To my fellow Bourbon Democrats and interested Mugwumps,
Brattleboro, Vermont may seem an unlikely place for economic ingenuity. This little town teems with tiny shops, wooded paths, and splendid autumnal colors. Tucked amid rolling hills at the intersection of the West and Connecticut Rivers, the former Wantastiquet appears to invite relaxation over industry.
Alas, this beautiful little hamlet also has an abundance of functional widows. Like so many New England towns, most of the men have rushed west in search of fortune. In doing so, they have left behind scores of wives and children who must fend for themselves.
The biggest employer of adult women in Brattleboro is the Retreat (formerly the Vermont Asylum for the Insane). Funded by a memorial endowment bestowed after the death of Mrs. Anna Marsh, the Retreat takes a humane approach to mental illness, from melancholia to zombie-related disorders and beyond. Here, the mentally ill and undead are not locked away in decrepit conditions. Rather, they live in a nearly-collegiate environment, where they may rest, relax, and even garden.
This outdoor work has led, of all things, to a cooperative business named for the late patroness. The residents collect and bottle syrup from the local maple trees, then the staff members deliver the product to stores. Mrs. Marsh's Marvelous Maple Syrup now graces grocers' shelves across the Northeast. The proceeds expand the endowment of the Retreat, ensuring progressive treatment of both the mentally ill and the brain-famished for years to come.
Mr. Stevenson had never visited the Retreat. When Frances learned this, she insisted I bring him here during the campaign. I am not ashamed to tell you that the Gentleman from Illinois's 13th District openly wept upon touring the facility and hearing the residents' tales of humane treatment. During his Kentucky childhood, one of Mr. Stevenson's zombiefied cousins was institutionalized in a crude and oppressive frontier facility. He thrilled to know that others needn't suffer the same fate.
To all the advocates of dignity for God's most troubled children, let me assure you that you will have champions in our administration!