Opinion: Emerge Vermont event to honor Rep. Betty Nuovo

I invite you to an evening to celebrate Vermont Women in Elected Office on Saturday, April 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Middlebury Inn. The event is a fundraiser for Emerge Vermont, an organization founded in 2013 by former Gov. Madeleine Kunin that recruits, trains and inspires qualified Democratic women to run for public office at all levels of government.
We will honor retiring state Rep. Betty Nuovo, who has served Middlebury in the Vermont Statehouse for 30 years. Rep. Diane Lanpher of Vergennes and Gov. Kunin will reflect on Nuovo’s tenure in the House. In addition, a panel of elected women including, State Treasurer Beth Pearce, Sen. Claire Ayer of Addison County, Rep. Kiah Morris of Bennington, and selectboard Vice Chair Becca White of Hartford, will share their stories and wisdom about the importance of women in elected office. Gov. Kunin will wrap up the event with remarks and reflections.
In 2015, Vermont ranked 41st out of the 50 states in gender parity among elected officials, according to research by Representation 2020, an organization that works to raise awareness of the under-representation of women in elected office. Vermont has only ever elected one female governor, and is one of only three states to never send a woman to the U.S. Congress.
Currently, Treasurer Pearce is the only woman elected to statewide office. While the Vermont House has the second highest percentage (43 percent) of women nationwide, our Senate has only 30 percent women, our local selectboards are only 21 percent women, and only one of our eight mayors is a woman. Only our school boards have statewide gender parity among their ranks.
Emerge Vermont seeks to change the face of politics in Vermont by ensuring that strong women’s voices are at public policy tables at all levels. Decision-making bodies that are diverse and representative are more successful at creating sound, fair, and smart policies that lead to greater public well-being, equality and economic success.
Join Emerge Vermont in this important work. Celebrate trailblazers, current public policy makers, and emerging women leaders. To reserve your seat for the event, please visit the Emerge Vermont website at www.emergevt.org and click on the event banner. I hope to see you there.
Ruth Hardy
Executive Director
Emerge Vermont
East Middlebury

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