Delegating Denver #50 of 56: Vermont

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Total Number of Delegates: 23 Pledged: 15 Unpledged: 8

How to Recognize a Vermont Delegate: Vermont has a reputation as a haven for hippies and trust-funders, but loaded wannabes are only fooling themselves if they think they can be a Green Mountaineer simply by relocating and becoming a hobby farm-uh. True Vermonters are more rare than a warm welcome in a Northeast Kingdom ski town. But don't call these independent individuals unfriendly: They’re just too busy fighting off McMansions and Wal-Marts to befriend idiot transplants in search of a fictitious Utopia. Life in Vermont has always been about hard work (well, at least from 5 a.m. until breakfast). Vermonters are the Americans to call when cows need to be milked, equal rights defended, wars won and mountains moved. They are the selfless servants who keep their noses to the grindstone in order to accomplish the miracles that others take credit for. They'd rather make a better world than muck around in other people's bullshit, damn ya! Of course, that kind of attitude means they don't spend a lot of time glad-handing, and will stick out at the Democratic Convention like social sore thumbs. Mostly, they’ll keep to themselves until provoked, and then they’ll talk too loudly and laugh at the wrong parts of a conversation. While their arms flail, their eyes will dart wildly in search of the exits. Remember the “Dean Scream”? Aiyah, ’nuff said! Vermonters will be the delegates who are all dolled up in their dress dungarees, handmade sweaters and rubberized loafers. Males will wear plaid wool hats with the earflaps down and have a tendency to slowly drift toward the dooryard. Females will settle comfortably into any situation, then take out their knitting and get to work on the pieces they need to sell (in craft co-ops from Bennington to Burlington) to pay for the winter's heating oil.

Famous Vermonters: 21st United States president Chester A. Arthur; 30th United States president Calvin Coolidge; original apostles of the Mormon Church Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball; Seventh-Day Adventist Church founder Rachel Oakes Preston; Panama Canal engineer Lindon Wallace Bates; Spanish-American War hero Admiral George Dewey; tractor-happy John Deere; dental laughing-gas pioneer Gardner Quincy Colton; rodeo jeans inventor Harry David Lee; Alcoholics Anonymous founders Bob Smith and Bill W.; land-mine-banning Nobel Prize winner Jody Williams; master painter William Morris Hunt; pioneer snowflake photographer Wilson Bentley; “American Elf” cartoonist James Kolchaka; indie-art sensation Miranda July; entertainer Rudy Vallee; Weather Channel beefcake Jim Cantore; singer-songwriter JoJo (full name: Joanna Noelle Blagden Levesque); skiers Andrea Mead-Lawrence, Suzy "Chapstick" Chaffee and the Cochran family; snowboarder Ross Powers.

Famous Vermont Democrats: 77th governor Madeleine M. Kunin; 79th governor and current Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean; senior United States senator Patrick Leahy; United States representative Peter Welch; state House Speaker Gaye Symington; Senate Majority Leader John F. Campbell; Assistant Majority Leader Claire Ayer.

Famous Vermonters With Denver Connections: Colorado silver king Horace W. Tabor; gangland bunko-artist organizer Lou "The Fixer" Blonger; eighth lieutenant governor David H. Nichols; bon vivant and city builder Barbara Mcfarlane; renaissance man Gregory Ego; University of Denver skiing coach David Stewart.

State Nickname: The Green Mountain State (official); Gateway to Montreal, Little Canada, Brrrmont, Vermonster Island (unofficial) Population: 623,908 Racial Distribution: 97% white, 1% black, 1% Asian, 1% Hispanic Per Capita Personal Income: $30,740 Unemployment: 5.6%


Most Vermonter Denver Neighborhood: Country Club

Most Vermonter Bar: Decatur Cafe 800 Decatur Street

In honor of the first state to offer civil-union status to same-sex couples, Vermonters will be warmly welcomed by this bar full of like-minded Denver women with interests in hardware stores, wood chopping, pickups and pocket knives.

Most Vermonter Restaurant: Watercourse Foods 837 East 17th Avenue

Perfect comfort vegetarian cuisine for the vehement Vermonter accustomed to eating at the Brattleboro Food Co-op: A Denver restaurant that "believes it is minimizing its environmental footprint by only serving water upon request."

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Best Day Trip: Leadville

Most "state pride" across America is manufactured by the marketing departments of professional sports franchises. In Vermont, it comes from the personal ability to survive in the state's unique natural environment. Green Mountain pride gets in the blood and makes it hard for natives to move away. Thankfully, some do, because they transfer their glory onto their new home. Colorado has benefited greatly from each of its Vermont transplants, ever since Horace Tabor entered the upper reaches of the Arkansas River Valley in 1860. The Leadville district is one of the most highly mineralized areas in the world and has produced gold, silver, zinc, manganese, molybdenum and lead. Here in "Cloud City," the Northeast Kingdom stonecutter's life reached the lofty heights of Colorado legend. From grubstaker to owner of the Matchless Mine, Tabor took his fortune and embarked on a bizarre public career that began as a builder of elegant office buildings, hotels and opera houses in Leadville and Denver and ended with a scandalous wedding to divorcée "Baby Doe" McCourt at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., and a patronage job at the Denver post office. Tabor's fall was as meteoric as his rise. His last words to his wife were "Hang on to the Matchless" -- where she lived penniless and insane for another 36 years. In March 1935, her frozen body was found in a cabin near the mine; she had run out of wood for her stove. The full story has more twists than an opera and has inspired the writing of two. Tabor's final act still plays out daily in Leadville. To reach the town from Denver, drive 66 miles west on I-70, then take exit 195 and drive 24 miles south on Colorado Highway 91. Cloud City lies just below timberline, at almost two miles above sea level. Ore dumps from famous mines tumble down the disemboweled mountains that ring the town. Among the Victorian homes, Tabor's Grand Opera House, hotel, home and the Matchless Mine stand as the proudest symbols of Colorado's history — which could only have been written by a man from Vermont. -- Kenny Be

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