Connect. Understand. Amplify. Repeat.
Marybeth Redmond, a 2018 Emerge Bootcamp alumna, is running for re-election to the Vermont House in Chittenden 8-1. Since getting elected in 2018, Redmond was appointed to the House Committee on Human Services, and the Joint Legislative Child Protection Oversight Committee. She participates on three caucuses that focus on women, climate solutions, and social equity. Redmond has held several positions working for gender equality: she previously directed development and communications at Vermont Works for Women, and currently serves on the Vermont Commission on Women. She is also a partner with Vermont Story Lab, a statewide project that uses story to leverage the impact and reach of Vermont nonprofits.
Storytelling has always been at the core of Redmond’s life and career. She began her career as a journalist, and reported on social issues and on marginalized communities in both the United States and Latin America. In 2010, Redmond founded a program called “Writing Inside VT” for the state’s incarcerated women, which used writing as a tool for reflection, self-change and building healthy community. The program led to a nationally published book called “Hear Me, See Me,” that features prose and poetry of the women Redmond worked with. She also served as the executive director of Dismas of Vermont, which provides formerly incarcerated individuals with supportive transitional housing.
Whether it be reporting internationally or advocating for incarcerated Vermonters, Redmond’s commitment to telling the stories of marginalized populations has been a constant. As a Representative, this focus has continued.
“I try and keep my connection to people at the grassroots, to those who are most affected, and then figure out a way to bring those voices and experiences into the holistic work of systems-change,” Redmond said in an interview with Emerge Vermont.
Redmond’s work to amplify and transform peoples’ realities is what drew her to politics in the first place.
“At a certain point, I realized that my experiences with marginalized Vermonters could help inform some of the deep systems change needed,” Redmond said. “Being a policymaker and a legislator – that’s where you can see the interconnections between systems and influence change on a wider scale.”
Being a policymaker and a legislator – that’s where you can see the interconnections between systems and influence change on a wider scale.
Redmond uses her seat in Montpelier to ensure that populations that aren’t represented by lobbyists or advocates are heard. In the unique case of the pandemic, she has been able to hear the stories and realities of voters in her district on a daily basis, and use her role in government to connect them to resources.
“I have been on the phone with constituents since the pandemic began,” Redmond said. “ It’s been a wonderful opportunity for me to connect with constituents, understand their issues and problems, and link them to state government in getting support.
Redmond tries to be a kind of “glue” in connecting people to government resources. And at the moment, many Vermonters are in need of this support.
“Many folks who have called me have never before needed unemployment insurance or other benefits,” Redmond said. “This is a new reality for them because of COVID.”
The pandemic has made it impossible to ignore the inequalities that exist in our state systems and country at large. Redmond pledges to prioritize affordable housing and healthcare, creating livable wage jobs, protecting Vermont’s pristine environment, and working towards expansive racial justice.
“Please join me in examining deeply your own biases and prejudices in the coming days,” Redmond wrote in a post about racial justice on her website. “It’s messy, unsettling work for any who have known privilege. Be active (silent no more) in advocating for policies that open doors, provide access, amplify new voices, restore relationships, expand economic opportunity, and encourage the unfettered expression of every human person.”
Her track record of bills she has sponsored speaks to her commitment to equality. She’s supported bills in favor of paid family leave, stabilization of the child care system, expanding access to contraceptives, increasing the minimum wage, and more.
Be active (silent no more) in advocating for policies that open doors, provide access, amplify new voices, restore relationships, expand economic opportunity, and encourage the unfettered expression of every human person.
An important part of Redmond’s work in the State House is collaborating with other legislators, especially with other Emerge alumnae.
“Legislative bodies and committees can be siloed at times with people working on their own priority issues,” Redmond said. “I feel like the Emerge mentality is about working together and leveraging our collective influence to bring important policy over the line.”
Redmond says that Emerge gave her a sisterhood of supportive women who have each others’ backs.
“In the new class of Reps that came in this past biennium, there were a handful who had been through Emerge,” Redmond said. “We have become a tight-knit network who connect regularly, share information, and bring each other up to speed on bills in our various committees. It’s been an incredible supportive community for me.”
Redmond has done wonderful work amplifying voices to create real change in Vermont – and she’s only two years into being a legislator. Emerge is so grateful for Redmond’s leadership, and we cannot wait to see what stories she will shed light on next.
Emerge has one goal: To increase the number of Democratic women in office who are reflective of the incredible diversity of the Democratic party by recruiting, training and providing a powerful network.
To support more women like Marybeth Redmond, contribute to Emerge Vermont today!