Introducing VPIRG Votes

Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of a major new initiative.

This month we are forming VPIRG Votes – a political campaign arm for our organization. Later this year, for the first time ever, we plan to support public interest champions running for the Vermont State House, Senate and statewide office.

This is a major new step for our organization – so we want to share a little more about what has brought us to this point.

Over the years, we’ve won some big victories together, from retiring Vermont Yankee as planned to protecting kids from toxic products to passing the nation’s toughest ban on single use plastics. But, despite our significant victories, the threats to our environment and democracy have never been greater than they are right now.

In the face of an unprecedented climate crisis, VPIRG’s work has never been more vital. But we need to do more.

The truth is, the most important day on the legislative calendar is no longer during the session itself. It’s Election Day. Who wins in November is often more consequential to Vermont’s trajectory than all the reports we write and testimony we deliver between January and June of the legislative session.

For nearly fifty years VPIRG has opted not to endorse candidates for office. Today, that changes.

Check out the VPIRG Votes website to watch our launch video and learn more about this exciting new initiative.

VPIRG is the largest environmental and consumer advocacy organization in the state, with 50,000 members and supporters. And no one talks to more Vermonters at their doors than we do. Each summer we deploy dozens of dedicated canvassers to engage Vermonters in issues-based advocacy. But sometimes even VPIRG’s people power isn’t enough to protect the public from greedy special interests. VPIRG Votes is one way to address this imbalance.

In 2020, we have a simple strategy:

  • Recruit and train quality candidates to run for office;
  • Go door-to-door in a separate fall canvass to talk with Vermonters about our issues and the candidates who will champion them in the State House; and
  • Turnout thousands of new voters to support candidates and the public interest.

We are confident that the creation of VPIRG Votes will allow us to expand on VPIRG’s current work by supporting and electing public interest champions who will promote and protect the health of Vermont’s people, environment, and locally-based economy.

At the same time, VPIRG will continue to engage in the high-quality research, organizing and advocacy we’ve long been known for.

We will continue to knock on thousands of doors every summer to educate Vermonters on traditional VPIRG issues, recruit VPIRG members to get involved in public interest campaigns, and build non-partisan grassroots support for action.

And we will continue to hold our elected leaders accountable regardless of who they are, what party they’re from or even if they’ve been endorsed by VPIRG Votes.

Because we don’t see VPIRG Votes as a replacement for the methods we’ve honed over nearly a half century to ensure Vermont’s people and environment are protected from the worst excesses of big-money special interests.

Rather, we see this as an essential new tool to ensure we stay vibrant and realize that mission for the next fifty years.

We hope we can count on your support as we transition into this exiting new chapter.