Goat mayor of Fair Haven faces 'ruff' race for reelection
Welcome to Fair Haven, a small town where the current mayor is a goat.
"We were trying to find ways to develop interest in our playground and we thought, wouldn't it be great to start a small fundraiser and have some of the local kids' pets run as mayor?" said Joseph Gunter, the town manager.
The idea is to donate all funds raised from the pets' campaigns to the Fair Haven Grade School to give students a new playground. Last year, Fair Haven elected Mara Lincoln, a goat, as mayor. This year, two other pets-- Sammy and Murfee-- are in the running.
Sammy joined the local police department about five years ago after being rescued from the Chittenden County Humane Society. Sgt. Dale Kerber doesn't know if Sammy will be able to win the race but he can make one campaign promise.
"If you elect Sammy your honorary mayor, I can guarantee you that at her swearing-in, she will not poop on the floor, as the goat did last year, and I ended up cleaning up," Kerber said.
The third candidate, Murfee, is part of Caring Canines Therapy Dogs of Southern Vermont. He visits nursing homes, hospitals and schools.
"When we heard there was a contest for the mayor it seemed appropriate that Murfee, who loves kids, would work really hard to get the best playground he could for them," said Linda Barker, Murfee's campaign manager.
Murfee is campaigning by selling baked goods this Saturday at Shaw's from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
So do people find electing animals as mayor silly?
"As an adult, yes, but the whole point is I can see why they are doing it-- to raise money for the playground. The equipment needs to be replaced," Kerber said.
It also gets the students involved with the election. On the morning of March 3, the school will bus kids to the polling station so they can have their say and learn the importance of voting.
"I'm hoping this kind of gets kids interested in and involved in local elections and then hopefully it sticks for when they turn 18," Gunter said.
"Kids like goats, they like police dogs: it's anybody's race," Barker said.
Gunter says they like to say 'It's not just taxes and tickets, we try to have some fun in Town Hall."