Julia Barnes steps aside

Political job seekers take note: the Vermont Democratic Party is in the market for a new executive director. Julia Barnes is leaving after 3 1/2 years in a very demanding post.

How demanding? “At 3 1/2 years, I’m the second longest-serving executive director in Vermont Democratic Party history,” she says. (Number 1 is Jon Copans, BTW.)

This is an entirely voluntary decision on her part. “It’s exhausting work,” she says. “We’ve made a ton of progress with the Party, and I’m ready for something new. I’ve loved my time at the Vermont Democratic Party, working with the staff, activists, and elected officials. If I had to go back in time, I’d do it again.”

“Something new” might be pursuit of an advanced degree or something else in politics.

I must observe that this is a good time for an accomplished, successful operative to be on the market. Presidential campaigns are ramping up, and state-level campaigns will be doing so in coming months. With Barnes’ track record, I suspect she’ll have more than one offer. If, that is, she decides to stay in the sausage factory.

And while a superficial reading of the 2014 election might raise questions about her leadership, I think it’s abundantly clear that the Democrats’ fundamental problems were (1) a very unpopular Governor, and (2) a non-Presidential and non-Senatorial year that depressed turnout. A closer reading of the returns would show that the VDP was rowing against some very powerful tides. During Barnes’ time as ED, the party has built and maintained a strong organization.

So yeah, if she wants a job in politics she’ll get one. And her successor will have big shoes to fill.

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2 thoughts on “Julia Barnes steps aside

  1. Norm Plimpton

    If Ms. Barnes and her Dem posse had challenged Shumlin more on some of his boneheaded moves this past session, her allegation that the party has made “a ton of progress” might hold water. I hear more and more so-called Dems voicing displeasure with some of Shumlin’s poor decisions and with the Party’s refusal to distance itself from him or call him out for being more Republican at times than Dem. The Dem Party is in disarray and has lost its way. They are being led by a bunch of pro-business zealots who have no connection to average working people. Dick Sears and Dick Mazza are dinosaurs and their views are neanderthal. I yanked my Dem Party affiliation four years ago and haven’t looked back. If the Progs put someone credible up against the Dem stable of DINOs, they will have my vote.

    Reply

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