According to Green and Haines, political capital is “the ability of a group to influence the distribution of resources within a community and the ability to create a situation that otherwise would not happen.” (Green, Haines 2012) And in the town of Alburgh, the political decisions are made by the select board, and they perform three functions: legislative (enacts local ordinances, regulations and policies); administrative (prepares and presents the budget, oversees all town expenditures, supervises personnel and controls town buildings and property); and quasi-judicial (determines private rights in such areas as laying out, discontinuing and reclassifying highways and hearing appeals as the local board of health and as the local liquor control commission). (“Vermont Municipal and Community Website”, n.d.)
On the Select Board in Alburgh, there are five total members, and each of these members are the only people in the community who ran for the job, because in the last election all members ran unopposed. The five select board members are Robert Creller Jr, Alton Bruso Jr., Lee Kimball, Tyler Gotshall, and Chuck Pease. Out of all five of these men, the only one I know personally is Robert Creller Jr. because he is a local entrepreneur, and the father of my best friend.
The struggle that Alburgh faces is that it is such a small town where people aren’t engaged in political issues, so the people who make the decisions for the town all are just the people who decided to run and make the decisions. No one even attends the community meetings (which you can discover just by quickly perusing the minutes of the past few meetings)
. The problem with getting the people of Alburgh to show interest in political issues is that the majority of the population is over working age, so they spend the majority of their day at work, and spend any extra time with their family. So they don’t take the time to engage in the local political environment. If they took the time to attend these meetings and address issues in the community, (i.e. the abundance of abandoned buildings in the center of town) then Alburgh’s political capital would be a lot stronger.
Welcome to the Official Alburgh, Vermont Municipal and Community Website. (n.d.). Retrieved December 08, 2016, from http://www.alburghvt.org/