Below are the Board of Director nominees who are up for election at this year’s Rights & Democracy Membership Assembly on Saturday, November 16th. We had a strong interest across both states for the open positions on the Board, and appreciate everyone who took the time to apply.
The nominating committee talked with all applicants and below are the list of folks who are seeking your support in joining the bi-state Board of Directors. The nominees are listed in alphabetical order.
Nancy Braus (two-year term, VT)
Nancy has been an activist since participating in high school protests against the war in Vietnam. In 1984, she and her husband, Rich, opened Everyone’s Books in Brattleboro, a bookstore dedicated to being a vehicle for social change, as well as a welcoming downtown environment for all. She has three adult daughters, including one who is profoundly deaf, so American Sign Language has been a large part of her life, as well as two grandchildren who live in Brattleboro. She worked for many years for the closure of Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor, and is now deeply involved in the work of 350VT fighting climate change and with RAD, especially in the area of working for progressive candidates for elected office, public speaking, and public writing.
Scott Garren (two-year term, VT)
Scott has been a lifelong activist for social and economic justice starting with the civil rights and anti-war movements. He is a founding member of RAD, Facilitator of the Vermont Leadership Committee and is on the Movement Politics Committee, and Treasurer of the Vermont Political Revolution PAC. He is the founder of Vermont Acts, to get money out of politics, and has been active in the Vermont Workers Center, Castleton Indivisibles, and the Rutland Area NAACP. He also serves as the Rutland County Treasurer & State Committeeman for the Vermont Democratic Party. He is a Data Scientist and 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. His commitment to fighting for social, economic and environmental justice is informed by a grandmother who fled czarist Russia because of persecution for her union organizing and his own Quaker upbringing.
Sharlene Labore (two-year term, NH)
Sharlene was born in Keene, NH and has lived in New Hampshire her whole life. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire and later worked at the US Postal Service-where she retired recently after roughly 30 years. For approximately 22 years she was a steward for the NPMHU (National Postal Mail Handler Union), and served on the NH AFL CIO Executive Board for about 20 years. During her time with the NH AFL-CIO, I experienced and learned a tremendous amount about politics, social justice and reform, and grassroots organizing. She stepped down from the board after her retirement, and I has been looking for a place to land and continue fighting the good fight. She heard about RAD from other union activists, and more than a year ago she started to volunteer, as well as attend events and meetings for Rights & Democracy. The principles that RAD extols are precisely the same as the principles a union works to promote.
Kristen Laine (two-year term, At-Large)
Kristen comes to RAD through the New Hampshire Progress Alliance, which she co-founded in 2017. NHPA made some of its early investments RAD as a way to strengthen NH’s progressive political infrastructure. As she’s continued to serve on NHPA’s board, she has been drawn to RAD’s vision and commitment to organizing and mobilizing at the grassroots level and officially joined RAD in 2019. She hopes to bring to a working role on RAD’s board: skills from a career as a writer and communicator; board experience on community nonprofits and advocacy organizations in New Hampshire and Washington State; strategic understanding of community organizing. She moved to NH in 1995 when she married writer, editor, and Granite State native Jim Collins; they have two school-age children. In 2012 they relocated to Seattle but return regularly to New Hampshire for work and family.
Michelle McCord (two-year term, NH)
Michelle McCord, of Concord, NH, is currently the UniServ Director for the National Education Association of New Hampshire (NEA/NH). Her region includes the North Country of NH, the largest geographic region but the least populated and often forgotten in the eyes of the NH Legislature. She has yet to find a coordinated group or organization that she can encourage people to participate in for advocating on important issues (other than education), and she thinks RAD has a lot of potential for the North Country. During her 15 years with the State Employees Association of NH, SEIU Local 1984, among representation and negotiation work, I was part of a team that facilitated internal and external organizing drives, including the Community College System of NH adjunct professors union, the first one of its kind in New England before the big adjunct organizing movement in Boston.
Alison Nihart (one-year term, VT)*
Alison began volunteering with Rights & Democracy in 2016 and quickly felt that she had found her “political home.” In addition to her role on the board, she also serves as a member of the Vermont Leadership Committee and the Vermont Movement Politics Committee (which leads electoral strategy and candidate endorsement processes). She is passionate about building accessible and transparent systems that facilitate broad democratic participation in RAD’s work, and enjoys the process of figuring out how to design and maintain those systems.
Mia Schultz (two-year term, VT)
Mia has been a member and leader in the Bennington chapter of Rights & Democracy chapter since 2016. She serves on the chapter’s water and the racial justice work groups, which have led to significant movement and change in the community. Mia is committed to finding and supporting progressive political candidates. It is important to her to contribute her time and effort toward bettering the lives of others by working for social, political, and economic change.
Griffin Sinclair-Wingate (two-year term, NH)*
During the 2016 elections Griffin pressured presidential candidates to take stronger stances on climate through birddogging, banner drops, and disruptions. While working for 350 Action in the 2016 primaries, Griffin learned how to engage with candidates in order to change the national narrative. During his time at 350NH he’s learned an incredible amount about what it takes to organize community volunteers. Similar to RAD, 350NH is an organization driven by volunteers. He’s learned how to craft a strategy that incorporates the broad range of ideas volunteers bring to the table.
* – current board member