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This story appears in the April 5, 2012, edition of the Rutland County Express.

President Obama’s visit to Vermont last week may have been the first from a sitting president in 17 years, but throughout its history, the Green Mountain State has played host to many others. Some have come to campaign, some have come for pleasure and two were even born here. But, few, if any, of these visits were very remarkable. With that, I present an alternate history to Vermont’s presidential visits.

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A version of this story appears in the Feb. 16, 2012, edition of the Rutland County Express.

“For a state with so many hills, Vermont is pretty flat.”

This sentiment was expressed by a colleague of mine recently after a visit to the Vermont State House in Montpelier. And while this realization is nothing new, a day spent wandering the halls of our state government really drives it home.

At a time when the average citizen feels increasingly powerless — at the mercy of governments, corporations, banks, churches and other institutions that seem more concerned with self-preservation than with the public good — it is refreshing (and comforting) to know that Vermont’s government is still accessible, democratic and equitable.

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Once upon a time, I was a big fan of Seven Days — it’s a fairly edgy, often entertaining pub that, when I first started reading it, was a refreshing change from Vermont’s typically staid and traditional news publications.

Over the years, it has grown in popularity and coverage. It became more confident in its ability to cover real news and moved beyond the soft, feature-y stories that tend to fill free weeklies. And to a large extent, they’ve done a good job. But lately, I’ve been loving my patience.

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