For most Vermonters the big stories of the last year were the state's response to Hurricane Irene, which produced the state’s worst natural disaster since 1927, the struggle over closure of Vermont Yankee, and passage of the first-in-the-nation universal health care system. After almost a decade the state had a Democratic governor who pledged to usher in single-payer health insurance and usher out Yankee. Around the country people were rallying to the economic critique of Vermont's popular US Senator, Bernie Sanders.
Yet in Burlington, where Sanders made his political breakthrough three decades ago, financial trouble at Burlington Telecom, a city-owned enterprise, and a deal with military contractor Lockheed Martin forged by Progressive Mayor Bob Kiss sparked local outrage. By spring there were clear signs of political upheaval ahead.