Tim Newcomb: ’Tooning in Vermont Politics for 38 Years | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Tim Newcomb: ’Tooning in Vermont Politics for 38 Years 

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Cartoonist Tim Newcomb has been skewering Vermont politicians since Richard Snelling was governor of Vermont. His first drawing, for a 1984 cover of the Vanguard Press, showed Snelling and Public Service Board commissioner Richard Saudek together in a car, coming down from Canada after negotiating an energy deal with Hydro-Québec. Saudek hated the drawing so much, "he came close to punching me out in a Montpelier restaurant," Newcomb recalled, noting that the two eventually became friends.

Former governor Jim Douglas appreciated Newcomb’s work, too — after he left office. "Political cartoons have played an important role, going back to the 19th century, in contributing to political discourse," Douglas told the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus upon the publication of Newcomb’s 2018 book, A Gaggle of Governors. "They often put an exclamation point on the big issues and personalities. Tim has certainly continued that tradition."

Here, in 12 panels, are some graphic highlights of Vermont political history, according to Newcomb.
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Tim Newcomb
1986: Incumbents Gov. Madeleine Kunin and Sen. Patrick Leahy being chased by some of their competitors: Bernie Sanders, Peter Smith and Richard Snelling
Tim Newcomb
1990: Gov. Madeleine Kunin beset by crises
Tim Newcomb
1992: Gov. Howard Dean feeding health care reform to Sens. Cheryl Rivers and Sally Conrad
Tim Newcomb
1996: Gov. Howard Dean consoles Bill Sorrell after the state’s Judicial Nominating Board ruled that he wasn’t qualified to serve on the Vermont Supreme Court. In 1997, Dean appointed Sorrell Vermont attorney general.
Tim Newcomb
1997: A sandbox squabble between the two legislative chambers over tax reform
Tim Newcomb
1999: Newcomb’s take on Republican gubernatorial candidate Ruth Dwyer, who was accused of lying
Tim Newcomb
2000: Republican gubernatorial candidates Ruth Dwyer and Bill Meub ran against each other in the 2000 primary but joined forces to condemn Gov. Howard Dean for signing Vermont’s historic civil unions law. It allowed same-sex couples to access the same state-level legal protections as married heterosexual couples.
Tim Newcomb
2000: Vermont Sen. Jan Backus and Auditor Ed Flanagan ran in the Democratic primary for a chance to unseat U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords, a Republican at the time. Flanagan and Backus got into some heated exchanges on the campaign trail.
Tim Newcomb
2000: Derby Republican Rep. Nancy Sheltra organized against and was a vocal opponent of civil unions legislation.
Tim Newcomb
2001-2002: The six Northeast Kingdom legislators who called themselves the Republican six-pack: Reps. Kevin Goodridge, Nancy Sheltra, David Bolduc, Duncan Kilmartin, Loren Shaw and John Hall
Tim Newcomb
2002: Republican candidate Jim Douglas didn’t face a primary challenger in his 2002 race for governor.
Tim Newcomb
2007: Gov. Jim Douglas scolds Neale Lunderville, accused of promising funds to Democratic Rep. Jim Fitzgerald in exchange for votes. Seven Days columnist Peter Freyne dubbed Lunderville “the Boy Wonder.” Newcomb often drew him wearing a beanie with a propeller on top. Says Newcomb: “Like everyone else in these cartoons, he never once complained.”
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James Buck17 images
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Tim Newcomb
1986: Incumbents Gov. Madeleine Kunin and Sen. Patrick Leahy being chased by some of their competitors: Bernie Sanders, Peter Smith and Richard Snelling