Rachel Thompson (White River Junction, VT)
Rachel is a criminal defense attorney & criminal justice reform activist. She works as a public defender in White River Junction. While originally from Hawai’i, Rachel now calls the Upper Valley home. She became involved as a volunteer with Rights & Democracy in 2017 shortly after graduating from Vermont Law School. Rachel is a leader with RAD’s Decarcerate Vermont, which is aimed at ending the unnecessary incarceration of Vermonters and combating the failed “war on drugs.” Decarcerate is working to reform the cash bail system, expand access to substance abuse and mental health treatment, support safe injection facilities (SIFs) and medication assisted treatment (MAT) programs, and increase funding for reintegration programming and housing for formally incarcerated persons.
Vickie Lampron (Bennington, VT)
For nearly 56 years I have lived and raised my family here in Vermont. All of my work experience has been in human services field as a paraeducator in the elementary and middle school then as a caregiver for a nursing agency. For the past 2 years I've been involved with Rights and Democracy advocating and speaking up for those who's voices may not be heard.
David Ellenbogen (Montpelier, VT)
David is an original member of the leadership committee and has interests in progressive politics dating back to the campaign of Eugene McCarthy. He serves on the board of Local Motion, Vermont’s statewide bicycle/pedestrian organization and on the Executive Committee of the Vermont Sierra Club, where he continues to serve on both their energy and political committees. For over 30 years he has taught and written texts in college mathematics, and more recently he completed a Certificate of Graduate Study in Ecological Economics at UVM’s Gund Institute. He lives in an award-winning, net-zero, home in Calais and in his spare time he enjoys hiking and volunteering with the Green Mountain Club, bicycling, and playing jazz piano.
Emilie Kornheiser (Brattleboro, VT)
Emilie comes to her work with a passion for community voice, leadership, and most importantly, to support communities to own and tell their own stories — understanding and agreeing to a shared vision and outcomes. For the last five years, she has focused on improving the functioning and accountability of community development and support systems in Vermont state government. She has worked overseas promoting democracy and supporting small business development, in various positions at community-based organizations serving vulnerable populations throughout Vermont, and started her own small business in Brattleboro. Currently, she lives in Brattleboro in a converted barn with her son Solomon, her partner John, and a ridiculous mutt named Kaiser. A commissioner with the Vermotn Commission on Women, she is also involved with her county Democratic committee, co-chair of a feminist action network, a town meeting representative, a founding member of the Windham County Action Network, and generally involved in the grassroots and grass-tops of her community. She wishes that she kayaked, hiked, and gardened, but she actually just likes to cook dinner for her friends and talk late into the night.
Scott Garren (Rutland, VT)
Scott is a lifelong activist for social and economic justice starting with the civil rights and anti-war movements. Scott is a founding member of RAD and is on the Movement Politics Committee, chair of the Clean Elections issue committee, and Treasurer of the Vermont Political Revolution PAC. He is the founder of Vermont Acts, to get money out of politics. He is active in Vermont Workers Center, Castleton Indivisibles, and the Rutland Area NAACP. He serves as the Rutland County Treasurer & State Committeeman for the Vermont Democratic Party. He is a Data Scientist and is a member of The Analyst Institute, a clearinghouse for evidence on voter contact and engagement programs that makes evidence-based recommendations to the progressive community. He is also a trustee at Spring Lake Ranch.
Ali Dieng (Burlington, VT)
Ali Dieng - Ali Burlington’s new City Councilor and the Family Outreach Coordinator for the Burlington School District Extended Learning Opportunities. He is originally from Mauritania and grew up in Senegal. He studied law at University of Mauritania and then moved to Washington, DC before he came to VT with his family in 2008. He also serves on the School District Equity Council and is the manager and performer at Africa Jamono Drumming & Band Association. He lives in Burlington, VT.
Alison Nihart (Middlebury, VT)
Alison began volunteering with Rights & Democracy about a year and a half ago. She now serves as the chair of the Addison County Organizing Team, where she is helping to build RAD's organizing capacity in her town and neighboring communities. She is also a member of the Vermont Leadership Committee, where she has been involved in the development of RAD's proposed structure, as well as building the Vermont Movement Politics plan for endorsing and supporting candidates in 2018. She is passionate about building accessible and transparent systems that facilitate broad democratic participation in our work, and enjoy the process of figuring out how to design and maintain those systems. (2019)
Andrew Tripp (Montpelier, VT)
Andrew has spent much of the last 30 years involved in the struggle for a more just society. From demonstrations against US support of Apartheid South Africa and wars in Central America in the 80’s, to his first job in politics organizing to try and defeat the passage of NAFTA in 1993, to the anti-WTO demonstrations of the 90’s, to organizing unions for most of the last 20 years. His professional life has been as a Union, Community, and Civil Rights Organizer, nationally and in Vermont. For 20 years, in 28 States and four countries, he has organized unions, negotiated contracts, run strikes, built and run organizations and campaigns, worked to elect candidates, and passed legislation. (2019)
Jim Vires (Bennington, VT)
Jim Vires, Co-Chair - Jim is an author and partner in the independent publishing house, Branch Hill Publications. A long time activist, Jim has organized factory workers to form a union, took the front lines during WTO Seattle, and trained protestors in non-violent confrontational tactics for MoveOn.org in conjunction with Occupy Boston. Politically Jim is the Vice-Chair of the Bennington Democratic Committee. He worked as an educational facilitator for MoveOn in the lead up to the 2012 elections, and organized canvasses in Bennington County for the 2016 election cycle. As an active member of RAD Bennington, Jim organizes RAD membership canvasses, works to bring prominence to restorative justice issues, is working to affect political change on a local level, seeks the renewal of a Bennington County Drug Court, and works to train and empower activists in leading the next battles forward.
Mari Cordes (Lincoln, VT)
Mari is a registered nurse and union and community social justice activist. She is the former local president of Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. She co-led on a number of policy issues such as an effort to remove discriminatory health insurance practices for transgender individuals, to strengthen public and regulatory oversight of not-for-profit hospital assets, and in the effort to establish publicly funded health care with no barriers to access for all Vermonters. Her first academic degree was in Natural Resource Management, Economics and Policy, and she serves on the 350VT board and Vermont Progressive Party. She lives off the grid in the mountains with her husband David. (2018)
Mary Gerisch (Bennington, VT)
Mary is a retired human rights attorney and past President of the Vermont Workers’ Center. She is a task force member of the U.S. Human Rights Network (USHRN) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and as the Co-Chair of the Universal Periodic Review task force for USHRN, and sits on their International Mechanisms Coordinating Committee. She sits on the board of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, Healing Winds Pow Wow, the Turning Point Club of Bennington and Spirit Riders Equine Center, a therapeutic riding program. She is a representative on the Greater Bennington Interfaith Council, which has established and supports the Bennington Free Health Clinic, as well the Bennington Vermont Food Bank Distribution Center. She has been actively organizing for clean water in Bennington with RAD and Southern Vermont Water Warriors. She is currently the Chair of the Bennington Town Democratic Party. (2018)
Traven Leyshon (Middlesex, VT)
Traven has been a long time supporter of independent working class political action. He currently serves as Communications & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Vermont State Labor Council (AFL-CIO), as President of the Green Mountain Labor Council, and as a member of the Vermont Workers Center. He hosts a weekly radio program, Equal Time, on WDEV that focuses primarily on questions of social, economic and climate justice. (2018)
Jubilee McGill (Bridport, VT)
Jubilee works for affordable housing as a property manager for the Addison County Community Trust, on top of being a mother of three and a leader within RAD’s Addison County Organizing Team and Raise Up VT statewide issue team, organizing and advocating for livable wages and paid family & medical leave.