CHARLOTTE -- Bill Mares, retired History teacher at Champlain Valley Union High School, presided over a gathering of the Charlotte, Shelburne and Hinesburg Democratic Committees on Thursday night at the Charlotte Senior Center. The event was not a recruitment event or a fundraiser, but rather an opportunity for local Democrats to get to know one another and to sign up to be more active in the party, said Charlotte Democratic Committee Chair, Lorna Jimerson. As a former high school teacher, Mares presented the audience of 50 with, a semesters course distilled in half an hour. So pay attention, he urged. This and other remarks that revealed the complexities and absurdities of global foreign policy drew heavy laughter from a crowd who seemed to know most other attendees on a first name basis. Through events such as these, the Democratic Committee in Hinesburg is just beginning their first motions toward the general election of November 2008. Were looking at the machinery with which well get out the vote eleven months from now, said Bud Allen, Chairman of the Hinesburg Democratic Committee. The three committees present at the event agreed that it is not their place to take sides in the upcoming Democratic primary, which is set for March 4 in Vermont. The local Democratic Committees do represent, however, a body of Democrats to be contacted by candidates, said Allen. Although Allen observed that his organization could not officially endorse any particular candidate, he did let his opinion slide that, All of the Democratic candidates are better than any of the Republican candidates. Although his talk on United States foreign policy was not meant to officially represent the Democratic Party, Mares political leanings did come across more than once. As Democrats, youre supposed to be on a higher level than most people. Not because youre Democrats, but because youre supposed to be more engaged, he said. With his relaxed attitude, Mares was comfortable turning the floor over to his successor at CVU, Jeffery Hindes, who was happy to share his views with the audience. Indeed, Mares talk was not so much a lecture as it was an invitation to a discussion. This is not about me, he said. This is about you. Im not here to tell you what to think, but how to think. As such, he was reluctant to give his opinion about political affairs even when directly questioned. His talk was designed, instead, to give people a road map which they could then use to more effectively dissect contemporary and historical foreign policy affairs. In addition to his hobbies as a marathon runner, bee keeper, and fly fisherman, Mares is the author of ten books, including Fishing with the Presidents, and his latest, Bees Besieged. A Harvard graduate, Mares served in the Vermont House of Representatives for 15 years. The Shelburne Democratic Committee will be holding its next regularly scheduled meeting on December 12, said Chairwoman Maria Horn.