(Host) In Killington on Tuesday, voters said ‘yes’ to secession as a way to fight what they consider to be unfair state property taxes. Most admit that becoming part of New Hampshire will be a long shot. But as VPR’s Nina Keck reports, the majority of those at Town Meeting said it’s worth the fight.
(Keck) The residents who packed Killington’s elementary school gymnasium took only seconds to vote. But for almost an hour beforehand, residents of all ages took turns standing in front of a lone microphone to discuss that matter.
(Blackman) “Hello, my name’s Austin Blackman and I’m a fifth grade student here at Sherburne. And we’ve been learning about the Boston Tea Party and the Revolution and I’ve made a few connections.” (Sound of laughter.)
(Keck) Killington resident Diane Rosenblum, says she’s glad the town is taking such a dramatic step. But she reminded her neighbors that if they want to succeed, they’ll have to fight for the measure.
(Rosenblum) “I think the town has to be ready, to get in their cars and buses and really spend a lot of our time up in Montpelier talking to the representatives who know we’re serious. This is not just something that can be left alone to three select board members. We are all going to have to take a part. Otherwise it’s going to look like something we voted on just because we were mad.”
(Keck) While the majority of those who spoke favored secession, some, like Tim Abraham, did so with mixed emotions.
(Abraham) “Vermont takes care of its children up to 18 years old with health care. I don’t know if New Hampshire does that. Vermont has lowered the rate of spousal abuse by two-thirds over a period of about eight years. I don’t think New Hampshire can claim that. Vermont supports some progressive ideas that I very much support, so I support this initiative but I do so with great hesitancy.”
(Kinzel) Kip Dalury was more direct with his opposition. He says pursuing secession will be a waste of time and money.
(Dalury) “The Selectmen are being led into this and I don’t think they understand the futility of this action. It’s a protest type maneuver and it’s understandable. But what we really need to be talking about is, how do we govern ourselves?”
(Keck) While most everyone admits the chances of secession are slim, Killington officials say they’re prepared to take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck in Killington.