Mike Mrowicki

An exercise in textbook democracy

With Covid receding but still here, a new law provides municipalities with temporary alternative means of gathering for Town Meeting. It isn’t subverting democracy. This new technology has made access to government available to more people than ever.

As soon as the 2023-24 Legislative session began, lawmakers started hearing from town clerks, Selectboards, school board members, town school committee members, and other citizens to pass H.42 (“An act relating to temporary alternative procedures for annual municipal meetings and electronic meetings of public bodies,” signed into law on Jan. 25) — and do it ASAP.

Please note the key phrase in the title of the bill: “temporary alternative.”

These are temporary alternatives to how we recognize health and safety needs predicated by the fact that COVID-19 is receding, but not gone.

Passing H.42 was an exercise in textbook democracy. The public overwhelmingly asked for a law to allow towns to make their own choices about meetings.

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After the election, there will still be lots of work to do

At a time when more Vermonters than ever are looking to the government for help, it's vital that we make government work as well as it should

Covid-19. Climate. Racial/social justice. We are facing this triple pandemic in this nation and still, we have no plan from the White House. So the lack of national leadership means state and local leaders have to step up. And in Vermont, we have. The recently concluded Overtime Session of...

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Bring the president to task, but let’s stay on track with all our work — and keep it civil

These are surely times that are testing our faith in ourselves, one another, and our democracy. As we saw with Richard Nixon, though, our republic is strong. And it can withstand the current assaults on the U.S. Constitution. What's heartening is to see a strong majority of Americans still...

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Elections, abortion rights, and climate change

Women's Reproductive Freedom. Ethnic studies. Fair and impartial policing. Indigenous Peoples' Day. Firearm waiting periods. Checks and balances of government. These are just a few of the headline issues from the wide array of work from 2019, the first year of this biennium of the Vermont Legislature. Each House member serves on one committee; each Senate member, on two. Our work also entails staying on top of what all 26 House and Senate committees are up to. Our committee work...

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Putney purged teachers for being Quakers — but eventually elected one

Thanks for publishing Heidi Watts' poignant and compelling account of the purge of teachers at Putney Central School in 1966 for being “Quakers and communists.” Anyone who knows Heidi - or Anne Fines, another teacher purged from Putney - knows what amazing educators they went on to become. Heidi has, for decades, been helping set up education at Auroville, an intentional community in India. Anne's long career as an educator included creating the SCAMP summer program for pre-K students to...

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Will 2019 be the year you visit the People’s House?

With the new year and the new Legislature, will this be the year, you visit “your” House, the Vermont Statehouse ? Vermont's Statehouse, a.k.a., the People's House, is unique in that it's one of the few historic statehouses that is also still used as a facility for legislative action. More unique is that the Vermont Statehouse and the Legislature are as open and accessible as any in the nation. No metal detectors, no reserved tickets - just open doors. When...

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Our democracy is not quite at its best, but we can vote

The word “sordid” only begins to describe the reality show “the Donald” is directing. Should we choose to learn the lessons being held up for all of us, they start with the words of Lord Acton. “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Those who drafted our Constitution recognized this possibility and distributed power in a somewhat balanced way (which we must observe even as we recognize the obvious flaws in how the original articles didn't treat all humans...

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‘Democracy is practiced here with great respect, challenge, and nurture’

The just-concluded primary campaign has created a long list of those deserving my thanks for participating in the exercise of our vibrant Vermont democracy: • My wife, Amelia Struthers, who married into this relationship of public service - service that asks both us and our family to make regular, and sometimes extraordinary, sacrifice in the service of our state. • Our cohort of campaign workers, who stepped up and offered helping hands for the myriad of tasks. They reminded voters...

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