It was the first day of school in a brand-new school year at Johnson State College on Monday. Students sat with unspoiled notebooks in front of them. Probably had barely moved into their dorm rooms. But professor Bill Doyle had his Campaigns and Elections class whipped into shape already.
Doyle, the 80-year-old who practices political science as a Republican representing Washington County in the state Senate and then teaches political science at Johnson State for his real job, told his students that part of their requirement for the course is to ask questions. Ask they did. Not a bad question in the whole bunch. As someone who has asked her fair share of bad questions I am qualified to judge such things.
These mostly young adults wanted to know about ethics and farming and federal spending. They've seen the candidates' television ads and they wanted to know why they said what they did and why they didn't said what they didn't.
Hopefully, they will not lose their verve for questioning candidates because every Monday for the next eight weeks they will be hosting a slate of candidates for some office or another. The best part of it all is the public is welcome to sit and watch. A couple from Williston was doing just that Monday. Doyle might make you introduce yourself, but he will also make you welcome.
Here's the rest of the schedule. All are at 4:30 p.m. in the Ellsworth Room on the second floor of the Johnson State library building:
Sept. 4: Democratic lieutenant governor candidates Matt Dunne and John Tracy.
Sept. 11: Secretary of State candidates Deb Markowitz (D) and Cheryl Moomey (R).
Sept. 18: Lamoille County state Senate candidates Susan Bartlett (D) and Jim Black (R).
Sept. 25: State auditor candidates Randy Brock (R), Tom Salmon (D) and Martha Abbott (P).
Oct. 2: Lt. gov. candidates Brian Dubie (R), Dr. Marvin Malek, (P) and the winner of the Democratic primary.
Oct. 16: U.S. Senate candidates Bernie Sanders (I) and the winner of the Republican primary.
Oct. 23: U.S. House candidates Peter Welch (D) and the winner of the Republican primary.
Oct. 30: Gubernatorial candidates Jim Douglas (R) and Scudder Parker (D).
- Terri Hallenbeck