Leadership Committee

LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE

Climate Change Rally Brattleboro 2019

NANCY BRAUS
Putney, 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.

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.

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.

MARY GERISCH
Bennington, VT

Mary is 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)

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ELISE GREAVES
Winooski, VT

Elise is a lifelong Vermonter and Hardwick native, and graduated from the University of Vermont in 2014. She joined AmeriCorps shortly after graduating, and spent her year of service at a Teen Center in Chittenden County. Elise joined the staff of Rights & Democracy in the summer of 2015, knocking on thousands of doors across the state in support of paid sick days legislation. In her three years with RAD, she organized in communities across Vermont around the fight to raise the minimum wage, impact local elections, and was one of the lead organizers of the Women’s March on Montpelier in 2017. Later that year, she worked as campaign manager for Carina Driscoll’s 2018 bid for Mayor of Burlington. She is passionate about economic justice, and building a state and country that puts basic needs and human dignity first. Elise is an inaugural fellow of New Leaders Council VT and works with Vermont Works for Women as Program Coordinator for a pre-apprenticeship program that trains women and non-gender conforming folks for jobs and apprenticeships in the construction trades.

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GINGER KNIGHT
East Montpelier, VT

Ginger is currently a student at U-32 High School and has been involved with social justice issues in her high school and town community. She’s recently planned school walkouts, a Town Hall with Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, helped raise the Black Lives Matter flag at her school, organized vigils, and lastly planned a Cultural Diversity Day at U-32. She focuses her activism primarily on racial justice in her school.

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 & Democracy advocating and speaking up for those who’s voices may not be heard.

KateLarose

KATE LAROSE
St. Albans, VT

Kate is a firm believer in the power of community and making sure everyone has a place at the table.  Though her passion for social justice was first ignited while growing up in California’s central valley and seeing the inequities that exist for migrant farm laborers, it took a few more decades for her to begin to understand the systemic and policy underpinnings of injustice.  Her experiences as a Peace Corps and VISTA member, government employee, mother, and director at a small business and non-profit organization continue to teach her these lessons each day.  Kate’s participation in RAD’s 2018 Raise the Wage campaign inspired her to run for office, for which she is grateful.

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.

LauraMistretta

LAURA MISTRETTA
Burlington

Laura has been an activist since sophomore year of college when she interned with Student Action with Farmworkers and organized students at Duke University to support better living conditions for North Carolina’s farmworker population. Since then Laura has worked and volunteered on campaigns to divest Duke’s endowment from fossil fuels, reduce the use of antibiotics on factory farms, permanently protect public lands, protect clean water, fight climate change and more. She first got involved with Rights & Democracy as a volunteer, phone banking for various progressive candidates across the state. Since then she has helped develop RAD’s Jobs, Justice & Climate platform; organized around raising the minimum wage; as well as serving on the Leadership Committee. These days Laura works as an advocate for Vermont’s mobile home park residents and spends her free time playing ultimate frisbee, and biking around Burlington.

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)

ALISON NIHART
Middlebury, VT

Alison is the co-chair of the Rights & Democracy Board of Directors and began volunteering with Rights & Democracy in 2016. She has been involved in RAD’s Addison County Organizing Team, and been involved in the development of RAD’s governing structure, as well as building the Vermont Movement Politics plan for endorsing and supporting candidates. 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.

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KAREN STEEVER
Rutland, VT

Karen is a public school teacher and serves as a representative on the local teachers union council. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania as one of five children in a single parent household, Karen fully understands the many challenges that come with poverty and limited opportunities. She has always had a heart for marginalized populations, but became more actively involved in volunteering and organizing for change in 2016. Karen lives in Rutland County and is excited to help grow RAD’s presence there.

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.

Teddy Waszazak

TEDDY WASZAZAK
Barre, VT

Teddy has been involved with Rights & Democracy since early in 2017, and has spoken out at press conferences, assisted in organizing, testified before the legislature, and more. He worked hard on the Raise the Wage Coalition and specifically within the Raise Up Vermont team within RAD. During the 2018 elections, he was the campaign manager for Democratic gubernatorial primary candidate Brenda Siegel and later worked for Christine Hallquist, the Democratic nominee.  He was elected to the Barre City Council in March 2019 as a RAD-endorsed candidate. He’s also been an intern for economic justice issues for Lt. Governor David Zuckerman. His philosophy boils down to this: In order to make change, we have to make sure that all folks are being listened to.