Emerge Vermont Expands Cabinet, Strengthens Commitment

  • Oct 30, 2021
  • elaine

Expanded Cabinet to focus on increasing geographic representation and training more New American Majority women

Burlington, VT—Emerge Vermont, the state’s premier organization for recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office, announced today that it has expanded its leadership to a Cabinet of twenty-two dynamic, trailblazing women from throughout Vermont. These women will help Emerge Vermont continue its missions of equity and justice, more expansive and inclusive recruitment and training efforts, and the unprecedented success of Democratic women on the ballot and in public office.

“The members of our newly expanded Cabinet are committed to reaching out to and training more women from all over the state of Vermont, with a special focus on  young women, unmarried and LGBTQ+ women, and women of color—the New American Majority,” said Elaine Haney, Executive Director of Emerge Vermont. “NAM women represent the future of Vermont and, with the pivotal work our Cabinet is going to do, we’re going to ensure our public offices and institutions finally look like the people they represent.”

Founded in 2013 by former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, Emerge Vermont’s leadership is expanding to reflect its growing impact. Currently, 44 Emerge alumnae are serving in public office, including legislature leaders Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski, Speaker Pro Tempore Becca Balint, and Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray.

 “A Cabinet with a wide diversity of women is necessary to continue the positive trajectory of Emerge Vermont,” said Governor Kunin. “I’m very proud of our successes and look forward to increasing the number of women in Vermont government even more in the future.”

Emerge Vermont’s Cabinet raises awareness of the need for more women to serve in state and local government. Despite making up 50% of Vermont’s population, women make up only 42% of the state Legislature. That number is dramatically less when accounting for women that make up the New American Majority. This truly highlights the need for work of organizations like Emerge who aim to close that gap.

 “I am so proud to be a member of this new Cabinet. We are all committed to Emerge Vermont’s mission of recruiting and training more Democratic women to run for office, so that we can create a democracy that is truly reflective of our state and nation,” said new member Olivia  Peña of South Burlington.

The new Cabinet has already gotten started and is currently recruiting and selecting women for Emerge Vermont’s class of 2022.

The new Cabinet members are: 

  • Alex MacLean, Peacham, President of Public Relations at Leonine Public Affairs / Former Gubernatorial Campaign Manager
  • Anne Lezak, Burlington, Consultant / Strategist / Teacher / Editor, ADL Consulting
  • Beth Pearce, Barre, State Treasurer of Vermont
  • Brenda Churchill, Bakersfield, Liaison, LGBTQIA Alliance of Vermont / Bakersfield Selectboard Member / Justice of the Peace
  • Dottie Deans, North Pomfret, Former Chair, Vermont Democratic Party
  • Helen Head, South Burlington, Former State Representative, South Burlington
  • Jane Stetson, Norwich, Chair, Partners for Community Wellness, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center / Former National Finance Chair, Democratic National Committee
  • Joan Lenes, Shelburne, Former State Representative, Shelburne
  • Kanika Gandhi, South Burlington, Section Chief, State of Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
  • Kate Olney, Middlesex, Finance Director, Vermont Democratic Party
  • Rep. Katherine Sims, Craftsbury, State Representative, Orleans-Caledonia / Nonprofit Consultant, KS Consulting
  • Rep. Kathleen James, Manchester Center, State Representative, Bennington-4
  • Kerin Durfee, Burlington, Human Resources Director, City of Burlington
  • Olivia Peña, South Burlington, Networks and Learning Practice Coordinator, Building Movement Project
  • Liz Gamache, St. Albans, Director of Business Development & Donor Relations, United Way of Northwest Vermont / Former Mayor of St. Albans
  • Liz Schlegel, Waterbury, Executive Director, The Alchemist Foundation
  • Lynn Fox, Charlotte, Former Instructor and Presidential Spouse, St. Lawrence University / Former Senior Advisor, Federal Reserve Board
  • Mia Schultz, Bennington, Catalyst Leadership Coordinator, Rights & Democracy Vermont / President, Rutland-Area NAACP 
  • Monique Priestley, Bradford, Project Manager, COVID Business Recovery Vermont, Center for Women & Enterprise / Owner, The Space on Main, Bradford
  • Samantha Sheehan, Hancock, Communications Project Coordinator, City of Burlington / Former campaign manager, Lt. Governor Molly Gray and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger
  • Shaina Kasper, Montpelier, Deputy Director, Community Action Works
  • Sue Minter, Waterbury Center, Executive Director, Capstone Community Action, Inc. / Former Vermont Gubernatorial Candidate (2016) / Former Secretary, Vermont Agency of Transportation

For more information, please visit https://vt.emergeamerica.org/cabinet/.