A Vermont political ‘bromance’ of Hoff and Cain set a tone for then and now — Karen Nelson

To the Editor:

The modern political romance of our dreams is that of President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden. We see a photo of them feeding each other ice cream on Twitter and our hearts fill with hope of a bright future.

What many people don’t know is that Vermont had its own political “bromance.” This story is not well known for many reasons. It occurred before the internet, the invasion of hippies, and political campaigns costing millions.

In January of 1963, Phil Hoff became the first Democratic governor of Vermont. Two years later, Frank Cain followed as the mayor of Burlington. Their “bromance” helped the great state of Vermont pass political reform during the Civil Rights Movement and shine through a visit from President Lyndon Johnson and develop the Burlington waterfront. It is hard to believe but the waterfront was once a plot of land with homeless shacks with a harbor full of oil tankers.

This friendship carried on for over 60 years until Gov. Phil Hoff’s passing two weeks ago.

As we move towards an uncertain political future, what lessons can our own Vermont “bromance” teach us?

It is simple: The real pioneers that built our America are nameless. They are men and women who lived their lives by rising with the sun, working hard and living humbly.

So as we seek answers for the future, don’t search Google, scour Wikipedia or ask Siri.

See the wisdom in those who have come before you and apply it to your own lives.

Then we all may experience a future full of hope and light.

Karen Nelson

Nelson’s grandfather, Frank Cain, lives in Shelburne.

2 Responses to "A Vermont political ‘bromance’ of Hoff and Cain set a tone for then and now — Karen Nelson"

  1. Rich Cassidy   May 24, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    Thank you, Karen.

  2. Martha Cain   May 28, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Your article is an inspiration to me as we observe Memorial Day. Thank you for publishing your wise observations “


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