Nov. 13, 2012
Burlington, VT – Community and Economic Development Office Director Peter Owens today announced that Burlington resident and State Representative Kesha Ram has joined the CEDO team to focus on enhancing the City’s public engagement efforts. Ram, who began her new job this morning, will serve as Community Development Specialist, an existing position that had been vacant for several months. Ram will be the point person for communications between the Administration and community groups, including the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies (NPAs), New Americans, grassroots coalitions, and other organized constituencies. Ram also has been tasked with expanding the City’s capacity to be responsive and communicative with the community, innovative, and analytical through the creation of a City Hall internship program.
“One of the top priorities of the Administration is to rebuild trust with the public,” said Owens. “To do this, we must be engaged and responsive. Kesha is a great listener and a gifted communicator with excellent relationships within the community who will bring tremendous energy and skill to our public engagement efforts.”
Ram, who was first elected to the Legislature in 2008, will continue to serve as a State Representative. During the legislative session, her CEDO position will convert to part-time. Ram looks forward to bringing her significant legislative work experience to the City level.
“I am fortunate that my legislative experience listening to a diverse range of perspectives and turning that feedback into a shared vision and meaningful results translates nicely to this new challenge,” said Ram. “I appreciate Peter’s confidence in my ability to connect and engage with our community members and am excited to be part of the Administration’s dynamic team.”
Ram currently serves as the co-chair of the City’s Diversity and Equity Ad Hoc Committee, charged by the City Council to create a strategic plan for the City by this spring. Ram brings to the job her personal experience as the daughter of an immigrant family that experienced persecution and dislocation.
Ram emerged as one of three finalists from a field of 30 candidates. Finalists engaged in a rigorous stakeholder interview process with a panel of five community leaders representing NPAs, diversity and equity initiatives, and other community groups. The panelists were Patrick Brown, Gabriel Dixon, Neil Groberg, Dawn Moskowitz, and Lea Terhune.