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Tiff Bluemle announces House candidacy to represent Burlington’s South End
Burlington, VT | Release: May 12, 2020.
For Immediate Release
Tiff Bluemle is announcing her candidacy to serve as State Representative for Chittenden County’s 6-5 Legislative District, representing the Queen City’s South End. Tiff and her partner and two sons have lived in Burlington’s South End – Wards 6 and 5 – since 1997.
For 17 years Bluemle served as executive director of Vermont Works for Women (VWW), a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting women and girls to think about their lives in the broadest terms and to help them develop skills and capacities that are critical to long-term economic independence. Under her leadership, VWW worked with thousands of women and girls, grew its budget five-fold, and developed initiatives for girls and job training programs for incarcerated women that have been replicated or recognized in national publications.
While at VWW, Bluemle also built broad coalitions of community-based organizations, organized labor, higher education, state agencies, and business associations to advance legislative changes in workforce development policy and increase Vermonters’ access to training, to establish transitional housing for women coming out of prison, and draw attention to and improve conditions for inmates housed at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility.
These experiences ultimately inspired Bluemle in 2015 to help launch Change The Story VT, a multi-year, systemic initiative (involving a partnership of the Vermont Women’s Fund, the Vermont Commission on Women, and Vermont Works for Women) designed to fast-track women’s economic well-being. Change The Story has: developed and published baseline data on women’s work, business ownership, and leadership; partnered with dozens of Vermont employers to encourage equitable workplaces; and championed changes in data collection and reporting to sharpen policy decisions.
In that role, Bluemle has traveled the state extensively as a speaker and facilitator as well as convening a wide range of public and private sector stakeholders to devise strategies for moving Vermont’s economy forward. “Vermont’s economic future hinges upon developing the talent of all its citizens. When women, people of color, or Vermonters living with disabilities are a disproportionate share of Vermonters struggling to find full-time employment or make ends meet, we know we’re not operating at capacity.”
Bluemle is no stranger to state government: over the course of her 23-year career and through four administrations, she has forged long-term working relationships with the Department of Labor, the Agency of Human Services and Department of Corrections, the Agency of Education, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and VTRANS.
“COVID-19 has exposed systemic vulnerabilities and inequities that limit the ability of Vermonters to pay their bills and support their families,” Bluemle said. “I am excited to be able to bring my experience to discussions that must be front and center in the next legislative session.” Those issues include:
– a livable minimum wage for all workers, including those who have provided essential services during the pandemic;
– paid family and personal leave to promote healthy families and workplaces;
– a solid and sustainable basis for affordable vocational and higher education opportunities for all Vermonters, regardless of income;
– a clear long term plan, including funding, to improve the quality of the water and ecosystems in the state’s streams, rivers. ponds and lakes;
– improving Vermont’s IT infrastructure to ensure that state agencies have the ability to process and manage all routine and emergency financial and programmatic transactions and that all Vermonters have access to marketplace grade internet and cell services.
Bluemle currently serves as Board Chair of Public Assets Institute and has been a board member of Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, the Vermont Council on Rural Development, and Princeton University. She recently participated as a community member of the presidential search committee for Champlain College.
She is honored to have the support of a number of Chittenden 6-5 residents and Vermont community leaders. Here’s what some have to say about her candidacy:
Dolly Fleming: “Tiff Bluemle has successfully worked to: understand and uncover injustices in our Vermont systems; raise awareness; facilitate discussions and critical thinking; respectfully collaborate with multiple and diverse thinking individuals and groups; and mobilize others to envision and chart a better path. She has a vision of how Vermont might and ought to be and she has the courage, competence and compassion to work through the mud and muck to get the right things done. Tiff will ask tough questions, shine a light on the dark truths, invite others to share their knowledge and insights, and then forge ahead to build a coalition, strategies and policies for positive change.
“This is not the time to simply go back to legislative work to restore what was. This is the time to respond to newly exposed needs and vulnerabilities and shape a future that dignifies all of us. I am genuinely relieved and thrilled that Tiff is willing and motivated to run for office. Thank you, Tiff, for stepping up to the plate.”
Jane Van Buren: “Tiffany’s years of experience fighting for women’s economic parity is what we need in Montpelier. Her unwavering focus on social justice and equality will ensure that the legislative decisions made in this unprecedented time are honest and fair. ”
Neale Lunderville: “Vermont is very fortunate to have a leader of Tiff’s caliber running for the State House. I’ve had the honor to partner with — and learn from — her on a number of projects, most notably her groundbreaking efforts with Change the Story.
Tiff is smart, insightful, and persistent, and I admire her thoughtful, mission-driven approach to making progress. She has a unique way of quietly bypassing political games to find common ground on tricky issues. She will be an extraordinary asset in the State House. That’s just one of the many reasons I support Tiff’s candidacy.”
Kesha Ram: “We have always been fortunate to have Tiff Bluemle’s visionary leadership and tireless advocacy for a fair, prosperous economy in Vermont. In this moment, with what we are facing, I can think of no one better than Tiff to help build Vermont’s new future as a member of the legislature. She has an incredible ability to see what is possible and bring people together to make it happen. Please join me in supporting Tiff Bluemle, who will quickly become a vital asset to state government as one of Burlington’s South End State Representatives.”
Charley MacMartin: “ I have known Tiff for over 15 years as both a thoughtful, committed professional and a caring parent. Tiff provides a voice we need. She has the heart as well as the mind to speak up for values and policies that serve all who live and work in our community.”