Progressive VT Women Take On the Establishment


Vermont is often hailed as a progressive haven, but in reality the state’s politics are much more mixed. In particular, there are rural areas where conservative politicians have long held the seats at the decision-making table, consistently voting against legislation that would support working families and protect our climate.

The four women featured in this post are working to change that. These RAD-endorsed candidates are taking on challengers in their districts with regressive policy stances and are committed to advocating for the policies that will lead us toward a just and sustainable future. While there are many amazing women on the ballot this year, we have chosen to focus on four candidates in rural parts of Northern Vermont who are facing difficult races. Please join us in supporting these champions and work with us to get out the vote in the lead-up to November!

Martha Allen

Martha Allen (Essex-Caledonia-Orleans) is running for State Representative in a one-seat district, against long-time incumbent Paul Lefebvre. Her opponent has voted against legislation to protect working families and our climate future, including the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), minimum wage increases, and paid family leave. Martha is committed to ensuring that high-speed internet reaches every home, that schools and small businesses thrive, and that quality, affordable childcare is available to all families. She has 30 years of public school teaching experience and served as president of Vermont-NEA from 2009-2018. 

Find Martha on Facebook.

Jo Sabel Courtney (Lamoille-1) is running for State Representative in a one-seat district against incumbent Heidi Scheuermann. Jo’s priorities include paid family leave, affordable childcare, inclusive and quality education, expanding broadband and cell service, and building a green and healthy tourism industry. Her opponent has not only voted against key climate and wage legislation, but also against weatherization funding for low-income households and a corporate polluter accountability bill. Jo has a lifetime of experience in the arts, tourism, political activism, organizing, and volunteer work. 

Find Jo on Facebook, Instagram, and her website.

Katherine Sims (Orleans-Caledonia) is running for State Representative in a two-seat district against Republican incumbent Vicki Strong. Strong voted against the GWSA, a minimum wage increase and paid family leave, and also against bills upholding abortion rights, facilitating mail-in voting during COVID, commemorating Juneteenth, and limiting single-use plastics. Katherine is a mother and a nonprofit leader, who is dedicated to creating vibrant communities and a strong regional economy. Her priorities include creating jobs, supporting working Vermonters, expanding affordable broadband access, updating transportation and housing infrastructure, and protecting our schools. 

Find Katherine on Facebook, Instagram, and her website.

Emily Hecker (Chittenden-10) is running for State Representative in the historically conservative town of Milton. This is a two-seat district where she and RAD-endorsed candidate Ember Quinn are facing two Republican incumbents. Emily’s priorities include: economic and health dignity for all, prioritizing our environment, updating infrastructure, and education funding reform. Her Republican opponents voted against a minimum wage increase, paid family leave, the GWSA, and a bill protecting abortion rights. Emily is a mother, an active community member, and a public education advocate, who is currently Director of Communications and Development for the Winooski School District. 

Find Emily on Facebook and on her campaign website.