FAIR HAVEN, Vt. (AP) — The new honorary mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont — a 3-year-old goat named Lincoln — was officially sworn into office this week.
Lincoln was dressed in a sash reading "Mayor" for the Tuesday ceremony at the Fair Haven town offices. Town Clerk Suzanne Dechame and the select board were present to deliver the oath of office.
Fair Haven, a town of about 2,500 along the border with New York just west of Rutland, does not have an actual mayor.
Town Manager Joseph Gunter says the honorary pet mayor idea was conceived as a fundraiser for a playground, but it turned into a civics lesson for kids.
On voting day, the kids took to the polls with their parents and had their very own ballot with 16 candidates ranging from cats and dogs to a goat! Lincoln won by three votes.
The school in town taught the kids about voting and hope next year to add more questions to the ballot to make this an ongoing thing and of course an elect a new mayor
"What I'm hoping is they took away a little sense of civic pride, you know, taking part in the community, going down to the voting places on voting day. I hope that they got excited about it went down and took part," Fair Haven Town Manager Joseph Gunter said.
"We were really pleased to see it was a civics lesson for the students and that they could be involved and decisions made in the town and it something that we hope to continue in the future getting the kids voting with their parents on a regular basis," said Christopher Stapleton, Lincoln's owner.
Unfortunately, the fun fundraiser only raised about $100, when their goal was about $70,000. They plan to continue to raise money to reach their goal, as well as apply for more state grants to help fund it in future years.
"We certainly want to expand opportunities for families and students. And our playground is quite old but it is certainly still functioning. Make it maybe a little larger newer and more enjoyable," said Debra Smith, the assistant principal at the Fair Haven Grade School.
On the way out of the offices, the honorary mayor defecated on the floor — leaving clean-up to the police chief and other attendees.