The radical socialists pictured above are members of Rutland Forward, a group whose motto is “We Believe in Making a Rutland for Everyone.”
Wow. That kind of thing will not go over well in Vermont’s fortress of commonsense, blue-collar conserva—
Wait, what? All the Rutland Forward candidates were winners in Tuesday’s election?
Yep. Not only that, but Rutland Forward’s two candidates for school board finished first and second.
And not only that, but city voters overwhelmingly approved not one, not two, but three infrastructure bond issues. How shockingly generous of them.
I’m not saying that Rutland Forward is the Progressive Party South. They don’t espouse any really controversial positions. They talk about meat-and-potatoes stuff like infrastructure, downtown development and even crime. But they do want to leave behind culture-war debates like the Rutland High mascot issue and opposition to a plan to locate Syrian refugee families in the city. In context, “Forward” is a subtle negation of the forces that would drag Rutland backward — or prevent it from becoming, you know, “a Rutland for everyone.”
That’s not just me saying so. It’s reflected in the angry post-election muttering of defeated incumbent Thomas DePoy.
From the Rutland Herald:
“I think the voters in the city of Rutland, at least the 25% that showed up or the 12.7% that decided this race, have decided to take the city in a totally different direction. We’ll see what happens over the next couple years.”
Oh, c’mon. DePoy has served eight terms on the Board. He knows that Town Meeting Day turnout is always low. Twenty-five percent is actually quite respectable.
But I can understand the sore-loser tantrum. DePoy got 1,305 votes and finished out of the running by a mere 34, which is enough to make any candidate a little salty on Election Night. And after such a long tenure on the Board, I’m sure DePoy had developed an unhealthy sense of entitlement.
This isn’t DePoy’s first appearance in these virtual pages. He was part of the backlash against the Rutland school board’s original decision to ditch the Raider nickname. And he once made my own personal List of Jericho for accusing activist Mia Schultz of “directly threatening the children” by suggesting that students refuse to participate under the Raider banner. So yeah, he seems uninterested in moving Rutland past the obsessions of its past.
It’s also worth noting that incumbent mayor David Allaire, who lost his bid for a third term to Rutland Forwarder Michael Doenges, owed his stint in the mayor’s chair to the vicious backlash to then-mayor Chris Louras’ proposal to bring 100 Syrian refugee families to town.
Also losing out to the Rutland Forward crew was John Cioffi, Jr., last seen running as a Republican for House in 2020 and losing badly to Democrat Mary Howard. Cioffi finished a distant eighth in a race for six alderseats on Tuesday. The only candidate to finish below Cioffi was Sherri Prouty, who was also an unsuccessful Republican candidate for House in 2020. She lost to Democrat WIlliam Notte.
Sensing a trend there.
This ought to be a wake-up call to city and county Republicans, but I doubt it will be. Both party committees are fulls of Trumpy conspiratorialists. Their response to this comprehensive shellacking will probably be to double down on the nonsense.
Meanwhile, Rutland will be moving forward — with or without them.
In the Barre Town Meeting Day elections our progressive Council members all won re-election despite some dedicated resistance (you covered Tim Boltin, one of those challengers in another article)…
One interesting thing I noticed is similar complaints here about the low turn-out. I don’t think any candidates said that, at least not publicly, but at least some of their supporters did.
“Meanwhile, Rutland will be moving forward — with or without them.”
Good for Rutland. The sooner the GOP passes off into history the better off we’ll be all around.
Allaire lost his bid for a fourth term. Rutland mayors have two years terms.