Local Analysis

Next Vermont Senator

RUTLAND HERALD 07/03/21 TIMES ARGUS 07/03/21 By Michael Shank To all the older white men potentially queuing for the 2022 election for U.S. Senate to represent Vermont, please step aside. Speaking as a white man to the handful of you who might run, I urge you to make space. As […]

It’s Long Past Time Vermont Sent a Woman to Congress

VTDIGGER 07/01/21 By Michael Shank This commentary is by Michael Shank of Brandon, an adjunct faculty member at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs. To all the older white men potentially queuing for the 2022 election for U.S. Senate to represent Vermont, please step aside. Speaking as a white […]

Climate Repairs Now Urgent

RUTLAND HERALD 06/12/21 TIMES ARGUS 06/12/21 By Michael Shank There’s been a lot of postponing on the climate front of late. Some postponing has been understandable: The annual United Nations-facilitated climate talks, for example — known as the Conference of Parties, or COPs — were postponed because of COVID travel […]

Neighborly Talk Useless

RUTLAND HERALD 04/21/21 TIMES ARGUS 04/21/21 By Michael Shank I want to critique an oft-repeated proposition in Brandon — and throughout Vermont — that you can deal with a grievance by simply “talking with your neighbor.” To be clear, I support sitting down with anyone and, in diplomacy work, believe […]

Wild West Condition

RUTLAND HERALD 09/27/21 TIMES ARGUS 09/27/21 By Michael Shank A local zoning administrator once told me — when I served as chairman of the Brandon Planning Commission — that Vermont was the “Wild West” when it came to rules and regs. He’s not wrong. I’ve witnessed this in the lax […]

Rules That Protect the Majority, Rather Than Cater to the Few

VTDIGGER 03/26/21 MOUNTAIN TIMES 04/01/21 By Michael Shank This commentary is by Michael Shank of Brandon, communications director for the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance and an adjunct faculty member at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs. A local zoning administrator once told me — when I served as chair […]

USDA Upgrade Opportunity

RUTLAND HERALD 02/27/21 TIMES ARGUS 02/27/21 By Michael Shank Since receiving President Joe Biden’s nomination for secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack has indicated he’s newly committed to a USDA that prioritizes sustainable, regenerative and climate-resilient agriculture. It’s a welcomed shift from previous stints as USDA secretary under […]

Animal Welfare in Rutland County

RUTLAND HERALD 01/29/21 By Michael Shank For those who have been following this story in Brandon regarding our recently dismissed Animal Control Officer (ACO), a story the Rutland Herald covered recently, there’s some additional information and background that will be helpful in both unpacking what happened and preparing and equipping […]

Getting Off Fossil Gas

VTDIGGER 12/30/20 By Michael Shank Editor’s note: This commentary is by Michael Shank, of Brandon, who is communications director for the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance and adjunct faculty at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs. This month witnessed the launch of the first-ever “Gas Index,” which ranks American metropolitan […]