Blog - Rights and Democracy

Giving Thanks on #GivingTuesday

Want to help us create safe, just, and healthy communities that we can thrive in?

Give to RAD this #Giving Tuesday!

Next Tuesday, November 27th is a chance for you to show up and support the work of organizations that champion our values and build community.

Help us raise $10,000 in one day! How? Your #GivingTuesday donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $5,000.

Let’s build on the success of the midterm elections and continue our momentum of making real change: raising wages, creating a healthcare system for health, protecting public education and workers rights! We can improve the lives of thousands of people across New Hampshire and Vermont by organizing and transforming policy so that it serves OUR communities and families.

Your one-time contribution of $10, $25, $50, $100 or more on #GivingTuesday will be doubled & help us make true, lasting social and economic change through our organizing in communities across New Hampshire and Vermont.

In just three years, Rights & Democracy has gone from being a scrappy startup grassroots organization with a handful of volunteer leaders and staff, to a bi-state organization that helped to secure a veto-proof majority in the Vermont House and Senate, and helped to flip the New Hampshire House, Senate, and Executive Council to Democratic control.

We have the opportunity to hold Vermont Governor Phil Scott, and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, accountable and work to stop the disastrous effects of the Trump administration's policies toward women, people of color, the poor, the elderly, our LGBTQ family members and more. And, we must also continue to build momentum in order to win big during the 2020 elections—one of the most consequential elections in a generation.

So consider making a one-time contribution of $10, $25, $50, $100 or more on #GivingTuesday so we can — together — build the world we want to see.

Thank you!

Jaime Contois, Strategic Development Director



Congratulations RAD Champions!

WOW. Thank you.

You helped Rights & Democracy (RAD) members and volunteers reach thousands of voters and create a record turnout for a midterm election in Vermont and re-elect some key leaders in the People's House as well as build a veto-proof majority in the House.

Winning a veto-proof majority in the House means that we've shifted the balance of power in our state from a pen back to the people. We have paved the way to pass bold legislation like a $15 an hour minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, tackling systemic racism, and taking real action on climate change—issues that already enjoy support by the majority of Vermonters.

While RAD candidates didn't win in ALL of the 42 races where our members endorsed, we did elect these incredible 24 RAD leaders to office:

  • US Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Lt. Governor David Zuckerman
  • Treasurer Beth Pearce
  • Addison County Senator Ruth Hardy
  • Chittenden County Senators Debbie Ingram, Michael Sirotkin, and Chris Pearson
  • Washington County Senators Andrew Perchlik and Anthony Pollina
  • Mari Cordes - State Representative, Addison-4
  • Kathleen James - State Representative, Bennington 4
  • Chip Troiano -  State Representative, Caledonia 2
  • Scott Campbell - State Representative, Caledonia 3
  • Bob Hooper - State Representative, Chittenden 6-1
  • Selene Colburn - State Representative, Chittenden 6-4
  • Brian Cina - State Representative, Chittenden 6-4
  • Diana Gonzalez - State Representative, Chittenden 6-7
  • Mike McCarthy - State Representative, Franklin 3-1
  • Charen Fegard - State Representative, Franklin 5
  • Avram Patt - State Representative, Lamoille-Washington
  • Sarah Copeland Hanzas - State Representative, Orange 2
  • Logan Nicoll - State Representative, Rutland-Windsor 2
  • Maxine Grad - State Representative, Washington-7
  • Tom Stevens - State Representative, Washington-Chittenden
  • Emilie Kornheiser - State Representative, Windham 2-1
  • Zachariah Ralph - State Representative, Windsor 1
  • Randall Szott - State Representative, Windsor 4-1

We have to thank all of the candidates who ran this election season and proudly carried RAD endorsement. We know that we'll be seeing some of these candidates running again in 2020, as they built a strong base of support in this election.

Gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist championed raising the minimum wage and paid family leave, among other top issues, as did our first-time candidates Tanya Vyhovsky, Kate Larose, Barb Wilson, Heather Stevenson, and many others.

As an aside, RAD leader Mari Cordes didn't win her first election in 2016, but she did this time around - ousting a longtime Republican and helped to secure a veto-proof majority in the Vermont House.

These RAD candidates pledge to work with us—not stand against us—to raise the minimum wage, enact paid family leave, defend public education, tackle systemic racism, as well as protect our water, air, and move Vermont toward a real renewables future.

We will be in touch soon about how you can keep the momentum going as we head into a very important legislative session, where we have plans to pass - again - measures that will improve the lives of our families and communities.

We hope you'll join us so that, together, we can make the change we want to see in the world.

Take a bow. Take a breath. Let's keep organizing!


Kate, Elise, Emma, Johanna, Perri, Jaime, James, Shay, Hilary and all of our member leaders and volunteer at Team Rights & Democracy

PS: Help us build a 365-day-a-year, member-led movement throughout Vermont by becoming a member today - either with an annual gift or monthly sustaining donation.

Vote: Our Environment Needs You

by Martha Sylvester

Vermont’s nickname is the Green Mountain State, and all of our beautiful state—from our wildlife to our economy—needs clean water for survival.

It has been over two years since I’ve been able to consume the water that comes out of my home’s faucets in Coventry. I started questioning the safety of my water at Town Meeting Day in March of 2016 after learning of arsenic and manganese contaminations in my municipal water. Then, I started attending select board and fire district meetings. After nearly a year of researching Vermont’s water and meeting laws things grew worse—despite trying to work with local and state officials.

Like many Vermonters I am taking care of aging parents, and the lack of access to safe drinking water has caused significant strain on our health and finances. All I want is to be part of the solution. Ultimately, I took our municipal water district to court this April for failing to adhere to Vermont’s election process.

Read more

The Last Weekend

This is it!

No, seriously. We mean it this time.

We’re down to the final DAYS of this historic midterm election where Rights & Democracy members are doing all they can to ensure a record turnout on Tuesday, November 6th.

Here are two things you can do.

First: watch this video.

Second: Volunteer at a RAD phonebank to call folks around the state and urge people to vote on Tuesday—especially for those candidates who have pledged to work with us, not stand against us, on issues that matter most to our communities.

If you can’t make it into our Burlington office to phonebank, no worries. You can call right from the comfort of your own home.


You'll be part of important conversations with voters who have not yet made up their mind about who to vote for on November 6th.

You could help us win big on Election Day and set the stage for key victories on economic, social, racial, gender, and environmental issues in the next legislative session.

Thank you!

Emma Schoenberg, Lead Organizer

Rights & Democracy VT


PS: If you can't make a phonebank, you can still support our work this election season and beyond by becoming a RAD member today with an annual or monthly donation. Even $5 a month goes a long way to build our movement.

All that we love is on the line

"Whether you care about the environment or women's rights or racial justice or what's happening to our sisters and brothers on the southern border, all that we love is on the line.”

Those were the words of Sen. Nina Turner of Our Revolution during her barnstorm tour of Vermont and New Hampshire this summer.

"To get the wonderful change that we know that we can have in this country, it is really up to us."

As we head into the final two weeks of these historic mid-term elections, we’re asking you to help us elect the candidates who will stand with us - not work against us - to raise the minimum wage, provide paid family leave, stop corporate abuse of workers and consumers, stand with teachers and defend public education, as well as protect our water, air, and move us more quickly to a clean energy future that empowers local communities.

You can help us win big on November 6th by becoming a member today - either with an annual gift or monthly sustaining donation.

Vermont has been willing to stand on the side of justice and to lead the nation on many key issues facing communities across the nation — and it’s clear we have much more work to do.

This makes Vermont a target of right-wing mega-donors like the billionaire Koch Brothers, and their wealthy allies, who are plowing hundreds of thousands of dollars into this election in a desperate attempt to buy the election and stall our progress.

As Sen. Turner said: All that we love is on the line - that’s all.

Your donation helps us fight for what we love, and create the future we want for ourselves, our families, and our communities.

Make an annual donation

Become a monthly sustainer

Become a member of Rights & Democracy during this crucial time and help support our work to build that future—during this election and beyond.

— James Haslam, Executive Director, Rights & Democracy

We Will Not Go Back

On Saturday, October 5th, my heart broke. I felt outraged, silenced, and betrayed as I watched the Senate vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Forty nine Republicans and one Democrat showed that they have no respect for our autonomy, our health, our voices, or our stories.

I know that as much as this defeat seems devastating, that myself and thousands of women like me did everything possible to prevent this egregious injustice. I am certain that my newfound resistance family with carry the momentum of this movement to the ballot box in November, and beyond. I am certain that the powerful impact of our grassroots organizing will continue to reverberate, like our voices and stories echoing in unison in the Hart Atrium and National Mall. Those chants still boom in my aching heart:

“We will not go back”
“Believe survivors”
“I believe that we will win”

I still believe that we will win. I believe we will win crucial elections at all levels of government next month—here in Vermont and around the country. I believe in the power of our movement, in the power of grassroots organizing to unify and elevate the voices of individuals, who have been previously silenced.

I still believe. I still believe survivors. I still believe the stories I heard at home and in DC. I still believe in the strength of our voices joining together. I still believe our efforts had an impact. I still believe that in the face of special interests and ultra-conservative billionaires executing a long-term strategy to take over our courts and state governments, we can win back rights for our communities and build a real democracy. I still believe that we will win.

Do you believe?

Join RAD today & help us fight back in this election with an annual or monthly contribution.

Read more

Help RAD Get Out the Vote!

Join Rights & Democracy to help get out the vote for endorsed candidates across Vermont on Saturday, Oct. 27th!

We will be canvassing neighborhoods, knocking on doors, talking to voters, and handing out flyers as we work to elect Christine Hallquist as governor and re-elect Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman and Treasurer Beth Pearce.

We'll also be asking folks to support all of our local candidates throughout Vermont.

These candidates have pledged to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and enact paid family leave, champion universal health care, support high quality, affordable and accessible early education and child care, tackle systemic racism and oppression, ensure clean water for all, create a clean energy future that provides livable-wage jobs, and more.

On Saturday, October 27th we will focus our efforts on candidates in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Rutland counties.

RSVP - Addison County

RSVP Chittenden County (Burlington)

RSVP - Franklin County

RSVP - Rutland County

We need all hands on deck to get the word out about our endorsed candidates before Tuesday, November 6th. We have a clear opportunity in Franklin County to elect candidates who will be part of a veto-proof majority focused on tackling the real issues confronting Vermont families and their communities—with or without the support of the governor.

This canvass is part of RAD's statewide effort to reach more than 10,000 voters in Vermont on one day! We're hoping for record-level turnout this election, and you can help make that happen.

Can't make it? Share this email with a friend!

You'll spend minutes at each door, which means even two hours of your time will go a long way to victory on November 6th.

See you on Oct. 27th!

Elise Greaves, Political Engagement Coordinator

Rights & Democracy


PS: Help us win in November and beyond by becoming a RAD member today with an annual or monthly donation. For as little as $5 a month, you can help RAD build a true people-powered movement.

Vermont, The Next North Carolina?

While I am fortunate to call Vermont my home, I am also proud to have spent many years of my childhood and adult life in North Carolina.

North Carolina has recently been underwater from one of the worst hurricanes in history, and understandably people in Vermont are highlighting the fact that North Carolina’s legislature banned state funded studying of sea level rise & climate change in 2012. I respond by saying that the North Carolina I grew up in has been taken over by the corporately controlled national GOP. I’m not talking about my father, who was a proud Republican for nearly all of my life. Nor am I talking about some of our ethical neighbors who feel the GOP represents them.

I’m here to warn you — vote in this November’s coming election or Vermont could be on its way to becoming the next North Carolina. That may seem like a bold claim in a state where Democrats have controlled the House in all but five years since 1992 and the Senate in all but four years in the same time. In North Carolina, Democrats had held power for 100 years — until 2010.

Read more

3 Lessons From Rep. Tulsi Gabbard


(photo credit: Jim Murphy, RAD/MPA)

Lead with love.

That was one of the key lessons that Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) shared with members of   Rights & Democracy (RAD) and the Monadnock Progressive Alliance (MPA) at our recent co-hosted, bi-state gathering.  

We see  her as one of the boldest progressive leaders in the country who is standing up against powerful elements of the establishment to do what is right—from joining a veterans delegation in solidarity with the Standing Rock Water Protectors trying to stop the Keystone Pipeline in North Dakota to when she resigned as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee in early 2016 to endorse and support Senator Bernie Sanders in his run for president.

Here are some of the lessons I took away from Tulsi’s moving keynote speech and conversations she had with dozens of us throughout the day at the RAD Members’ Assembly and MPA’s People Power Summit.

1. ‘Aloha’ as a way life

Most of us who have never been to Hawaii have some familiarity with the word  ‘aloha’ But we learned it has a much deeper meaning that just a greeting. She said, “When I greet you with ‘aloha’, it means I am coming to you with respect and with love and with an open heart.  That regardless for our differences - whether it be the differences of where we come from or our stories and ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, and of these things - it is a recognition of our connectedness.”

It struck me that this was not only a warm greeting, but an important grounding for a way of life. Imagine what would be possible if each one of us and our collective movements can come to each other and our communities is this sort of deep respect and recognition of our interconnectedness.  While this may seem daunting given the level of division in our country and on our planet, it would be powerful if we could work to embed this concept in how people see and greet each other.


Read more

URGENT: Join us in NH to #StopKavanaughNow!

Help us #StopKavanaughNow and join us tomorrow, Friday, September 21 in New Hampshire to let Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine — who will be speaking at St. Anselm College — know that we want her to keep her word and protect our rights by rejecting the Koch Brothers' hand-picked conservative activist Brett Kavanaugh from being appointed to the US Supreme Court. Collins is a crucial swing vote in the narrowly divided US Senate and this is a chance for us to tell her why she must vote no & protect the future of our Supreme Court and the shared rights of generations to come!

If you are at all able, please join us for a picket starting at 4:30PM. Our friends at Granite State Progress will also be there, and you can find details on their Facebook event.

Please sign up here if you can attend.

For our Vermont members: We are working to organize housing with our New Hampshire members for those who want to be at the event tomorrow, and would like to stay overnight to attend our Membership Assembly & People Power Summit on Saturday in Keene.

For our New Hampshire members: If you are able to host someone, please let us know by filling out this form.

As you know, this is a crucial fight; the Affordable Care Act and access to health care, women’s reproductive rights and autonomy, migrant rights, marriage rights, tribal sovereignty, workplace rights, environmental regulations, and critical checks on executive impunity are #What’satStake.

And thanks to the hundreds of folks who have signed our petition in standing strong with Sen. Patrick Leahy who is helping to lead the effort in stopping this sham nomination.

Thanks for fighting back with us!

Email me if you have questions,

Kate Lapp, Rights & Democracy


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