On March 27, 2008, Vincent Bergamo, an individual on the autism spectrum, was invited to shadow Governor Jim Douglas for the day as part of the nationwide Disability Mentoring Day.
Vincent, who has a keen interest in politics and human services, started his day at the State House. Since the Governor has been in office he has hosted “Open Door” session when the general public and legislators can speak with him directly without an appointment. Vincent spent the majority of the morning one-on-one with the Governor. Vincent was invited by the Governor to sit in on various meetings. The first meeting was with the House Republican leadership regarding legislation. The second meeting involved high school exchange students who were visiting the State House. Lastly, Vincent observed citizens of Brandon, VT voicing transportation concerns within their town. Vincent was given a tour of the State House by the Curator himself, followed by a tour of the Pavilion, which is the Governor’s daily operations center. In the afternoon, Vincent observed and took part in the Governor’s weekly Press Conference. Governor Douglas acknowledged the “importance of employment for people with disabilities” and recognized the hard work by his own committee, HCRS, and Vocational Rehabilitation regarding this important issue. At the end of the press conference Governor Douglas stated how he thoroughly enjoyed the day with Vincent and highlighted Vincent’s genuineness, talents, and gifts. Governor Douglas also opened up the discussion to Vincent so he could answer questions and tell everyone about his experiences during the day.