Abbott to Step Down as Prog Party Chair; Mulvaney-Stanak Seeking to Replace Her | Off Message

Please support our work!

Donate  Advertise

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Abbott to Step Down as Prog Party Chair; Mulvaney-Stanak Seeking to Replace Her

Posted By on Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 1:46 PM

click to enlarge martha_abbott.jpg

After a dozen years at the helm of the Vermont Progressive Party, chairwoman Martha Abbott (pictured at right) says she's stepping down to pave the way for younger leaders.

"Twelve years is plenty long enough," the Underhill resident says. "Fortunately we have some wonderful young people who've gotten involved in the party, have a lot of ideas and have a lot of abilities — and we're very excited about that."

One of them is former Burlington city councilor Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, who plans to run for Abbott's position at the party's state convention on November 9. A labor organizer for the Vermont-National Education Association, Mulvaney-Stanak left the council in April 2012 when she moved to Winooski. 

"When I was thinking about what my next move was in politics, this seemed to be a good fit," she says. 

If elected, Mulvaney-Stanak (pictured at left) says she hopes to broaden the party's ranks and increase its representation in local and state government.

"One big piece is mobilizing more young people and women in particular to get engaged in the party and to run for office. It's a real passion of mine," she says. "The second [priority] is to build the capacity of the party."

In addition to serving on the Burlington City Council, Mulvaney-Stanak says she's been "heavily involved" in local and state Progressive campaigns for years, including that of "another Stanak who ran recently." That would be her father, Ed Stanak, who unsuccessfully ran for attorney general last year as a Progressive.

Abbott says she's been looking to step down from the post for two years, but until Mulvaney-Stanak expressed interest, "nobody really stepped forward."

"I strongly encouraged Emma to run," Abbott says. "I think she's got the right combination of abilities and I think she'd be a great chair of the party."

According to the party's executive director and sole employee, Robert Millar, Mulvaney-Stanak is the only person who has expressed interest in running thus far, though others could emerge.

Abbott's lengthy tenure as party chief is atypical in Vermont politics. Most of those who've recently chaired the state's Democratic and Republican parties have lasted little more than a two-year election cycle.

"I've outlasted four or five of them from each party, I think," Abbott says.

In that time, she says, "Our impact in the legislature has been huge — way beyond our numbers. I think we did a tremendous amount moving issues forward, holding other politicians' feet to the fire... When we popularize an idea, eventually another party will pick it up and move it forward. We're about the issues, so when that happens we win."

Abbott outlined more of her accomplishments in an essay posted Wednesday on the party's website. Her departure was first reported Tuesday night by the Burlington Free Press' Nancy Remsen.

Abbott has tried unsuccessfully to win statewide office several times since she first ran for governor on the Liberty-Union Party line in 1974. In recent years — including last year, when she briefly made a bid for the governor's office — Abbott has put her name on the ballot solely to prevent others from hijacking the party's nomination. She says she has no plans to run again, though she's not ruling it out.

Instead of leading the party, Abbott says she hopes to concentrate on fundraising, an area in which the Progressive Party has trailed the Vermont Democratic Party.

"Politics is a fundraising world," she says. "For your voice to be heard, you need to have a reasonable amount of resources to get your voice out there."

Photos of Abbott and Mulvaney-Stanak courtesy of the Vermont Progressive Party and Mulvaney-Stanak.

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

One or more images has been removed from this article. For further information, contact [email protected].

About The Author

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz was part of the Seven Days news team from 2012 to 2020. He served as political editor and wrote the "Fair Game" political column before becoming a staff writer.

Latest in Off Message

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2024 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation