What do you do when you live in the small town of Fair Haven Vermont (population about 2,600) and you need a playground? You pick up on an idea of having a ceremonial pet mayor to raise money for that play area. There are several cities in the United States with pet mayors, including Omena Michigan where a cat has been mayor for six of her nine years, her election funding the local historical society for this town of 300 people.
The other advantage of having a pet mayor is providing an early introduction to kids of how a municipal election works and how it is held. The town manager allowed pets to be registered for a five dollar fee and had sixteen candidates in the running, with school children writing out campaign messages and voting for their favourite animal.
“The ballot of 16 pets was open to all town residents. Most of the other candidates were dogs and cats; a gerbil named Crystal also was a candidate. Lincoln, with 13 votes, beat out a dog named Sammie that received 10 votes. The other candidates combined for 30 votes. “
The successful candidate was a three-year old Nubian goat called Lincoln who “will be expected to attend local events, such as marching in the Memorial Day parade wearing a custom-made sash.”
Running on the platform of “being a very nice goat” Lincoln will be sworn in by the Board of Commissioners at their first meeting. As the town manager stated “It turned into a good civics lesson.Get the kids involved in town government. (I) thought this was a great way to break the ice with the kids.”
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