Political Capital: Rutland, Vermont

In their textbook Asset Building & Community Development, Gary Paul Green and Anna Haines define political capital through the authors Flora and Flora as “the ability of a group to influence the distribution  of resources within a social unit” (Flora & Flora, 2013, p.144). This means that a group that has an interest in the outcome of a decision has the political clout to alter the minds of voters to hopefully get their wanted outcome. Rutland, Vermont keeps up the average amount of political motion for any small town. A community that voted over 60% democratic in the most previous election, (politico.com) Rutland’s most recent and possibly biggest political controversy came from the debate regarding whether or not to accept Syrian refugees into the community. Many Rutlanders wished to help fellow humans in the midst of a devastating crisis. The Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program expressed their excitement to welcome the refugees into their community on the group’s Facebook page. However, in a distinctive break from Vermont’s majorly progressive values, many in the Rutland community worried that they would unknowingly be accepting terrorists from the Middle East as well. According to Mike Kalil- a successful Rutland real estate agent originally from Aleppo- it is no surprise that a town that is usually conservative may be afraid of such a move, considering the fear-mongering that has come with the current political campaign. Eventually, the town decided that they would be willing to aid Syria by offering safe homes for 100 of their war refugees.

Gram, D. (2016, September 30). 100 Syrian refugees approved for Rutland. Retrieved October

28, 2016.

Larson, E. (2016, September 30). Rutland prepares for 100 Syrians approved to resettle.

Retrieved October 28, 2016.

Siemaszko, C. (2016, September 18). Vermont town’s lone Syrian tells neighbors: Give

refugees a chance. Retrieved October 28, 2016.