Elaine Haney, Contributor
Emerge Vermont, the state’s premier organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office, delivered big wins up and down the ballot in Tuesday’s general election. The organization had 59 alums on the ballot (not including justices of the peace) and 48 alums won — an 81 percent win rate.
Winning alums include:
- Becca Balint, who will be the first woman and first LGBTQ+ person to represent Vermont in Congress.
- Charity Clark, the first woman elected attorney general in Vermont history.
- Saudia LaMont, the first Black woman to represent her district in the Vermont House (Lamoille-Washington).
- Angela Lawrence, the first Black woman to be elected high bailiff (Windham County).
“This is fabulous news for the women candidates in Vermont. They are setting new records and will make a great contribution to the political climate in the state,” said former Gov. Madeleine Kunin, Vermont’s first and only woman governor and founder of Emerge Vermont.
These victories are just a few of the many firsts from Tuesday’s election.
Eighteen alums who won are members of the New American Majority—Black, Brown and Indigenous women and women of color, as well as LGBTQ+, young, and unmarried women — while 16 of the women who won were first-time candidates.
“Five women of color won their elections yesterday — that’s the same number of women of color serving in one session than have served in the Legislature in all of Vermont history,” said Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale, an Emerge Vermont co-founder and the first and only woman of color in the Vermont Senate. “That is a more representative democracy for all of us.”
The election results also increase the number of women in the Legislature from 73 to 81, as well as Vermont’s national ranking of state legislatures with the most women.
The overall percentage of women serving in the entire Legislature will increase from its current 40.6 percent to 45 percent, the highest it has ever been, according to Emerge Vermont.
A group of 13 women recently completed an intensive campaign training, with 10 (77 percent) also winning their races. They include Chea Waters Evans of Charlotte who won the Chittenden-5 House seat.
(Elaine Haney is executive director of Emerge Vermont.)