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Vermont State Representative Rachel Weston
"Why I became an elected official"
By Rachel Weston
I am often asked how I became involved with politics. I’m not sure that it was really ‘politics’ that I purposefully pursued. I wasn’t a political science major in college, nor was I in student government in high school. Rather, I think I have pursued the values of social justice and environmentalism since I was very young. Working toward social justice has always been very important for me, and at a young age, I was sure that I could make a difference.
I remember watching the president on TV with my parents as he announced plans to go to war with
While my letter didn’t do much more than gain the attention of the local paper, it was my first act of civic engagement. Years later, while in college, I would find myself attending rallies and protests in
In college, I focused on grassroots community development and worked as a volunteer with many community organizations that focused on housing and food security policy. After graduation, I went to work at another non-profit community organization and as a public school teacher. While there is great strength and momentum towards conquering societal problems through community organizing, there were many instances where the root causes of issues that a community faces need to be addressed from within our government. With this in mind, I went back to school to pursue graduate studies in Public Administration.
The idea of running for office as a serious option did not enter my head until I took a course with
After graduation in May of 2006 I began to campaign for the open legislative seat in Downtown Burlington, Vermont. Over the course of the next six months I ran a completely positive grassroots campaign where I knocked on almost every door in the legislative district, listened to over a thousand people at their homes, and registered over 500 people to vote.
Democracy is strengthened by diverse voices. As the youngest member, and the only member of the House under 34 years of age, I offer generational diversity to our policy deliberations. I hope to encourage more young people to run for office to strengthen