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Talking In Place: What Can Vermont Town Meetings Teach Us About Bridging Divides?

Author Susan Clark, historian Paul M. Searls, podcaster Erica Heilman, and UVM professor Cheryl Morse reflect on what Vermont’s rural town meeting tradition can teach us about our nation’s democracy today.

We invite you to listen to “Town Meeting,” a new half-hour show in the award-winning Rumblestrip podcast series. You’ll enjoy sound from the floor of town meetings and some surprising stories from participants who normally don’t share their opinions: Vermont’s town moderators.

We were pleased to help sponsor this talk as part of the Vermont Civics Collaborative, part of the nationwide “Why it Matters: Civics and Electoral Participation” initiative sponsored by the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

Photo of the East Montpelier town meeting by Terry J. Allen.

Listen to the Rumblestrip Town Meeting episode

In most of New England, town citizens become legislators for one day a year. They get together in school gyms and town halls and vote in person, and in public. This centuries long practice of towns doing the slow and hard work of disagreeing and arguing and compromising on how to govern themselves—this has a profound impact on a place, and what it means to be from a place.

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