Ver­mont us­ing old sys­tem to pick Na­tional Guard chief

Woonsocket Call - - REGION/OBITUARIES -

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The four can­di­dates vy­ing to be­come the next ad­ju­tant gen­eral of the Ver­mont Na­tional Guard through an an­ti­quated elec­tion sys­tem that some law­mak­ers want to end are promis­ing to change the or­ga­ni­za­tion, in­clud­ing mak­ing it more wel­com­ing for women.

The can­di­dates vy­ing for the job to lead the 3,600 men and women who are cur­rently serv­ing in the Ver­mont Army and Air Na­tional Guard have been work­ing the halls of the State­house in Montpelier, seek­ing sup­port from law­mak­ers who will elect the new leader in a se­cret bal­lot vote on Feb. 21.

Ver­mont is cur­rently the only state in the coun­try where the na­tional guard chief is cho­sen by a se­cret vote of the Leg­is­la­ture. Now, all the oth­ers are cho­sen by the gov­er­nor, said John Go­heen, a spokesman for the Na­tional Guard As­so­ci­a­tion of the United States, a pri­vate group that rep­re­sents guard in­ter­ests in Washington.

“Ev­ery state is a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent,” Go­heen said.

While Ver­mont is the only state where the guard chief is cho­sen by the Leg­is­la­ture, for more than a cen­tury, South Carolina chose its ad­ju­tant gen­eral by a di­rect vote of the peo­ple, a process that is end­ing next week when Maj. Gen. Bob Liv­ingston steps down.

Af­ter Liv­ingston was first elected by a statewide vote in 2010, he pushed his state to change its con­sti­tu­tion to have his suc­ces­sor cho­sen by the gov­er­nor. He said he pushed for the change, ap­proved by vot­ers in 2014, be­cause cam­paign­ing for ad­ju­tant gen­eral was hard since most peo­ple don’t un­der­stand the role. He also said he didn’t think it was right rais­ing money to run a cam­paign to be a mil­i­tary leader.

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