Kunin Speaks Out

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kuninspeaksoutST. JOHNSBURY - Former Governor Madeline Kunin spoke at Catamount Arts last night.

She spoke on many different topics, including being the first female governor.

 As part of Catamount Arts' Courageous Conversations series, Kunin shared her thoughts on our nation's childhood poverty rate, social security, and the education system. Another important topic was gender equality and women's limited status in the workplace. 

Kunin, a Democrat, served as governor from 1985 until 1991; she was the first female governor of Vermont. During the event Kunin recalled facing discrimination while campaigining for office.

"Two people said 'I won't vote for a woman governor', one was a barber in Springfield, and he ran out of his shop to tell me that. I obviously still remember him," Kunin said, "Most people don't say that, even if they might think it."

Kunin explained that the keys to being a successful leader include having concern, a sense of imagination, empathy for others, and being optimistic.

"As the first in anything, whether it's the first African American, or the first gay person, or the first woman, you have sort of a burden of proof," Kunin said, "because people say 'Can this new person really do this job?'.

The main goal of the Courageous Conversations program is to engage the community in discussions about important issues facing not only the nation, but the Northeast Kingdom specifically.