Inheriting The Kingdom

NORTH EAST KINGDOM - Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans counties are known as the North East Kingdom. For those from the region it is as synonymous as saying one is from New England. Vermont's General Assembly was apportioned by the idea of each town getting one vote. That style of representation greatly benefited the north east with its many small towns being able to influence legislation.

Legislators from the North East Kingdom banded together to block votes from the western part of Vermont. During a political appearance in March of 1949 former Governor Aiken claimed the region was like a kingdom because of its power in Montpelier. Aiken saw it as blocking progress for the state.

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1963 that state legislatures had to be apportioned by population. This ruling would take away the influence the North East Kingdom would have on legislation in Montpelier.

According to Catherine Toll, State Representative from danville, in the decades since the reapportionment of Vermont's legislature the name for the region stuck and has taken on a new meaning.

"It distinguishes us from other areas in Vermont," said Toll. She went on to say she was proud to be one of the North East Kingdom's voices in Montpelier.

To those from other parts of Vermont, the term North East Kingdom represents poverty and the rural location. Toll said, "The North East Kingdom now represents the regions strength of character and values."

Senator Joe Benning believes the Kingdom is what Vermont was, "A fiercely independent set of people who prefer self reliance to government edict." Benning went on to say, "I am very proud to represent them [The Kingdom] and consider it the greatest honor of my life."