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Women In Politics In Vermont

03/16/11 12:00PM By Steve Zind
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AP/Toby Talbot
Madeleine Kunin is sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Allen at the Statehouse in Montpelier on Jan. 10, 1984.
When Vermont elected Madeleine Kunin as governor in 1984, only four other women in the country had been elected to that office. Over the years, there have been many other firsts, too - among them, women elected to other statewide offices, appointed to the Supreme Court and chairing key legislative committees. Today, Vermont has the second highest percentage of women in the legislature in the country: 38.3 percent. Nationally, the number of women serving in Congress fell slightly this year for the first time in three decades.


We look at the history of women in politics in Vermont, and take stock of how having more women in government and in positions of leadership impacts the conversation and policy. Joining us to share their personal experiences and perspectives are Diane Snelling, a Republican state Senator representing Chittenden County; Patti Komline, a Republican state Representative serving Bennington and Rutland; Liz Bankowski, who ran Madeleine Kunin's successful campaign for governor, served as her Chief-of-Staff and most recently managed the transition for Governor Peter Shumlin; and former Governor Madeleine Kunin, the first - and to date, only - woman elected governor of Vermont in 1984.

Also on the program, we continue our week-long series to celebrate the tradition of maple sugaring. VPR's Steve Zind visits two backyard sugarers who show us how to get from sap to syrup.


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