in Vermont during a forum Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Hudak’s Greenhouse and Farmstand in Swanton at 7 p.m.

Rep. Randall (P-Orleans-Franklin 1, Jay, Lowell, Troy, Westfield, Montgomery) will speak about “Buy Vermont” legislation he has worked on for several years. Rep. Zuckerman (P-Chittenden 3-3, Burlington) will look ahead to the second half of the biennium and legislation expected to come before the House Ag Committee, which he chairs. Pollina, Vice President of the Hardwick-based Vermont Milk Company and founder of Rural Vermont, will focus on the role of the Governor’s Office in shaping statewide ag policy.

Progressive Party Chairman Morgan Daybell, of Montgomery, said the party has held similar forums in other areas recently. Each speaker will talk briefly before moving on to audience comments and questions.

Though put on by the Progressives, Daybell said they are not aiming at a political audience, but rather at anyone with an interest in the future of agriculture in Vermont.

“This is something where we’re really hoping to get a broader audience. The more people that hear them speak and hear the common sense ideas they have to put out, (the better),” said Daybell.

“The goal is to put out some ideas for a different vision of agriculture ... For example, we’ve been trying to get a ‘Buy Vermont’ bill passed, and for most people this is pretty much a no-brainer,” Daybell said.

Introduced by Randall, H.133 would direct state offices and institutions, such as schools and prisons, to purchase locally produced foods whenever possible. Such an approach is not only sound agricultural policy, but good for economic development as well, Daybell said.

Similarly, Daybell pointed to the success of projects like in-state milk processing facility VMC, an idea long-championed by Pollina, as similar on-the-ground approaches that need more attention and support.

“That’s a great example of what the intersection of good agricultural policy and good economic development policy can accomplish,” said Daybell.

This same project, despite its goals and benefits to farmers, lost out to ski resorts when seeking State funding last year, Daybell said.

“If more money was taken away from those approaches and put into investing in agriculture ... we’d be better off,” said Daybell.

Though meant as a discussion of farm policy, not politics, upcoming elections will likely be on some minds at next week’s forum. Pollina is a potential candidate for Governor in 2008 elections.

“He is exploring it ... and we can expect a decision ... within weeks, not months,” Daybell said. “If he runs, it’ll be to win.”

Daybell said the Progressives will field a candidate in the race even if Pollina decides against running.

Pollina ran for Governor in 2000 and for Lt. Gov. in 2002, both highly contested three-way races.

Pollina has long worked - as a founder of Rural Vermont in the mid-1980s, and with Vermont Democracy Fund, Dairy Farmers of Vermont, and Vermont Public Interest Research Group - on issues of economic development in rural areas, local and innovative investments in farms and farm infrastructure, among other high profile issues like campaign finance reform and health care.


Progressives on Switchboard

Progressive House Caucus

Bob Kinzel spoke with members of the Progressive Caucus on VPR's Switchboard, Tuesday May 1st, at 7:00 pm.  Caucus members discussed how the session is going, and outlined some of their priorities for the remaining days of the 2007 legislature.

[Listen to the show]

Shell Game

The Governor is a master illusionist. He talks circles around issues and has been beating on the Legislature – getting away with half-truths, empty promises and clever phrases.

It’s like he’s running an event at the fair – where’s he going to stop? Which cup holds the ball?

Is it health care? Nope – nothing under there. That issue isn’t even on the table. It’ll be a decade until we see serious health care reform in Vermont.

The game goes on. What’s next? How about the budget, anything under there? Nope. Instead of presenting the legislature a serious budget he under funds his own proposals by $15 million. He talks about helping teenagers in foster care but with a slight of hand he cuts restorative justice. He gives grand speeches about the E-state initiative reaching every corner of Vermont at the same time he undercuts transportation.

The Governor refuses new taxes but offers no solutions. At best it’s irresponsible, at worst a shameless political ploy. Maybe he thinks our state budget really is a shell game. We offer the governor this ball representing responsibility. The governor must offer answers to the shortfall. Vermont expects him to set the state’s priorities.

We’re down to the two topics we’ve spent the most time on this year. Is the ball under the ed funding cup? This is the one topic that every person in this building campaigned on. Has the Governor offered any significant idea to move us forward? I guess not.

His contribution has been to take options off the table. We offer the Governor a ball that represents a significant change in our education funding. We need an ed formula based on income, not the market value of our homes. Until we fix the underlying formula, small tweaks will only irritate voters. The Governor needs more than a snappy phrase for this challenge.

That leaves Energy. Here we have the Douglas ‘tax hike’ ball, which only reveals some of the story. Under the Senate’s proposal, if your home heating bill is $200 and we impose a 1-3% surcharge it would go up to no more than $206 a month. That’s where the governor’s story ends. But if you participate in the efficiency program (set up with a sliding scale) your bill drops to $150. Suddenly the 3% increase doesn’t sound so bad.

And don’t forget jobs. There was a time when Jim equaled jobs. S. 94 is estimated to create 180 jobs. The net savings for Vermont is thought to be $500 million, approximately $200 million of that going to help businesses. That’s the whole story, no illusions, no games, just good public policy.

Voters didn’t send us here to play games. They expect answers. They deserve answers that improve lives. They deserve more than catch phrases – they deserve substance and straight talk. The ball is in the Governor's court.

Thank you.

Syndicate content