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In Memoriam: John Warshow, Vermont’s Community Energy Leader

This post is by ISC President George Hamilton


The fabric of a healthy community is held together by leaders. These are people who inspire and connect us, focus our gaze on the future, are positive problem solvers, and remind us why communities matter.


My good friend John Warshow embodied all of these qualities, and he is one of the people I think about when people ask me what it takes to be a community champion. John died on June 28.


When I met him 35 years ago, John was a leader in the Clamshell Alliance, which opposed the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. He spoke passionately about clean energy and predicted that solar, wind, hydro, and energy efficiency would eventually become the key focus of our national energy strategy. His vision is rapidly becoming a reality and he played a major role in helping Vermont become a leader in clean energy.


John worked tirelessly to help Vermont define its energy future, focusing on local resources, local leadership and local ownership.


Several years ago I proudly stood up with scores of others to elect John to the Marshfield Select Board. John had the amazing ability to communicate on difficult topics in ways that brought people together. He respectfully listened, cajoled and framed compromises that got the community moving forward. He and his wife, Jenny, worked tirelessly to address important community issues and they have had a huge and lasting impact on the town of Marshfield. A few years ago, after John was re-elected to his post, the entire town meeting stood up to give him a standing ovation.


Like most Vermonters who travel frequently, returning home is a special feeling for me. I think a major reason for the strength of that tie is the strength of our communities. They connect us to each other and offer respite and hope in an increasingly complex world. I think people like John Warshow are Vermont treasures. I will miss him.