Sanborn Partridge, 97, one of the “Young Turks” of the Vermont House has passed away. He had a varied and full life, but the part that pertains to politics is summed up this way in his obituary:
From 1961 to 1970, he served in the Vermont General Assembly, and 1970 to 1981 in the Senate. He was a part of the “Young Turks,” a group of Republicans and Democrats who worked together on many projects for the good of Vermont including the highway sign bill, and reapportionment. He was a member of the executive board of the University of Vermont, serving as Chairman for one year. He also served on the boards for the Proctor, Rutland and Vermont Historical Societies, several library boards, the Rutland Hospital, the Red Cross and the Union Church of Proctor.
Partridge, a Republican, recalled his membership in the “Young Turks” for a Vermont Folklife Center interview:
The gang that the newspapers tagged as the Young Turks were eleven. One of them had been there the year before, but ten of them were freshman Legislators. And we used to get together, I think it was Thursday evenings, or after five o’clock and our house rule was no drinks for the first hour. And we traded information about the committees on which we served. I think we were windows into something like seventeen committees out of twenty, maybe. And so we could clue each other on what was coming up. It was simply a felt need to learn that we were working on.
Franklin Billings, another member of the group, recalled it this way:
When we went to the Legislature in 1961 it was really dominated by right-wing Republicans. There were eleven of us who were young, a number of us, lawyers, and this is where Phil Hoff started his career, that were elected and — the other people were not given anything, as far as decent committee assignments, because it was being run by really older, much older people, who had been there, and so we would meet after the sessions, and it first started as a social thing, and then we got very serious and we’d meet and discuss legislation and decide who was going to speak and when. It was just happenstance, but we all sat in different places all over the House and so the media and in the Legislature, when we’d get up and speak on certain issues, they didn’t realize that it was all orchestrated until later in the session, only I guess the media nicknamed us “the Young Turks.”