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A GUIDE TO THE CONGRESSIONAL RACES: VERMONT

4 minute read
TIME

VERMONT

Population (1994): 580,000 (up 3.1% from 1990), 0.2% of U.S. total

Voting-age population: 429,000; 1994 turnout, 48%

Median age: 33.0 years

Median household income: $35,802 ($3,538 above U.S. median)

Unemployment: 3.9% (2.7% below U.S. average, March 1996)

Last presidential election: Clinton (D): 46% Bush (R): 30% Perot (I): 23%

Congressional delegation: One Democrat, one Republican, one Independent

From the early 19th century to about 1960, Vermont avoided much of the Industrial Revolution. Many natives of what had been the crusty home of the Green Mountain Boys (who drove the British from the land that would become Vermont) hightailed it to economically and meteorologically balmier climes. This gave the state a legacy of sparsely settled natural beauty, which, over the past three decades, fostered a population increase of more than 48%. It was a liberal migration that contributed to a small political revolution: a state that was one of only two to vote against Roosevelt in 1936 in 1990 sent Congress its first Socialist Representative since 1928.

JACK LONG (D) District–At large (Statewide)

BORN: July 10, 1944, Newark, N.J. EDUCATION: Georgetown U, B.S.B.A., 1966, J.D., 1969 FAMILY: Separated; two children RELIGION: Protestant MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Businessman; lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: 12 Pearl Street, Burlington 05401. Tel.: 802-865-4013

Mainstream Democrat Long served as commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and opposes reductions in the epa budget. In this race, he has had the unusual difficulty of being snubbed by high-profile members of his own party–Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos ignored Long at a state fund raiser–in favor of independent incumbent Bernie Sanders, whom Democratic insiders believe could be vulnerable to Republican Susan Sweetser if Long siphons away too many votes.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense NR Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NR Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I am seeking the support of thoughtful, moderate Vermonters who believe, as I do, that we all–from corporate executives to welfare recipients–have not only rights, but also responsibilities.”

BERNARD SANDERS (I) District–At large

BORN: Sept. 8, 1941, Brooklyn, N.Y. EDUCATION: U of Chicago, B.A., 1964 FAMILY: Wife, Jane O’Meara; one child, three stepchildren RELIGION: Jewish MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Professor; free-lance writer POLITICAL CAREER: Mayor of Burlington, 1981-89; U.S. House, 1990- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 391, Burlington 05402. Tel.: 802-862-1505

Sanders is the only independent in Congress, and the first socialist to serve on Capitol Hill since 1928. His outsider status has made it difficult for him to pass his sponsored legislation, but he has fought successfully for $1.08 billion to fund fuel assistance for the poor and outlaw the denial of health insurance to domestic-abuse victims. He also advocates higher taxes for the wealthy and a 50% military budget cut.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “When you acknowledge being a socialist, you can begin attacking some of the real problems in our society that Democrats and Republicans will never talk about in a million years.”

SUSAN SWEETSER (R) District–At large

BORN: Dec. 13, 1958, Glen Ridge, N.J. EDUCATION: Johnson State College, B.A., 1981; Vermont Law School, J.D., 1985 FAMILY: Husband, David Sands; two children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer; college instructor POLITICAL CAREER: Vermont Senate, 1993- ADDRESS: 139 Main Street, Montpelier 05602. Tel.: 802-229-1996

Sweetser, a moderate, is for a balanced-budget amendment, school vouchers and the minimum-wage hike. Once a victim of violent crime, Sweetser sponsored Vermont’s Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, which, among other things, lets victims testify without their attacker’s being present. Sweetser won handily in her state Senate races, but taking on the popular Bernie Sanders is another campaign.

THE ISSUES

Budget NR Medicare NR Defense YES Abortion NO Guns NR Gays YES Bosnia NR NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “If [Bob Dole’s proposal for a 15% income tax cut] came on the floor of…Congress before there was a balanced budget, I couldn’t support it.”

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