US Town Swears In Goat As ‘Pet Mayor’

Ruthland Herald:–  President Lincoln has nothing on Fair Haven’s new mayor or her big, floppy ears.

Lincoln, a 3-year old Nubian goat, was voted into office as the town’s new pet mayor, and will spend her one-year term attending events, making public appearances and marching in the Memorial Day parade wearing her custom-made sash.

“Fair Haven Fridays, the occasional show-up, spring fling, all the major functions,” said Town Manager Joe Gunter.

That is, after she’s sworn in at a Tuesday Select Board meeting on.

“I was flipping through a newspaper that came from Michigan … and I saw a small town in northern Michigan was doing this,” Gunter said. “So we thought, “This is a great idea.””

Gunter said he reached out to Wayne “Skip” Cooke, whose students, Gunter said, jumped at the opportunity to raise money to develop their playground, since the town wasn’t awarded a grant toward the project and fundraising efforts were ongoing.

“It turned into a good civics lesson,” Gunter said. “Get the kids involved in town government. (I) thought this was a great way to break the ice with the kids.”

Students could enter their pets as candidates for $5, and Gunter said 16 submissions for the newly-created seat were received with photographs and explanations as to why their furry, four-legged or feathered friend should be named Pet Mayor of Fair Haven for 2019.

Submissions included everyone from Sassy Towle, a black-and-white cat, whose owner said she’s “very good with money,” to Copper Oakman, a “wise, 12-year-old Samoyed,” to Sammie Viger, a dog who would thank every voter personally by licking faces if she were elected mayor and Stella Heibler, a black dog who enjoys baby pacifiers and is said to be “a leader.”

But none could surpass Lincoln, who was submitted by Fair Haven Grade School math teacher Christopher Stanton, on behalf of his 4-year-old grandson Sullivan Clark on the grounds that “she is a very nice goat.”

Of the 53 ballots cast, Lincoln took 13, just barely pushing past Sammie, the dog, who took second with 11 votes.

When not serving as an unofficial public official, Lincoln works as groundskeeper at Stanton’s home with her best friend Lucy, another Nubian goat, keeping the brush at bay behind his home.

Lincoln and Lucy are native Vermonters and hail from Hildene Farm and Goat Dairy in Manchester.

“She’s just a big pet, is really what she is,” Stanton said.

While Lincoln couldn’t personally offer comment, Stanton said she and Lucy serve as greeters at his home and run up to welcome all visitors upon arrival.

“We had a way better turnout than I thought,” Gunter said. “It’s little things like this that make a community.”