Don Schramm

Don Schramm

Progs back Corren, rebuff Bauer for Lt. Gov.

June 2, 2014; Terri Hallenbeck; Burlington Free Press

MONTPELIER – As the Progressive Party State Committee met Saturday in the Statehouse cafeteria, two candidates for lieutenant governor stood up and asked for the group’s endorsement.

Both men touted Progressive ideals. Only one of them was a Progressive.

If you thought that might make for a few awkward moments, you would be right. In the end, the non-Progressive was politely but resoundingly rebuffed.

Dean Corren of Burlington and John Bauer of Jeffersonville are both hoping to unseat two-term Republican incumbent Phil Scott.

Corren, a former state legislator, is one of the founders of the Progressive Party and the party’s highest-profile candidate for statewide office. Bauer is an avowed Democrat who probably would have been wise to spend his time Saturday campaigning almost anywhere in Vermont except in front of a roomful of Progressive Party faithful who were passing petitions for Corren.

Read the whole article >>

Progressives Announce Slate of 21 Candidates

June 1, 2014; Anne Galloway; VTDigger

The Vermont Progressive Party will have four statewide candidates, three incumbent senators and 14 House candidates running for office in the 2014 election.

The Progressive party, one of four state major parties, announced its slate on Saturday — well ahead of the Vermont Democratic Party and the Vermont GOP, and the June 12 filing deadline for candidates. While the Democrats are fielding a preponderance of incumbents, the Republicans have announced some House and Senate candidates, but have yet to declare who will be running for statewide office, including the gubernatorial race. The Vermont Liberty Union Party, which gained major party status in the 2012 election, is also fielding a slate of statewide candidates and a candidate for the House of Representatives, who may be the sole contender for Rep. Peter Welch’s seat.

Progressive Party officials touted the “real growth” in the number of candidates since 2012.

Read the whole article >>

Vermont Progressive Party State Committee Meeting Minutes 5/31/2014

Vermont Progressive Party State Committee Meeting Minutes
Statehouse Cafeteria, Montpelier, VT

Meeting called to order at 1:00 pm. Approximately 80 state committee members and VPP members were in attendance.

Coordinating Committee Vacancies
The Chair, Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, explained the vacancies and the process under VPP bylaws for filling the seats. The Coordinating Committee had two vacancies – Vice Chair since Selene Colburn stepped down in April and one of the At-Large seats when Lee Madden stepped down in February. Under VPP by-laws the Coco may appoint temporarily until the next state committee meeting. The Coco appointed Morgan Daybell (Montgomery) as Vice-Chair and Christian Hanley (Brattleboro) as the At-Large Member at its April meeting.  The State Committee unanimously elected Morgan Daybell as Vice-Chair in an uncontested race. There were three candidates for the At-Large Member seat - Christian Hanley (Brattleboro), Shawn Jarecki  (Pittsfield) and Jason Batchelder. Shawn Jarecki was elected to the At-Large seat.

Statewide Candidate Nominations/Endorsements
Discussion moved to sorting the differences between nomination and endorsement, discussion of the process. The State Committee (SC) can nominate and endorse candidates. The nomination process is outlined by state law and is required for placement on the primary ballot and for use of a Party label on the general election ballot. Individuals may still collect the required number of signatures and be placed on the Progressive primary ballot without the VPP nomination. Endorsements are an act of the VPP to show support for a candidate in the election. It can be granted under VPP by-laws, which were reviewed with SC members.

Auditor- Doug Hoffer is seeking the SC endorsement as a D/P on a campaign of continued audits of state programs, increasing transparency, insuring the efficiency and efficacy of healthcare and pressing for more whistleblower protection. Motion by Marge Power to nominate for the ballot and to sanction a write in campaign, second by Martha Abbot and approved by acclamation of SC. Motion to endorse by Martha Abbot, second by Morgan Daybell and approved by acclamation.

Treasurer- Don Schramm nominated by Liz Blum, second by Chris Pearson and nominated by acclamation.

Secretary of State- Ben Eastwood nominated by Marge Powers and second by Glennie Sewell. Jim Condos nominated by Gary Case, second by Jessica Falker. Jim Condos was not present at the meeting. Ben Eastwood nominated by majority voice vote.

Attorney General- Ed Stanak nominated by Martha Abbott, the nomination was declined. Shawn Jarecki nominated by Ben Eastwood, second by Ellen David Friedman, nominated by acclamation. Note: After the state committee meeting concluded, Shawn declined the nomination.

Lt. Governor- two candidates seeking an endorsement. Dean Corren would run as a straight Progressive, endorsement so moved by Chris Pearson and seconded by Marge Powers, endorsed by acclamation.  Dean Corren is collecting signatures for placement on the Progressive primary ballot and did not seek a formal nomination. John Bauer would run as a Democrat/Progressive D/P, endorsement moved by Jessica Falker, second by Gary Case. Mr. Bauer gave a brief speech. A member made a motion to call the question after some vigorous debate. Peggy Sapphire seconded motion to call the questions. The motion to endorse Mr. Bauer was defeated by a voice majority with 5 abstentions.

Governor-Marge Powers moved to close without a nomination for governor, second by Ben Eastwood, motion approved by voice vote with one abstention.

SC member Tom Kingston recommended that the SC nominate all endorsed candidates, seconded by Cindy Weed and approved by voice vote with one abstention.

Staff Recognition
Special thanks and recognition to Robert Millar as State Coordinator who is moving on to run for State House.

Legislative Update
Five of our elected legislators discussed the legislative session: Representative Chris Pearson-discussed the effort to raise minimum wage and the process the bill took to approval of a raise over three years. Representative Sandy Haas-discussed mental illness and the courts and provision for pretrial services. Representative Cindy Weed-discussed equal pay for women, workplace retaliation prevention, childcare worker unionization and the earned sick day bill that did not pass this session. Representative Susan Hatch-Davis-Tried to kill the school governance bill, recognizes the problems but believes a better bill should be passed. Senator Anthony Pollina-State Bank his primary issue, tried to begin the effort by moving 10% of state funds into VETA, lots of opposition from both Dems and Reps.

Platform Review
Ben Eastwood, chair of the Platform Committee, took the floor to discuss the process for platform breakout discussion groups. SC broke into small groups to discuss in the first session: energy & transportation; public participation in government; criminal justice; military affairs; state economy; gun control issues (not a plank); government reform. The second session the SC broke into small groups to discuss: education, housing, healthcare, agriculture, taxes, industrial wind, civil rights.

A motion was made to close meeting at 3:15 PM, and seconded, approved by acclamation.

Respectfully submitted by Chris Brimmer, Secretary.



2012 Election Results

2012 was a great year for the Vermont Progressive Party.

In November, while Republicans lost seats, every Progressive incumbent was reelected: the four members of the Vermont House who ran for reelection and the two members of the Vermont Senate.

We added one new Vermont House member (Cindy Weed of Enosburg, who beat a Republican incumbent) and one new Vermont Senate member (David Zuckerman, who came in 4th in the six-seat Chittenden County district).  Now there are three Progressives in the Vermont Senate and seven Republicans.
We also elected the first Progressive to a statewide office ever (not counting Senator Bernie Sanders, who runs as an Independent): Doug Hoffer was elected Vermont Auditor of Accounts as a D/P.  Doug is clearly a Progressive in all the ways that matter.  So now in Vermont we have one Republican in statewide office and one Progressive.

In the Lieutenant Governor’s race, Cassandra Gekas got 41 percent of the vote against incumbent Phil Scott.  She received more votes than Republican Randy Brock got in the Governor’s race, despite spending a fraction of what he spent in that race.  Cass ran a great campaign and impressed everyone who heard her at a forum or rally.  She articulated a clear Progressive vision for Vermont’s future.

And then there is Ed Stanak.  “Don't panic; Vote Stanak” was his radio ad tagline.  Ed didn't start running until after the Primary Election because so many of his friends in Labor had backed TJ Donovan.  With Bill Sorrell winning the primary, Ed went to work articulating a simple, but powerful, platform to hold Wall Street accountable, close Vermont Yankee, and more.  In the end, Ed finished with 6 percent of the vote, enough to qualify us for Major Party status (as did Cass Gekas' results).

Don Schramm held the Progressive banner high in the State Treasurer’s race, after we attempted to persuade Beth Pearce, the Democratic candidate, to talk about the reasons Vermont would like to end our association with Wall Street banks.  Don promoted the concept of a Vermont State Bank, and explained the many reasons why Vermont’s economy would benefit from such a move.

It’s clear that the Vermont Progressive Party, the most successful ‘third party’ in the country, continued to grow in 2012, even as the Vermont Republican Party continued its decline.   Together, we are standing up against the corporate interests so prevalent in the other political parties – and we are winning.

Candidate Q&A - State treasurer: Don Schramm

September 17, 2012; Burlington Free Press

With our money in our own state bank, we would be able to work with other Vermont banks and credit unions to make the safest and most beneficial investments – in ourselves. The Vermont Community Loan Fund and the Cooperative Fund of New England have been doing this successfully for years.

Read the full article here.

Election Recap

Vermont’s Progressives, largely avoided the lurch to the right witnessed across the country with Tuesday’s general election.

All five Progressive incumbents seeking re-election were returned to office. Brattleboro Representatives Sarah Edwards and Mollie Burke ran unopposed. This will be Mollie's second term in Montpelier, and Sarah's fifth, making her the senior member of the Progressive caucus. Progressive whip Susan Hatch Davis of Washington came out on top in a tight race to return for a third term. Her four-vote victory will likely go to a recount, and we may need volunteers to help with that process. Caucus leader Sandy Haas of Rochester defeated a Republican 1004-896, to return for her fourth term.

Chittenden County Senator Tim Ashe returns for his second term, placing fourth in the six-seat district.

Progressives also picked up two seats in the State House. Chris Pearson of Burlington was elected to the open seat created with the retirement of Representative David Zuckerman. Anthony Pollina became the second Progressive elected to the State Senate, taking the Washington County seat left open by Phil Scott.

In Burlington’s Ward Three, Progressive School Board Director Vince Brennan won the special election for City Council, filling the vacancy created when Marrisa Caldwell stepped down this fall. Vince topped the Democrat by a 10 vote margin.

In statewide races, two Progressives reached the 5% threshold needed to maintain major-party status: Don Schramm received 8% in the race for State Treasurer, and Charlotte Dennett received 5% in her Attorney General bid. Lieutenant Governor candidate Marj Power came in at 4%.

Auditor of Accounts candidate Doug Hoffer (running with both the Democratic and Progressive endorsement) ran a strong race against two-term incumbent Tom Salmon. Doug received 46% of the ballots cast, the highest percentage received by a Progressive statewide candidate to date.

A special thanks to several candidates who ran for the State House from far-flung corners of the state, but came up short at the polls. Claude Delucia in Bennington, John Taylor in Williamstown, Nancy Potak in Greensboro, Cindy Weed in Enosburg, and Marvin Malek in Berlin. Cindy came in just 34 votes shy in her race, and Marvin ended the evening down by only 75 votes.

Finally thanks to everyone who worked on a Progressive campaign this fall. You should be proud of your role in continuing to make the Progressive Party the most successful third party in the US.

Full statewide results are available here:

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