Governor Madeleine M. Kunin Lifetime Achievement Award

We are accepting nominations for the 2nd Annual Governor Madeleine M. Kunin Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented at the Emerge Vermont Annual Celebration of Women in Politics on March 24, 2018 in Burlington. Nominations for the Kunin Award can be made online using this form.

Find information about the event and a link to purchase tickets here. For questions about the award or the event, contact Executive Director Ruth Hardy at Thank you!

The first Annual Governor Madeleine M. Kunin Lifetime Achievement Award was presented, at the 2017 Annual Celebration, to former state legislator and Commissioner of Employment and Training, Sallie Soule.

Sallie Soule was first elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1976, serving the towns of Shelburne and Charlotte. In 1980, Soule was elected to the Vermont Senate to serve Chittenden County. After Governor Kunin's election in 1984, Kunin appointed Soule as Commissioner of Employment and Training (now the Department of Labor), where among other accomplishments, she collaborated on the creation of the state's landmark Reach Up program. Prior to her time in office, Ms. Soule was a co-founder of the Vermont Women's Health Center, a predecessor to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

Sallie Soule has served on the boards of the University of Vermont, the Vermont Council on the Arts, Vermont Public Television, the Baird Center for Children and Families, and the Preservation Trust of Vermont. She was also a founder of the Vermont Community Foundation, the Vermont Women's Fund, and the Wake Robin Retirement Community. In her retirement, she established Bygone Books with four women friends, a used bookstore in Burlington. Soule is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, mentor, advocate, and role model. She is 88 years old, and now lives in Florida, where she continues to be active in political causes.

Governor Kunin has had an expansive political career spanning nearly five decades, as a community advocate, member of the Vermont House, Lieutenant Governor, Governor, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, and Ambassador to Switzerland. She is the only woman to serve as Governor of Vermont, the first Jewish Governor of Vermont, and the first Jewish woman elected Governor of a U.S. state. She has worked as a journalist and college professor, and is the author of several books, including "The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family." She founded Emerge Vermont and the Institute for Sustainable Communities. Kunin is the mother of four grown children, and has been a tireless advocate for the rights and opportunities of women and girls.

The criteria for nominees of the award are:

  • She must be a Democratic woman living in Vermont with significant political achievements and work spanning at least 25 years;
  • She should be viewed as a role model for other women and girls, who has maintained a consistent focus on mentoring and supporting other women in their political, professional, and educational pursuits;
  • Her focus has been on policy work that expands opportunities for others and/or focuses attention on important or emerging policy fields, especially as related to women’s rights, environmental policy, international relations, journalism, the arts, and education;
  • There must be evidence of her work having an impact on the lives of other Vermonters, at the local, state, federal, and/or international level.



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