First elected in November 2018, Kathleen James is a Democrat who serves on the House Education Committee. In the current 2019–2020 biennium, this bipartisan panel has considered a wide range of important issues, including literacy instruction, universal pre-K, Vermont’s aging school buildings, our education funding system, career and technical education, and much more. In May 2019, James was named to the House-Senate conference committee that delivered the final compromise version of S.40, successful legislation to get the lead out of drinking water in our schools and childcare centers. To learn more about her work on the Education Committee, click here.
In March 2019, Kathleen was appointed by Speaker Mitzi Johnson to serve on the board of delegates and legislative advisory council of the New England Board of Higher Education. In this role, she has the opportunity to learn about common challenges — and innovative solutions — shared across our six-state region. In June 2020, she was named to the Select Committee on the Future of Public Higher Education in Vermont, charged with addressing the urgent needs of the Vermont State Colleges and developing a plan for high-quality, affordable and workforce-connected public higher education in the state.
Kathleen is also active in several caucuses. In the statehouse, caucuses provide an important opportunity to work across party lines on shared priorities, deepening policy expertise and relationships with colleagues from across the state. She serves on the leadership team of the Vermont Legislative Climate Solutions Caucus and in 2019 won the Vermont Conservation Voter’s Rising Star Award with two other legislators. She’s also a founding member of the new bipartisan Tourism Caucus, an active member of the Rural Economic Development Working Group, and a founding member of the Social Equity Caucus.
In November 2019, Kath organized a public forum to inform local residents about the tools and resources available to local communities through H.513, the Rural Broadband Act. This meeting led directly to the formation of the Southern Vermont Communications Union District, which was approved by voters at 12 towns across Bennington County on Town Meeting Day in March 2020. The SoVT CUD has won a planning grant and been named one of 12 Vital Projects for the Southern Vermont economy for its efforts to bring high-speed broadband to the county’s underserved roads and regions.
Like many legislators, Kath balances serving her community with another job: She’s the editor of Skiing History, a bimonthly magazine about the history of the sport. Until her 2018 election to the General Assembly, she also served as the full-time executive director of the nonprofit International Skiing History Association. She’s been with ISHA and Skiing History since 2010.
Raised in Nebraska, Kathleen earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She worked as a Capitol Hill reporter for Roll Call, a reporter-researcher for TIME, and a senior editor for Snow Country before settling in Manchester, Vermont in 1996. She has since worked as director of admissions at Southern Vermont College, editor-in-chief of Vermont Magazine, and communications director at The BOMA Project.
Kathleen has served on the boards of Manchester Elementary Middle School (MEMS), Zion Preschool and the Northshire Community Foundation. She was an early board member of Friends of MEMS, which raised money for enrichment programs that went above and beyond the taxpayer-funded budget. She also served as a board member of the Manchester School Fund.
Kathleen is past chair of the Town of Manchester Democrats and a Class of 2018 graduate of Emerge Vermont, a statewide nonprofit that trains women Democrats to run for public office.
Kathleen’s wife, Alexandra Heintz, is the patient safety officer at Southwestern
Vermont Health Care. Her older daughter lives in Chicago and her younger daughter is a college senior; both girls graduated from MEMS and Burr and Burton Academy. She is an avid cross-country skier and founder of the women’s vocal group SoFar.
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Paid for by Kathleen James for State Representative | Alexandra Heintz, Treasurer
P.O. Box 1044 | Manchester Center VT 05255