Politics & Elections

Teacher Launches Independent Bid for Vermont Governor

April 20, 2018

Vermont's newest candidate for governor is a high school teacher who says he wants to build "middle ground" in an era of political polarization.

Joseph Barney, 24, has no prior political experience, but says he brings an important perspective to state government's top race.

"When I look at Vermont politics, I see a lot of wealth and affluence there, and not a good representation of Vermonters," Barney said in an interview. "Not everyone owns a construction business."

His own background is rooted in Franklin County. Raised in a low-income family, Barney said he joined the Vermont Army National Guard after high school, worked as an auto mechanic, and now lives in Swanton, where he is married and has a 3-year-old son.

As a teacher of agricultural mechanics at Missisquoi Valley Union Middle/High School — "diesel, heavy equipment, hydraulics, welding" — Barney is critical of some of the governor's decisions on education, including Scott's insistence on cutting local school spending.


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