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April 20th, 2014

Senate Report

Governor Deane C. Davis

  by Sen. Bill Doyle   The Democrat who tried to follow in Hoff’s gubernatorial shoes failed. John Daley of Rutland was beaten in 1968 by Deane C. Davis, former president of National Life Insurance Company of Montpelier and long-time Republican. Davis, who possessed wit and charm, combined a person-to-person campaign with imaginative tele...

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Governor Philip Hoff

In 1962, Burlington attorney Philip Hoff, one of the so-called “Young Turks” in the 1960 General Assembly (the bipartisan group also included Republicans Richard Mallary, Sanborn Partridge, Ernest Gibson III and Franklin Billings), ran successfully against incumbent Republican Governor F. Ray Keyser Jr.   Hoff, who also won re-election in 1966...

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Ernest Gibson

Ernest Gibson is treated for a head wound during a Japanese air raid in the Pacific during World War II.   by Sen. Bill Doyle   George Aiken was succeeded in the State House by William Wills, and then in 1944 by the last of the Proctors, Mortimer. In 1946, Proctor was challenged by Ernest Gibson, Jr. Gibson was just back from World War II...

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George Aiken: Senator and Governor

  by Sen. Doyle   Vermont Democrats were not able to capitalize on the economic disarray and make make serious inroads into Republican power. Part of the reason was the leadership provided by George Aiken, who was a legislator, House speaker and lieutenant governor before running successfully for governor in 1936. Among Aiken’s strongest suppo...

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The Flood of 1927

  by Sen. Bill Doyle   It was the flood of 1927, and not the Depression, that first led Vermont through a period of great change. The flood caused massive damage around the state, wiping out highways and railroads and sweeping buildings off their foundations. Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce, came to the state to view the damage, remarking h...

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Calvin Coolidge

  A few days after Governor Hartness’s inaugural address, Vice President-elect Calvin Coolidge addressed the Vermont General Assembly. A native of Plymouth Notch, Coolidge had made his mark in Massachusetts politics and had gained national recognition during the Boston police strike of 1919, when he made the famous pronouncement that, “There is no...

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Women Gain the Right to Vote

Edna Beard, the first woman to serve in the Vermont General Assembly. Beard represented the Town of Orange, and was later elected to the Senate from Orange County.     The General Assembly of 1915, which enacted the direct primary, was considered a “progressive” group. Progressive legislation included Vermont’s initial workmen’s compensat...

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Abraham Lincoln and the Rise of the Republican Party

The time was ripe for the rise of a new party that would gather under one stand the disaffected members of the various established parties. The Republican party in Vermont was organized on July 13, 1854, when about 600 to 800 people gathered at the State House in Montpelier.   A person who played an important role in the creation of the new pa...

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Stephen Douglas

  The Democratic party in Vermont lost any abolitionist support it still had in 1854, when Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas (a native of Brandon) proposed the Nebraska Act, which allowed new states in the Nebraska territory to decide for themselves whether they wanted to allow slavery. Douglas was described as a “steam engine in breeches” and...

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The Election of 1840

by Sen. Bill Doyle   The campaign of 1840 was one of the most spectacular ever waged in Vermont. More people voted (56,117) than in any previous Vermont election. Not until 1868 would the vote be exceeded (57,978).   The 1840 Whig State Convention was held in Burlington on June 25. It was reported to be the largest ever held in New Englan...

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