Vermont Progressive Party

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Vermont Progressive Party
ChairpersonAnthony Pollina
SecretaryJohn Christopher Brimmer
Vice ChairMarielle Blais
TreasurerRobert Millar
House LeaderSelene Colburn
Founded1981; 42 years ago (1981) (coalition)
March 1999; 24 years ago (March 1999) (state major party)
Split fromLiberty Union Party
Democratic Party
Preceded byCitizens Party
Progressive Party
HeadquartersMontpelier, Vermont
Youth wingProgressive Youth Caucus
IdeologyDemocratic socialism[1][2][3]
Social democracy[4]
Political positionLeft-wing[5]
Colors  Red
Statewide Offices
2 / 6
Seats in the State Senate
1 / 30
Seats in the State House
5 / 150
Elected County Judges
1 / 42
Countywide Offices
1 / 42
1 / 8
Seats on the Burlington City Council
4 / 12
Local offices19 (2021)[6]

The Vermont Progressive Party, formerly the Progressive Coalition, is a progressive political party in the United States founded in 1999 and active only in the state of Vermont. As of 2023, the party has one member in the Vermont Senate and five members in the Vermont House of Representatives, as well as several more affiliated legislators who caucus with the Democratic Party.[7][8] After the Democratic and Republican parties, the Progressive Party has the highest number of seats in state and national offices for any organized political party in the country.


Formation in Burlington[edit]

The Vermont Progressive Party originated in the early 1980s with the successful independent campaign of Bernie Sanders for mayor of Burlington (prior to being elected mayor Sanders was a leader in the Vermont Liberty Union Party). Sanders, who was later elected to the House of Representatives[9] and subsequently to the Senate,[10] and who co-founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus, never officially associated himself with the Progressive Party due to the fact it was only organized at the state level and not nationally, although the Progressives were among his biggest supporters. A group of Sanders's supporters, the "Progressive Coalition" as they had come to be known, as well as former members of the dissolved Citizens Party, organized themselves during his final term as mayor to contest future elections within the city as well as other parts of the state.[11]

Progressive Peter A. Clavelle was elected Mayor of Burlington in 1989 and served seven terms. After winning his first term, he remained in office until 1993 when he lost his re-election bid after giving domestic partners of city employees full benefits. Clavelle returned to the mayor's office two years later in 1995, continuing to hold the position until 2006, when he was succeeded by Progressive State Representative Bob Kiss.

Expansion to state government[edit]

The coalition succeeded in electing several members, including Terry Bouricius in 1990, to the Vermont General Assembly, and formally became the Progressive Party after establishing a stable political base following the 1998 elections.[12] In the 2004 elections, the party picked up three new seats and then had five representatives in the Vermont House of Representatives.[13]

By the 2012 elections the party had several members of the legislature and a candidate elected to statewide office, as well as dozens of local office holders around the state.

Election results[edit]

Year Gubernatorial nominee Votes %
2000 Anthony Pollina 28,116 9.58%
2002 Michael Badamo 1,380 0.60%
2004 Martha Abbott Dropped out before election
2006 No candidate
2008 Anthony Pollina 69,791 21.87%
2010 Martha Abbott Dropped out before election
2012 Martha Abbott Dropped out before election
2014 No candidate
2016 No candidate
2018 No candidate
2020 David Zuckerman 99,214 27.35%
2022 Brenda Siegel 68,248 23.38%


The Progressive Party encompasses a progressive platform. The party's main focus has historically been advocacy for a single-payer health care system, which has recently made great strides with the implementation of Green Mountain Care, a health care program that was pushed by Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin due to pressure from the Progressive Party. Other major policy platforms are renewable energy programs and a phase-out of nuclear energy, public transportation proposals including one for a high-speed rail system, criminal justice reforms directed at reducing the state's prison population and better protecting convicts' rights, the creation of programs to end homelessness in the state, ending the War on Drugs and repealing No Child Left Behind and ending the focus on standardized testing in the school system. The party also has an anti-war stance, advocating for Vermont's national guard to be restricted from engaging in war zones outside the United States, an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and opposition to all preemptive wars, strikes, or other offensive or interventionist military actions. The party is very supportive of LGBT rights and members of the party were involved in the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state.

Economically, the party also calls for converting the minimum wage to a living wage and having it tied to inflation rates, having the economy focus on small and local businesses, empowerment of worker cooperatives and publicly owned companies as democratic alternatives to multi-national corporations and to decentralize the economy, for the strengthening of state law to protect the right to unionize, for implementing a progressive income tax and repealing the Capital Gains Tax Exemption and residential education property tax, and for all trade to be subject to international standards on human rights. The party is also critical of privatization.[14]

Elected officials[edit]


State-wide office

Vermont Senate

Vermont House of Representatives

  • Rep. Mollie Burke (P), Windham-3-2, single member district (2009–present)
  • Rep. Robin Chesnut-Tangerman (P), Rutland-Bennington, single member district (2015–present)
  • Rep. Brian Cina (P), Chittenden-6-4, with 1 (P) (2017–present)
  • Rep. Selene Colburn (P), Chittenden-6-4, with 1 (P) (2017–present)
  • Rep. Mari Cordes (D/P), Addison-4, with 1 (D) (2019–present)
  • Rep. Diana Gonzalez (P), Chittenden-6-7, with 1 (D) (2015–present)
  • Rep. Sandy Haas (P), Windsor-Rutland-2, single member district (2005–present)
  • Rep. Zachariah Ralph (P), Windsor-1, with 1 (D) (2019–present)




  • Burlington
    • City Council [15][16]
      • Perri Freeman (Central District-Ward 2 & 3) (2019–present)
      • Jack Hanson (East District-Ward 1 & 8) (2019–present)
      • Zoraya Hightower (Ward 1) (2020–present)
      • Max Tracy (Ward 2) (2012–present)
      • Joe Magee (Ward 3) (2021–present)
      • Ali Dieng (D/P) (Ward 7) (2017–present)
      • Jane Stromberg (Ward 8) (2020–present)
    • Ward Clerk [17]
      • Wendy Coe (Ward 2) (2010–present)
    • Ward Inspector [17]
      • Jane Stromberg (Ward 1) (2019–present)
      • Alex Rose (Ward 2) (2019–present)
      • Kit Andrews (Ward 3) (2013–present)
      • Bonnie Filker (Ward 3) (2019–present)
  • Montpelier


  • Springfield
    • Selectboard
      • Stephanie Thompson (2010–present)
  • Fairlee
    • Zoning and Planning Administrator
      • John Christopher Brimmer (2012–present)
  • Berlin
    • Selectboard
      • Jeremy Hansen (2013–present)
  • Richmond
    • Selectboard
      • Steve May (2016–present)
  • The party also has a significant number of its members elected to other local offices in town governments and appointed to serve as town officials. However, in Vermont these elections are non-partisan and no party name appears before their names on election ballots or during an appointment process.

Party leaders[edit]

The current chair of the party's State Committee is State Senator and former Gubernatorial nominee and Congressional candidate Anthony Pollina, and the current vice-chair, Marielle Blais, was first elected in 2019. Secretary Chris Brimmer, also the Chair of the Caledonia County Committee, has served since 2009. The current Treasurer is Robert Millar, who briefly served as Acting Chair in 2001, and Assistant Treasurer Martha Abbott previously served as Treasurer and twice as chair. After being in the position of Acting Chair while the State Committee was not formalized, Heather Riemer served as the party's first chair at its formation as a statewide party in 1999. The position of executive director was added in 2011, and since 2015 has been the party's only paid staff, and has been occupied by Joshua Wronski. Current Treasurer Robert Millar previously served as executive director from 2011 to 2015.[18][19][20]

  • Chair: Anthony Pollina (2007–2009, 2017–present)
  • Vice Chair: Marielle Blais (2019–present)
  • Secretary: John Christopher Brimmer (2009–present)
  • Treasurer: Robert Millar (2019–present)
  • Assistant Treasurer: Martha Abbott (2019–present)
  • Executive Director: Joshua Wronski (2015–present)
  • Senate Caucus Leader: Anthony Pollina (2013–present)
  • Senate Caucus Whip: Christopher Pearson (2017–present)
  • House Caucus Leader: Robin Chesnut-Tangerman (2017–present)
  • House Caucus Whip: Diana Gonzalez (2017–present)
  • Youth/Student Caucus Leader: Carter Neubieser (2015–present)
  • Coordinating Committee:
    • Nick Clark
    • Carter Neubieser
    • Adam Norton
    • Zachariah Ralph
    • Tanya Vyhovsky
    • Cindy Weed
    • Regional Advisers (Non-voting):
      • West-Central: Finnian Boardman Abbey
      • East-Central: Traven Leyshon
      • Northern: Jackie Stanton
      • Southeast: Pamela Whitefield
      • Southwest: Tim Guiles

Timeline of party Chairs[edit]

# Name Term
- Heather Riemer
1 Heather Riemer 1999–2001
- Robert Millar
2 Martha Abbott 2001–2005
3 Marrisa S. Caldwell 2005–2007
4 Anthony Pollina 2007–2009
5 Martha Abbott 2009–2013
6 Emma Mulvaney-Stanak 2013–2017
7 Anthony Pollina 2017–present

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Montpelier mayor Anne Watson is officially elected to a non-partisan office; however, she is designated as a member of the party.
  2. ^ Watson is officially elected to a non-partisan office; however, she is designated as a member of the party.


  1. ^ Mark P. Jones, ed. (2020). Voting and Political Representation in America: Issues and Trends [2 volumes]. Mark P. Jones. p. 202. ISBN 9781440860850. The Vermont Progressive Party is a competitive third party that currently provides a visible democratic socialist presence in the state's politics.
  2. ^ David Van Deusen, ed. (2017). On Anarchism: Dispatches From the People's Republic of Vermont. Algora Publishing. p. 202.
  3. ^ "The Platform of the Vermont Progressive Party". The Vermont Progressive Party. Retrieved 5 June 2023. We believe the economy should be democratically owned and controlled
  4. ^ Social democracy after the cold war. Ingo Schmidt, Bryan Evans. Edmonton: AU Press. 2012. p. 103. ISBN 978-1-926836-88-1. OCLC 1015535562. In addition, some notable examples of social democratic third-party success at the subnational level are the Socialist Party in Oklahoma in the 1920s and 1930s, the Non-Partisan League in North Dakota, the Washington Co-operative Commonwealth in Washington State, the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party, and the current Vermont Progressive Party, which has relationship with the Democratic Party.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ "Lessons From Vermont". Jacobin. August 2, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  6. ^ "Elected Progressives — The Vermont Progressive Party". Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  7. ^ "Legislators - All Senators". Vermont General Assembly. The State of Vermont. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Legislators - All Representatives". Vermont General Assembly. The State of Vermont. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  9. ^ Gutman, Huck (December 12, 2002). "Some Political Lessons from Vermont". Common Dreams. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  10. ^ "Bernie Sanders elected to U.S. Senate". People's World. November 9, 2006.
  11. ^ Cockburn, Alexander (October 12, 2000). "Vote Your Hopes, Not Your Fears". The Nation. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  12. ^ Nichols, John (January 31, 2002). "New Year, New Party". The Nation.
  13. ^ Winger, Richard (January 15, 2009). "Vermont Bill Signed, Will Put Progressive Party on Apportionment Board". Ballot Access News. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  14. ^ "Platform Straw Poll from September 2014 State Committee Meeting". Vermont Progressive Party. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  15. ^ "Progressives take control of Burlington City Council". VTDigger. Mar 4, 2020. Retrieved Jun 7, 2021.
  16. ^ Lamdin, Courtney. "Progressive Joe Magee Wins Burlington Council Seat in Special Election". Off Message. Seven Days VT.
  17. ^ a b "Election Summary Report: Annual City Election" (PDF). March 5, 2019.
  18. ^ "Staff: Executive Director". Vermont Progressive Party.
  19. ^ Press Release (2018-06-13). "Vermont Progressive Party nominate candidates for statewide office". VTDigger. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  20. ^ Landen, Xander (2019-11-19). "Progressives Reelect Pollina party Chair, seek to grow numbers". VTDigger. Retrieved 2019-11-19.

External links[edit]