MONTPELIER — The title of former senator Bill Doyle's new book says a lot about the legacy left by the man himself: "A Lasting Impression."  Forever indefatigable, the well-known author of Bill Doyle's Town Meeting Day Survey has also written a new book about the history and politics of Vermont.  Doyle has conducted the Town Meeting Day survey for more than 35 years. He's also a veteran when it comes to the history and politics of Vermont, a subject he has taught at Johnson State College for more than 50 years. At 91, and after serving 48 years as a Washington County state senator before being narrowly defeated in the 2016 election, Doyle remains as engaged and energetic as ever. A quick and easy read, his book is a refreshing take on people, places and events in Vermont through the years that make it a compelling read, with no chapter longer than three pages.  A champion of the state and its people for more than half a century, Doyle clearly explained his reasons in the forward to the book — remarks taken from an address he gave when he was honored by the Senate in January 2017.  Doyle stressed he has worked to "give voice to Vermonters who felt excluded by the political process" and to show the importance of being inclusive in the legislative process and through town meeting.  "I hope that members of the General Assembly and my former constituents will allow that I did my best to help steer our government to meet the ever-changing needs of Vermonters and the state I love," Doyle said.  Doyle's new book explores Vermont history, its players and politics, and the evolution of the state and its communities from the earliest beginnings. There's a chapter on Nathaniel Chipman, an architect of Vermont's admission to the Union, and Vermont's decisive role in winning the American Revolution. There are stories of the founding and history of towns such as Middlesex (so-named for being the middle town between Waterbury and Worcester, and known as Bear Town for its abundant bear population), Waterbury (the home of three governors), and Berlin (known as "Home to Heroes" for the pilots who flew in desperately needed medical supplies after the great flood of 1927). Later in the book, the author offers a review of the flooding during Tropical Storm Irene and the rebuilding of the Waterbury State Complex.  The book features a history of Montpelier becoming a city, and the establishment of the Legislature and its three state houses; the growth of anti-slavery sentiment and the Underground Railroad and Vermont's significant role in the Civil War; and more contemporary chapters on the political evolution of the state, prime political leaders such as George Aiken, and even references to marijuana legalization.  A big chunk of the book is devoted to media stories about Doyle's Town Meeting Survey, results from years of the survey, and a wide range of comments from Vermonters on issues raised in the survey.  "The nice think about them (the comments) is that they're relevant and spontaneous, and are not associated with any organization. It's just a gut feeling coming from wherever they live," Doyle said.  Doyle said much of the content of the book came from materials, letters and articles he had collected over the years that have been condensed into a compendium of information.  "Part of the joy of the book is to make it readable, say it concisely, and to get as many people involved in the process, no matter where they're from," Doyle said. "Local history is very important and should be recognized."  Doyle said his ultimate goal was to celebrate democracy, dialogue and the duty of the Vermont Legislature to listen and learn from Vermonters.  "It's the People's House," Doyle said.  Doyle said he expects to finish tabulating the results of this year's town meeting survey next week.  "A Lasting Impression: Vermont Historical Articles and Local Politics" is published by Leahy Press. 

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.