Photo Credit Burlington Free Press
Lincoln Take on Ceremonial Mayoral Role in Vermont
By Carla Charter
FAIR HAVEN, VERMONT- Fair Haven, like many New England towns has a board of selectman and a town manager. However, they recently added a new office to the town by electing Lincoln, a female Nubian Goat, as Ceremonial Mayor.
Joe Gunter, Town Manager, had the idea of an election for a ceremonial mayor after hearing of a Michigan town who had elected a cat. “I thought a similar election here would help us raise money for our new playground. Our current playground is 20 to 30 years old and needs to be replaced,” he said. “I was shocked with the popularity of the election. I thought local folks here might get a laugh I did not think places like ABC News would pick it up,” Gunter said.
Residents of Fair Haven were allowed to enter their animal in the election campaign for $5.00, with the money being donated to the new playground fund. “We got some fancy pictures of candidates, some of which were with kids and others of which had the town hall in them,” he said.
Platforms for these candidates were varied and included such promises as being fiscally responsible. “Lincoln’s winning platform was that she ‘was a really nice goat’. Based on national politics where everyone is so angry and divisive the platform of ‘a really nice goat’ is a nice change of pace,” Both children and adults were allowed to vote for their favorite candidate.
Lincoln’s first official appearance was at the most recent selectman’s meeting, where she was officially sworn in and took the oath of office. “We put her foot on the ink and she stamped the oath of office.” Then, being a goat she defecated on the town hall floor.
Lincoln will continue her official appearances throughout her one year term, including at the Memorial Day Parade, Spring Fling, Fair Haven Fridays and other ceremonial events for the town. “She is a public figure, Gunter said. When not serving as Mayor, Lincoln keeps busy chewing the brush in her owner’s yard.
As for the new playground, local businesses have contributed $10,000 and Lincoln’s election raised another $100. “We have approximately $70,000 left to raise, Gunter said. Those who would like to donate to the new Fair Haven Playground Fund can send checks to Town Hall, 3 North Park Place, Fair Haven, Vermont 05743 Attn: Town manager with the check noted for playground donation.