Originally printed by the Essex Reporter on 8/2/17. Follow link below for full article:
What do President John F. Kennedy and Essex resident Marybeth Christie Redmond have in common?
A commitment to raising up women: Following her appointment to the Vermont Commission on Women, Redmond will spend the next four years on the non-partisan state agency devoted to advancing opportunities for women and girls. The group was borne out of Kennedy’s 1961 edict to governors to create such a taskforce to examine and improve the status of women in a rapidly changing America.
Vermont Gov. Philip Hoff heeded that call, establishing the VCW by executive order in 1964; the first commission saw such esteemed members as the state’s future female governor, Madeleine Kunin.
It’s worth noting Kunin remains the only female governor this state has seen. And that only 11 of Vermont’s 296 statewide officers elected since 1778 have been women. And, with Mississippi, Vermont is one of just two states that have never sent a woman to Congress.
Today, Vermont is ranked 33rd in the nation for women’s parity in political representation – a far cry from its spot at No. 7 in 1993.
These statistics, which come from Change the Story VT, a multi-year research initiative backed by VCW, are figures commissioners hope to reverse.
Redmond and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson’s second appointment, Emilie Kornheiser of Brattleboro, join 14 other commissioners statewide on today’s VCW, each serving staggered four-year terms.
Appointed across the geographical and political spectrum by the governor, speaker, Senate Committee on Committees, Vermont Democratic Party and Vermont Republican Party, the 16 commissioners meet several times a month from September to June in Montpelier. Their duties range from spearheading taskforces to informing policy: VCW was a key player in recent legislation requiring employers make accommodations for pregnant workers.
VCW says eligible commissioners must display a commitment to reducing discrimination and increase opportunities for women in Vermont, a requisite Redmond has fulfilled throughout her career.