Andrew Sullivan

I moved to Vermont in 2011 to teach English to speakers of other languages, and I began working at the Coop in 2016. In 2017, I enrolled as a member in order to vote at the Annual Meeting. My partner and I met at a film-screening at the Co-op two years ago. After living in Montpelier, I moved to Plainfield last fall. 

I am running to serve on the council because I love the Co-op, and I hope to gain and share insights concerning its future development. I love the Co-op for many of the same reasons that I love Vermont. I don’t think there are any other cities or organizations in America that are quite like Montpelier and the Co-op. Where else does the Lieutenant Governor deliver vegetables from his farm to your store in the morning? Where else do you and your coworkers attend the Lieutenant Governor’s film-screening at the capital? The Co-op is a unique spot in an extraordinary capital and shire town. I want the Co-op to flourish in order to provide long-term employment, a market for local vendors, and the best possible groceries and customer service to our loyal member-owners. More could be done to make the Co-op a venue for community events and informal meetings. Likewise, we have to canvass members to learn the products, promotions, and events that they need. Finally, I want to be a voice on the council for all members of the Co-op, including the employees.

My experience in various organizations has prepared me to serve on the council. In 2012, I served on the Financial Working Group of the Occupy Burlington activists’ collective. Since 2017, I’ve held various positions in our union, UE Local 255, including interim financial secretary and trustee; I am currently a member of the negotiating committee and a steward. In November of 2018, I helped to found the Central Vermont Chapter of Democratic Socialists of America. As an extension of that work, I have also been attending the Montpelier Housing Task Force since March of this year. In all of these activities, I have combined my passion for the missions of the groups with an earnest effort to make all participants feel included and appreciated. I have also learned to canvass fellow members to understand their individual goals within the organizations. As a member of the council, I would bring patience, attention, and enthusiasm to all the duties of the body. Moreover, in proceedings that can sometimes become heated, I would offer candor and a sense of humor. 

Our Co-op has to thrive in an increasingly polarized economy and retail sector. Our only hope for success is to do very well all the things that big-box stores and online retailers could never do: get people out of their homes to attend local events; give them the best natural and local food available; and provide the kind of personal communication that algorithms could never offer. A few nights ago, while I was coming out of the Co-op, I bumped into a local couple from Democratic Socialists of America. I asked what they would like to see at the Co-op. One of them told me how much she spends at the Co-op each year. I told her that I would do whatever I could to lower her total costs. I also asked them what kinds of events they would like to see at the Co-op. The young mother said that she might like to teach a cooking class for kids at the Co-op. I told her that I loved the idea. I look forward to connecting with members as much as possible to learn their brilliant ideas for our organization. 
  

Hunger Mountain Coop
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