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Village School second-graders visited the North Bennington polling place to learn about voting and watch their teacher, John Ulrich, cast his ballot.

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Southern Vermonters have a lot to celebrate following Tuesday’s general elections.

First, several of the key statewide officers elected come from our communities. State Sen. Becca Balint, who was elected to the U.S. House, is from Brattleboro. Charity Clark, newly elected attorney general, was raised in Manchester. Mike Pieciak, who won the race for treasurer, comes from Brattleboro.

These are people who will move into positions of leadership and make their decisions in the best interests of the state, but always mindful of where they came from. This was an election that gave voice to Southern Vermont; our top leaders won’t only be from the Burlington or Montpelier areas.

Our local candidates generally acted with civility and intelligence — in stark contrast to the races and advertisements spewing vitriol that flooded our television commercials from neighboring Massachusetts and New York. For the most part, our candidates ran on issues. We might not have agreed with all of them, but winners and losers alike talked about the problems facing our region and put forward their views on how to solve them.

We as voters expressed our values with our ballots.

We clearly stated that keeping any reference to slavery or indentured servitude in our state Constitution is abhorrent. We struck that down, overwhelmingly approving Proposal 2, a constitutional amendment that prohibits slavery and indentured servitude in all forms. We’re not smug about that. It was too long overdue.

We also made sure that reproductive freedoms are protected in Vermont in approving Proposal 5. We voted for this important protection for ourselves and for the generations coming along behind us who don’t fully comprehend the health care security of the pre-Roe decades. Other states might choose to turn back the clock for women, but Vermont is focused on moving forward.

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And speaking of women and moving forward, we helped Balint make history as the first woman and first openly gay person Vermonters have sent to Congress. It’s a heavy mantle to carry in a divisive, at times shockingly conservative House chamber. But Balint will bring the voice of women and gay Vermonters to the table. And she sends the signal to the next generation that the U.S. Capitol is no longer a building filled largely with privileged white men.

Perhaps most importantly, we showed up. In droves.

Town clerks throughout Southern Vermont confirmed what we ourselves experienced at the polls: “We’ve had over a thousand absentee ballots come in, and about 500 come in person so far, and it’s only 3 o’clock,” said Shaftsbury Town Clerk Marlene Hall. “For a midterm, this is huge.”

Vermont News & Media thanks all our neighbors who put their names on the ballot, giving their time and commitment in an effort to serve their communities and state. We thank all the Vermonters who took time out of their busy lives to vote, either by mail or in person. That’s important, whether a race is decided by one vote on issues of controversy, or thousands of votes on positions we share.

A class of second-graders from North Bennington’s Village School took a trip the polls Tuesday with their teacher to learn more about the voting process. They ended their visit by singing “America the Beautiful” for poll staff and voters.

Our votes on Tuesday were on behalf of their future. And here’s to hoping that they will be among the next generation of civil, thoughtful candidates and enthusiastic voters stepping up to move Vermont forward.


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