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
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.