Vermont Progressive Party

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Vermont Progressive Party
ChairpersonAnthony Pollina
Lieutenant Governor of VermontDavid Zuckerman
Senate President pro temporeTim Ashe
Senate LeaderAnthony Pollina
House LeaderRobin Chesnut-Tangerman
Founded1988; 31 years ago (1988) (coalition)
March 1999; 20 years ago (March 1999) (state major party)
Preceded byCitizens Party
HeadquartersP.O. Box 281
Montpelier, Vermont 05601
IdeologySocial democracy
Political positionCentre-left to left-wing
Colors     Pink (Green and Black sometimes used as well)
Seats in the U.S. Senate
0 / 2
Seats in the U.S. House
0 / 1
Elected statewide offices
2 / 6
Vermont Senate
2 / 30
Vermont House of Representatives
7 / 150
County Executives
1 / 14
Elected County Judges
0 / 42
0 / 8
Seats on the Burlington City Council
5 / 12
Local offices>10 (2018)[1]

The Vermont Progressive Party is a political party in the United States founded in 1999 and active only in the state of Vermont. The party is largely social democratic and progressive.

The Progressives received 9,470 votes (2.96% of the vote) in the 2010 Vermont House of Representatives elections and five seats, compared to the Democrats' 55.11% and 96 seats and the Republicans' 38.04% of the vote and 46 seats. Independents received 3.81% and three seats. As of 2019, the Party has 2 members of the Vermont Senate and 7 members of the Vermont House of Representatives.[2][3]

After the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, the Vermont Progressive Party has the highest number of seats among State and National offices for any organized party.



The Vermont Progressive Party originated in the early 1980s with the successful independent campaigns 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[4] and subsequently to the Senate[5], 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’ supporters as well as former members of the dissolved Citizens Party organized themselves as the Progressive Coalition during his final term as mayor to contest further elections.[6]

Early coalition successes[edit]

Progressives started running for the Burlington City Council and getting elected from the poor, student, and middle-class areas of Burlington. They cleaned up the waterfront, which had been left trashed by industry, started citywide recycling, and established a public/private partnership with a land trust to make low- and moderate-income rental and home ownership available. The Progressive administration started a women’s small business technical assistance program and an affirmative action ordinance for the awarding of city contracts. The city-owned public electric utility created nationally recognized efficiency programs, developed a wood-burning electric facility and provides Burlington residents with the lowest electric rates in the state.[7]

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 mayors office two years later in 1995, continuing to hold the position until 2006, being succeeded by Progressive State Rep Bob Kiss.

The coalition succeeded in electing several members, including Terry Bouricius in 1990, to the Vermont General Assembly; and after establishing a stable political base, formally became the Progressive Party in 1999.[8]

Major state party[edit]

While the party has traditionally focused on state races, it nominated Ralph Nader for President and Winona LaDuke for Vice President in 2000.[9] In the 2004 elections, the party picked up three new seats and then had five representatives in the Vermont House of Representatives.[10]

In the run up to the Senate election in 2006, there were pressures from numerous Democratic politicians to convince the Progressive Party not to run a candidate for Vermont's sole seat in the House in exchange for Democratic support for Bernie Sanders in the Senate race. The party's chairman Anthony Pollina told the press his party was not going to make deals. David Zuckerman, a Progressive Party member of the state House of Representatives and Chair of the House Agriculture committee, was planning to run for Vermont's House seat. However, Zuckerman canceled his bid for Congress in early 2006, leaving the race open to Democrat Peter Welch, who won the election.

In the Burlington mayoral election on March 7, 2006, voters chose Progressive Bob Kiss, a three-term member of the state House of Representatives, over opponents Hinda Miller (Democrat) and Kevin Curley (Republican). He was reelected to a second term in 2009.

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.


The Progressive Party encompasses a social democratic 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.[7]

Elected officials[edit]


State-wide Office

Vermont Senate

Vermont House of Representatives


Local government

  • Burlington
    • City Council
      • Perri Freeman (Central District-Ward 2 & 3) (2019–present)
      • Jack Hanson (East District-Ward 1 & 8) (2019-present)
      • Max Tracy (Ward 2) (2012–present)
      • Brian Pine (Ward 3) (2018–present)
      • Ali Dieng (D/P) (Ward 7) (2017–present)
    • Ward Clerk [11]
      • Wendy Coe (Ward 2) (2010–present)
    • Ward Inspector [12]
      • Jane Stromberg (Ward 1) (2019-present)
      • Alex Rose (Ward 2) (2019-present)
      • Kit Andrews (Ward 3) (2013-present)
      • Bonnie Filker (Ward 3) (2019-present)
  • Springfield
    • Selectboard
      • Stephanie Thompson (2010–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 local 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]

  • Executive Director: Joshua Wronski[13]
  • Senate Caucus Leader: Anthony Pollina
  • House Caucus Leader: Robin Chesnut-Tangerman
  • House Caucus Whip: Diana Gonzalez

Party Chair[edit]

  • Heather Riemer (2000-2001)
  • Bob Miller (2001)
  • Martha Abbott (2001-2004)
  • Marrisa S. Caldwell (2004–2006)
  • Anthony Pollina (2006–2008)
  • Martha Abbott (2008– 2013)
  • Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (2013–2017)
  • Anthony Pollina (2017–present)


  1. ^ "Local Officeholders". Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "Legislators - All Senators". Vermont General Assembly. The State of Vermont. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Legislators - All Representatives". Vermont General Assembly. The State of Vermont. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  4. ^ Gutman, Huck (December 12, 2002). "Some Political Lessons from Vermont". Common Dreams. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  5. ^ "Bernie Sanders elected to U.S. Senate". People's World. November 9, 2006.
  6. ^ Cockburn, Alexander (October 12, 2000). "'Vote Your Hopes, Not Your Fears'". The Nation. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Platform Straw Poll from September 2014 State Committee Meeting". Vermont Progressive Party. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  8. ^ Nichols, John (January 31, 2002). "New Year, New Party". The Nation.
  9. ^ "Vermont Progressives Nominate Nader". Ballot Access News. August 1, 2000. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  10. ^ Winger, Richard (January 15, 2009). "Vermont Bill Signed, Will Put Progressive Party on Apportionment Board". Ballot Access News. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Press Release (2018-06-13). "Vermont Progressive Party nominate candidates for statewide office - VTDigger". VTDigger. Retrieved 2018-11-02.

External links[edit]