Proud Vermonter. Compassionate minister. Native-born, liberal-raised Southerner (yes, they do exist!). Former Californian. Former expat. Empathetic filmmaker. International traveler.
I'm proud to be a transplant to Vermont, having chosen the state 18 years ago because of our open-minded people, forward-thinking attitudes, four-season climate, beautiful scenery, and abundant outdoor opportunities. Since moving here I've been a resident of Williston—the rural part, not Taft's Corners. I began my time in Vermont by working as the Development Coordinator for the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf and then became Executive Director of Vermont Interfaith Action, a community organizing coalition, in 2007. I have also served on the Williston Planning Commission and Selectboard, and for four years now I have been a State Senator from Chittenden County. I took a diverse and often intriguing path to get to this point.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with distinction from Stanford University. I worked in Los Angeles in the film and television industry for the first years of my professional life, obtaining a position in comedy development at New World Television, where I was part of the team that brought the Emmy award-winning series “The Wonder Years” to the air. I also produced a short film called “Time, Space and Mr. Shapiro” which received funding from the American Film Institute and was a finalist for the Live Action Short Film category of the Academy Awards.
Feeling a tug at my heart to affect the world in a different way, I left the film and television business to enter the ministry. Upon my graduation with a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, I received the Preaching Award, which earned me a fellowship to study preaching and ethics at Cambridge University, England. A highlight of my time there was the opportunity to preach at Westminster Abbey. Upon my return to the US, I was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and served as pastor of two successive congregations in southern California. Since moving to Vermont, I have transferred my ministerial standing to the United Church of Christ and have served numerous congregations on a temporary basis and by preaching on Sunday mornings—congregations including Richmond, Hinesburg, Danville, Morrisville, East Corinth, Springfield, Waitsfield, Montpelier, Brattleboro, and more.
For seven years before moving to Vermont, I lived and worked in the developing country of Bangladesh as a freelance videomaker and communication consultant. Under challenging circumstances I wrote, produced and directed videos on numerous international development issues such as street children’s survival and rights, credit programs for women, wetlands management, and rural electrification. Five of these videos received awards at Worldfest-Houston International Film and Video Festival, and one was selected for the Savannah Film Festival.
I grew up the youngest of three girls in a small rural town in the state of Georgia, near Savannah. My father and grandfather were farmers and small business owners, and my dad was mayor of our little town. My dad and mother taught me the value of hard work and raised me to serve my community and be compassionate and understanding toward others. They believed the job of government was to give working families the opportunity to thrive and give their kids a better life, and they were strong supporters of the civil rights movement, teaching me to treat every single person with dignity and respect.
My life experience has been enriched by numerous opportunities to travel and encounter cultures all around the world. I have journeyed extensively throughout Europe, Asia, South America, and New Zealand and Australia. In fact, just last year I reached my seventh continent, traveling to Antarctica! I'm grateful for the path my life has taken, and I believe that my experiences enable me better to work with and appreciate others.
In listening to others. In treating everyone with respect and dignity. In embracing people who are different from me. In relying on my friends and family for support. In celebrating the love of all couples. In improving the lives of Vermonters.
I really enjoy people, and get energy from being with others. Because of my family upbringing, and because of my own life experience, I believe in treating everyone with respect and dignity. All of us, simply by virtue of being a person on this planet, deserves this kind of treatment in our everyday life circumstances, and in the systems and institutions that frame our society.
I believe that government exists to empower and protect people—all people. To empower them by leveling the playing field to give everyone equitable access to programs and opportunities, and to protect their rights, their property, and their lives.
Everyone's family is equally important and the love of all couples is to be celebrated and honored. Every religion and every race are equally valuable and deserve to be treated justly. All individuals are important, no matter whether we're living with mental health challenges, substance use disorders, or disabilities.
Health care is a public good, like police departments and fire departments, and everyone deserves accessible, affordable primary and preventive care and medical treatment. Our environment should be protected from the ravages of global warming, and everyone deserves clean air and clean water. It is a disgrace that in the richest country on earth, not everyone has decent housing or enough food to eat.
I believe in working together to fix problems where they exist, and to continue doing the things we're doing right. If you share this philosophy, please join my campaign and support me with your vote!