Joyce Marcel

Windham County lawmakers reflect on months of compromise, celebration, concern, and chaos

Legislators review victories, defeats, and favorite moments after the 2023-24 session adjourns

BRATTLEBORO-It was a tough legislative session with lots of action, reaction, traction, and factions, and it made Gov. Phil Scott so uneasy he said it convinced him to run for a fifth term in office. Windham County's legislators were in the thick of it from start to finish.

The session isn't quite over yet, however.

Bills that passed through the House and Senate are now on Scott's desk, awaiting his signature. If or when he declines to sign them, a veto override session is scheduled for Monday, June 17.

Scott has already indicated that some bills are up for a veto.

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Legislature will include new faces from county in '25

Coffey, Roberts, and Toleno announce their retirements, while Kornheiser gets a primary challenger

BRATTLEBORO-It may not be odd that there will be several races for seats in the House of Representatives this fall, but it is unusual that two of the people leaving are named Tristan. Both Tristan Roberts, D-Halifax, and Tristan Toleno, D-Brattleboro, are stepping away from the Legislature. Sara Coffey,

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The color of medicine

Local hospitals work on eliminating racial disparities in the delivery of health care as a Windham County NAACP group targets race-based presumptions in the medical milieu

BRATTLEBORO-Medically, the only two ways in which white patients and Black patients differ are skin color and hair type. That's it. Everything else is a social, not a racial, construct. Yet it is not widely known, at least among the white population, that there is medicine for them and...

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A wealth-tax bill roared to victory in the House. Then it died in the Senate. What happened?

BRATTLEBORO-If there can be an obituary for a piece of legislation, then this is it: H.829, we hardly knew ye. H.829 was enthusiastically passed by the Vermont House of Representatives, 97–42 but was killed in the Senate. From the beginning of the legislative session, H.829 was spoken about reverently by its supporters in Windham County. Its intent was to increase affordable housing in a number of ways by investing $900 million over the next 10 years. But where would the...

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Longtime Brattleboro rep. won’t seek re-election

BRATTLEBORO-After serving 12 years in the Legislature, Rep. Tristan Toleno, D-Brattleboro, is retiring from state politics and ramping up his career as an organizational consultant. Toleno, 52, said he feels the need to return to full-time work and build up some wealth and stability before retirement. "It's a personal decision to prioritize my family and future security," he told The Commons. "I spent most of my whole adult working life in food service. I loved that career. But it wasn't...

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State’s smallest hospital makes big economic impact

TOWNSHEND-The people of the West River Valley love Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital for its role in providing health care to this underserved rural area, but they might not realize the economic contribution it makes to the region. While Grace Cottage - by numerous metrics, the smallest hospital in Vermont - relies on philanthropy to continue providing its services, it also pours a significant amount of money back into Windham County. Founded in 1949, Grace Cottage offers a small,

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Balint seeks second term

BRATTLEBORO-There are times when Vermont likes to go all in, so in 2022, when it decided to send its first female to Congress, it chose Becca Balint, an idealistic lesbian politician, a progressive Democrat, a Brattleboro resident, a mother of two, a former teacher, and the former president pro tem of the Vermont Senate. "It's been an incredible joy and a privilege," Balint told The Commons when she announced her re-election campaign late last month. "And it feels like an...

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The lion in winter

Some people call him St. Patrick. Former U.S. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, along with his wife, Marcelle, are beloved by many in Vermont for many reasons. First, for their accessibility, and second, for their clear and obvious love of Vermont. Third, for being on the right side of most of the issues Vermonters care about. Fourth, for their wit, charm, warmth and grace. And fifth, for Sen. Leahy's record of ensuring that Vermont would get its slice of the federal-funding...

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