Kunin Achievement Award

Awarded in honor of Governor Madeleine M. Kunin to a Democratic woman in Vermont with significant political achievements.

2023 Kunin Award Recipient Louvenia Dorsey Bright

We’re thrilled to announce that former state representative Louvenia Dorsey Bright, the first Black woman ever to be elected to the Vermont Legislature, is the recipient of the 2023 Kunin Achievement Award!

Read more about this trailblazing woman:

The criteria for nominees of the award are:

  • She must be a Democratic woman living in Vermont with significant political achievements;
  • She should be viewed as a role model for other women and girls, who has maintained a consistent focus on mentoring and supporting other women in their political, professional, and educational pursuits;
  • Her focus has been on policy work that expands opportunities for others and/or focuses attention on important or emerging policy fields, especially as related to women’s rights, environmental policy, international relations, journalism, the arts, and education;
  • There must be evidence of her work having an impact on the lives of other Vermonters, at the local, state, federal, and/or international level.


2022 – Maxine Grad – Former State Representative and Chair of the House Judiciary Committee

2021 – Gaye Symington – Former Speaker of the Vermont House

2020 – Mary Sullivan – Former State Legislator and DNC National Committeewoman 

2019 – Jane Stetson – Former DNC Fundraising Chair

2018 – Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce

2017 – Sallie Soule – State Legislator and Commissioner of Employment and Training

Governor Kunin has had an expansive political career spanning nearly five decades, as a community advocate, member of the Vermont House, Lieutenant Governor, Governor, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, and Ambassador to Switzerland. She is the only woman to serve as Governor of Vermont, the first Jewish Governor of Vermont, and the first Jewish woman elected Governor of a U.S. state. She has worked as a journalist and college professor, and is the author of several books, including “The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family.” She founded Emerge Vermont and the Institute for Sustainable Communities. Kunin is the mother of four grown children, and has been a tireless advocate for the rights and opportunities of women and girls.