Don Turner: The importance of this election

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Don Turner, a former Republican state representative from Milton, former House minority leader, current Milton town manager and longtime member of the Milton Fire and Rescue departments. He was a candidate for lieutenant governor in 2018.

The 2020 elections might turn out to be the most consequential of the 21st century so far — both for Vermonters and for all Americans. At the national stage, in the midst of a global pandemic and economic downturn, a heated and unusual presidential election is drawing closer to its end. Whatever the outcome, there is likely to be outrage on one side or the other — an unfortunate consequence of continuing political polarization.

Meanwhile, the balance of power in the Senate is contingent upon this election, with the majority swinging one way or another depending on which poll you look at. Who wins the Senate is likely to control a significant portion of the agenda in Washington for the next two years — notably, with court appointments.

At the state level, the importance is no less significant. Whatever the outcome, next January we will have a new lieutenant governor and a new president pro tem of the Senate. Covid-19 has changed the way we look at politics, but also the way we are able to vote.

Here are just a few facts that are unusual, to say the least: We’re on track for perhaps record-breaking turnout this year. The Vermont Republican Party has fielded more candidates in decades, including for all but two seats in the Vermont Senate. In the August primary, well-known politicos in Montpelier were tossed out, including Sen. Tim Ashe in his race for lieutenant governor and Burlington Rep. Jean O’Sullivan in her bid for re-election, among others. Gov. Phil Scott will be tested for his Covid-19 response, which by all measures Vermonters approve of in overwhelming margins. We’re likely to see the first female president pro tem of the Senate. We’re also likely to elect the first transgender candidate in the history of the Vermont Legislature. Down-ballot and county races — like several contests for high baliff — have received an unusual amount of attention as well.

In short, this election will be both unique and historic.

For all of these reasons, Vermonters have a greater obligation than ever to get out and vote. Or, in these unique times, stay in and vote. Whatever party you identify with, the importance of this election cannot be understated. It will have lasting implications for the Vermont political dynamic, as well as the direction of the country as a whole.

I encourage all my fellow Vermonters to do their civic duty by carefully researching both the candidates and the issues, and voting.

VTDigger is underwritten by:


About Commentaries publishes 12 to 18 commentaries a week from a broad range of community sources. All commentaries must include the author’s first and last name, town of residence and a brief biography, including affiliations with political parties, lobbying or special interest groups. Authors are limited to one commentary published per month from February through May; the rest of the year, the limit is two per month, space permitting. The minimum length is 400 words, and the maximum is 850 words. We require commenters to cite sources for quotations and on a case-by-case basis we ask writers to back up assertions. We do not have the resources to fact check commentaries and reserve the right to reject opinions for matters of taste and inaccuracy. We do not publish commentaries that are endorsements of political candidates. Commentaries are voices from the community and do not represent VTDigger in any way. Please send your commentary to Cate Chant, [email protected]

Email: [email protected]

Reader Footnotes

VTDigger will no longer be publishing Reader Footnotes. We welcome your feedback on this decision; please write to [email protected]. Readers who have a substantive opinion may submit a commentary. See our guidelines. We also encourage readers to use our 'Tip Drop' and 'Report an Error' forms found at the end of every article.


Recent Stories

Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Don Turner: The importance of this election"