NEWS: More than 2,000 Vermonters Turned Out for Sanders Town Meetings on Reconciliation Bill over Labor Day Weekend

Sen. Bernie Sanders held five town meetings – with live music, food, and free COVID-19 vaccine services offered – in Springfield, Newport, St. Johnsbury, Brattleboro, and Middlebury.

BURLINGTON, September 7 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) held five outdoor town meetings across Vermont over Labor Day weekend – with live music, food, and free COVID-19 vaccine services made available – in Springfield, Newport, St. Johnsbury, Brattleboro, and Middlebury. The town meetings were an opportunity for communities to come together, celebrate, and discuss the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, including how it will combat climate change and make critical investments in working families in Vermont and across the country. 

“It is easy to become disillusioned,” said Sen. Sanders. “But what we cannot afford to do is allow demagogues to divide us up. Look, we may have differences of opinion. I am sure that not everybody here agrees with everything that I do. That’s okay. It’s called democracy. But we cannot have attacks against people because of the color of their skin, or where they were born, or their sexual orientation, or their religion. I am absolutely convinced that if we have the courage and the determination to stand together and fight for justice – economic justice, social justice, racial justice and environmental justice – not only can we address the enormous crises that we face, but I believe we can move this country in a much stronger and better direction.” 

Throughout the swing, Sanders spoke about the budget reconciliation bill. He also highlighted the impact of the American Rescue Plan, which passed the Senate in March 2021, and took questions from the audience at each event on a range topics, including civic education, housing, climate change, health care, voting rights, and unemployment. As Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders introduced the $3.5 trillion FY 2022 budget resolution, which includes reconciliation instructions for Congress to craft sweeping legislation to invest in the long-neglected needs of the working class.

On the reconciliation bill, Sanders said, “I hope very much that if we can pass this legislation, there will be a lot of people who say, ‘you know what, maybe democracy works and maybe, just maybe, we can have a government that works for all of us and not just the wealthy few.’ For too many years the government has been there for the wealthy and the powerful. Now is the time for the government to be there for the working families of this country. And that’s what this bill is about. If passed, this bill will be the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s. Let’s get it done.”

In Springfield on Saturday, Sen. Sanders was joined at the Comtu Cascade Park by 320 people, as well as speakers Congressman Peter Welch, Josh Dufresne, Mark Curran, Ariana Cioffi, and Bob Flint. Music was provided by Nick Charyk and members of the Western Terrestrials; food by Riverside Restaurant. 

Sanders kicked off the Sunday swing in Newport at Gardner Memorial Park, where he was joined by 280 guests, as well as speakers State Senator Bobby Starr, State Representative Katherine Sims, Matt Maxwell, and John Castle. The Bob MacKenzie Blues Band provided music and Hoagie’s Pizza & Pasta provided food. Later in the day, at the St. Johnsbury Welcome Center, Sanders was joined by 330 people as well as speakers State Representative Chip Troiano, Jenny Nelson, Brandon Burmeister, and Michael Costa, with music by Dave Keller and food by Sunshine Catering.

On Monday, 500 people turned out to see Sanders speak at the Brattleboro Common. Sanders was joined in Brattleboro by speakers Vermont Senate Pro Tempore Becca Balint, State Representative Emilie Kornheiser, Lily Charkey, Sharon Levenson, and Orly Munzing. Music was provided by Saints & Liars and food by Top of the Hill Grill. Sanders closed out the weekend with 600 people turning out on the Middlebury Town Green. Sanders was joined in Middlebury by speakers Congressman Peter Welch, Bill McKibben, Dr. Deborah Richter, Iris Hsiang, Jubilee McGill, and Jill Charbonneau, with music provided by Men of Distinction and food by Pratt’s Store. 

All events were held outside, all attendees were required to follow Vermont Department of Health guidance, and masks were encouraged regardless of vaccination status. Free COVID-19 vaccinations, provided by Vermont non-profit Rescue Inc., were made available at each event without appointment.

See photos from all events HERE.

Senator sanders with constituents during a town meeting in Springfield