The candidates competing for mayor in one small Vermont town don’t have to pick a party – or have opposable thumbs.
Ever since March 2019, the mayor of Fair Haven has been of the four-legged variety. Lincoln, a 3-year-old Nubian goat, is the current mayor.
Fair Haven has a town manager, a position held by a human. The honorary pet mayoral position started as a way to raise money to replace the community’s elementary school’s playground.
“It is a $5 registration fee to put your pet in the race,” Town Manager Joe Gunter told CNN. “Any Fair Haven resident can cast a mayoral ballot. We are asking for donations on election day but they are not required to participate. Every little bit gets us that much closer to our goal.”
The total goal? $80,000. Which is why town Police Chief Bill Humphries hopes that throwing K-9 Sammy’s name into the race will raise more funds.
“Lincoln’s done a great job,” Humphries told CNN affiliate WPTZ. “Lincoln’s represented the community well, and we just thought it would be a great idea to say, ‘Come on, run for one more year and see if we can challenge you.’ ”
Challenge accepted. Lincoln, however has a backup plan in case the 6-year-old German Shepherd rescue dog comes out on top.
“If Lincoln does not win she will pursue a career in goat yoga,” said Christopher Stanton, a middle school teacher and the goat’s owner. “She has found this to be a very rewarding experience.”
In 2019, Lincoln won the mayor’s seat by just three votes. This year, the race might go to the dogs.
“It is a tight race,” Gunter said. “Each candidate is vying for every swing vote they can get. Complicating matters is the third party candidate who just announced his candidacy. This is a real game changer for both the major party candidates.”
Heating up the race is Murfee, a 3-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He’s a certified therapy dog who visits nursing homes, the hospital and Fair Haven Elementary School, where he helped start a “reading with the dogs” program.
“Murfee believes reading is very important but also thinks outside playtime is a necessity,” said Murfee’s owner and campaign manager, Linda Barker. “If elected pet mayor he will work hard to make sure the kids of Fair Haven get the best playground possible.”
With three quality candidates running for mayor of Fair Haven in 2020, it’s a good thing the election isn’t until March 3. If you’d like to help the town with their fund-raising goal for a new playground, click here.