I am proud to announce that I have received the endorsement of the progressive grassroots organization Rights and Democracy (RAD). In announcing the endorsements, RAD states: “A Rights & Democracy endorsement is a signal that a candidate is already a community leader on the issues that reflect RAD’s values and will champion those causes in the Legislature.” I am one of only nine senate candidates statewide to receive a RAD endorsement. Below are some of my answers to questions in the RAD endorsement survey.
Which issues are you most passionate about and why?
I am most passionate and knowledgeable about education policy and finance, access to healthcare, responsible and equitable public budgeting and resource allocation, and issues affecting women and families. Most of my career I have worked in the areas of education or healthcare, which are fundamental to the well-being of individuals and society. I love budgets and public finance, and what I like most of all is taking budgets apart, finding better ways to put them back together, and then explaining how they work to others. I’ve given school budget presentations to dozens of groups over the past five years, including every year at the Middlebury Town Meeting. Some people call me my town’s “Leslie Knope,” which I take as a high compliment.
How do you imagine working on your priority issues as an elected official?
My record as an elected official at the local level reveals that I work hard to advance smart, effective public policy that is well-researched, analyzed, and inclusively presented and deliberated. My top priority issues among RAD’s list involve human rights, access to democracy, education, healthcare, and violence prevention. I have experience working in each of these areas and am confident that I can collaborate with colleagues, advocates, and constituents to target investments and initiatives that create effective change. I am a passionate, well-prepared analyst and advocate.
Are there issues that you are passionate about and plan on working on that are not among RAD’s issue list?
As a mother and feminist my priorities would begin with advocating for policy changes that improve the lives and status of women in our state, including paid family leave, improved access to high-quality childcare, fair and equitable pay including a phased-in $15 minimum wage, domestic violence prevention, comprehensive sexual harassment policies, job training in high-paying sectors, student loan reduction, access to capital, and bias and discrimination prevention and reparation. Nationally, 25% of elected officials are women, and research shows that when women are at the table, women’s perspectives and priorities are better addressed. Communities thrive when women thrive. Policies and programs that help all Vermont women help all Vermonters.
Why are you running for elected office? What makes your election so important?
I am running for state senate because I believe in public service, hard work, and responsive government. I believe that government should work for the good of the people, and that bold, diverse, intelligent women are what our government needs most right now to ensure this happens.
I am also running because my personal, professional, and political experience are directly relevant to my ability to effectively represent my community and create sound public policies. I am a mother of three teenage children and community leader. I have served three terms on local school boards, including chair of the Middlebury ID#4 School Board and co-chair of the Charter Committee which organized the Addison Central School District. I then led the new ACSD Board finance committee through the creation of the first unified budget. I am currently Executive Director of Emerge Vermont, which is part of a national organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office. Thirty-three Emerge VT alumnae are running for office in 2018. I previously worked as assistant budget director at Middlebury College, grants director at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and director of the Open Door Clinic. I began my career as a non-partisan education finance analyst for the Wisconsin legislature.
My election is important because I am well-prepared to be a state senator and work for effective, progressive public policies that will improve the lives of all Vermonters. My election is important because my policy expertise lies in the area that has been the most contentious over the past several sessions – education policy and finance. My election is important because I am a mentor and role model for women across our state who are or want to run for office. My election is important because I am a working mother of school-aged children, a demographic that is under-represented in our state government and important to the present and future of our state. My election is important because I am both a leader and a collaborator. My election is important because I will use my power to empower others.