August 26th, 2019

Vermont Politicians “Abroad” Part II

Chester Arthur, Vermont native who became President when James Garfield was assassinated in 1882.

Chester Arthur, Vermont native who became President when James Garfield was assassinated in 1882.

It has been said that Vermont’s greatest export is its people, and this is no less true for its political figures. Vermonters who have served their state in Washington, and the natives who left Vermont and served in other states, have been part of an unusually large group of highly regarded public figures from one of the country’s smallest states.

Another prominent lawmaker was Luke Poland, born in Westford, Chief Justice’d the Vermont Supreme Court and a five-term Congressman. Poland was the chairman of the committee that investigated the Credit Mobilier Scandal during the Grant administration and led an investigation of the Ku Klux Klan. As chairman of the committee, Poland reported that “this country is fast becoming filled with gigantic corporations, wielding and controlling immense aggregations of money and thereby commanding vast influence and power.”

Levi Morton, born in Shoreham, was governor of New York, served in Congress, was United States minister to France and served as vice-president from 1888-1892.

Fairfield-born Chester Arthur, who taught school in Pownal before leaving the state, became president when a disappointed office-seeker assassinated James Garfield in 1882. Arthur pioneered Civil Service reforms while in office.

Dorman Kent, in his 1937 book “Vermonters,” reviewed the 1890 edition of “Who’s Who In America” and found at that time, Vermont provided the United States with a greater number of statesmen and judges, proportionate to its size than almost any other state in the Union. Vermonters serving out-of-state included 46 state supreme court judges, 14 Unit-ed States senators, 100 United States congressmen and 22 governors .

Senator Bill Doyle serves on the Senate Education Committee and Senate Economic Affairs Committee, and is the Senate Assistant Minority Leader. He teaches government history at Johnson State Col-lege. He can be reached at 186 Murray Road, Montpelier, VT 05602; e-mail wdoyle@leg.state.vt.us; or call 223-2851.

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