This month, we have selected to highlight the new cohort of Vermont Legislators, who have just started the new 2023 session. Scroll to learn more about each person!
Legislature biographies were obtained from the Vermont Legislature website except Rep. Lamont who provided her own biography to VT PoC in December 2022.
Rep. Sarah “Sarita” Austin
Committees: House Committee on Education, Canvassing Committee
Sarita (Sarah) Austin of Colchester, Chittenden County, Democrat, was born in Boston, Mass. At thirteen years old I fell in love with Vermont when my family traveled here for a ski weekend. I attended Windham College in Putney, VT and then went on to UVM for graduate studies in Teacher Education and School Counseling. I began my career in education as a teacher and then accepted a position as the school counselor at the Essex Middle School where I worked, until my retirement, with middle school students, their families and teachers to foster the student’s love of learning.
As a former resident of Williston, VT I served on the Williston School Board, CVU School Board, and the Chittenden South Supervisory Union Board.
I also became a volunteer member of the Williston Fire Department/EMT and served on the Williston Community Safety Committee and the Essex Town/Essex Junction School Safety Committee.
I am presently a member of the Colchester Planning Commission and the following Legislative Caucuses: Climate Solutions, Social Equity, National Guard
Sen. Randy Brock
- Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs
- Senate Committee on Ethics
- Senate Committee on Finance
- Senate Rules Committee
- Joint Information Technology Oversight Committee, Chair
- Joint Legislative Management Committee
- Joint Rules
- Small Business Solutions Task Force
- Commission on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders
- Senate Workgroup on Lessons Learned, Co-Chair
- Task Force to Revitalize the Vermont Dairy Industry
- Vermont Citizens Advisory Committee on Lake Champlain’s Future
- Vermont Film and Media Industry Task Force
Randolph D Brock of Swanton, Franklin County, Republican, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 28, 1943 and became a resident of his present town in 1986. He was a resident of Addison County from 1970 to 1986. He and his wife, Andrea, have one daughter. Brock holds a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and a master’s degree from Yale University. He served as Vermont’s 28th Auditor of Accounts from 2005 to 2007 and was a Member of the Senate from 2009-2013. He was appointed to the Senate in December 2017 and he currently serves as the Senate Minority Leader. He is a former executive vice president, risk oversight, for Fidelity Investments and he was previously the firm’s general auditor. A Vietnam veteran, Brock was a captain in the Military Police Corps. He holds the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service and the Army Commendation Medal with 1st Oak Leaf Cluster. He is a certified fraud examiner. Brock has served as a member of the National Board of Directors of the Alzheimer’s Association (chair, audit committee) and is a former chair of the board of Hodges University Foundation. He was a trustee of the Vermont Historical Society and of the Vermont Law School. He currently is a director of ipCapital Group, Inc. and of the Florida Southwestern State College Foundation (chair, audit, risk and compliance committee). He previously served as chair of the State board of private investigative and security services and was a director of the Vermont Educational and Health Buildings Finance Agency. Brock was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Board of Visitors to the United States Military Academy at West Point and was the Board’s elected vice chair.
Rep. Kevin “Coach” Christie
- House Committee on Judiciary
- Ranking Member Advisory Council on Education
- Higher Education Subcommittee (Subcommittee of the PreK-16 Council)
- PreKindergarten-16 Council
KEVIN “COACH” CHRISTIE of Hartford, Windsor County, Democrat, was born in Hartford, CT, and moved to Hartford, VT in 1973. He attended parochial schools through high school and graduated from Eastern CT State University (BA), active in student government and the performing arts. He moved to Quechee, VT, to open an automotive business (1973-1980). He is married to Mary and they have two daughters. Started coaching track at Hartford High School in 1980 and then started coaching football and teaching at Hartford Technical Career Ctr. in 1986, received his MEd in Ed. Admin./Supervision in 1990. He was named Vermont Technical Education Teacher of the Year 1992. In 1994 became Technical Center Director/Principal at Randolph Technical Career Center in Randolph, VT, to 2001. He began his Doctoral Degree in Ed. Admin. and is almost completed. Then was an automotive Service Director and then Therapeutic Case Manager for youth in foster care for six years, he has served on Vermont Human Rights Commission, Boys & Girls Club, Vocal Soloist, VT. Special Olympics, Ed. Advisor, Correctional Facility, Chair VT/Rehab. Advisory Council, VT Symphony Chorus, Nat. Rep. AVA Resolutions Comm., Hartford Housing Authority. Held certifications; Principal, K-12, Superintendent, Technical Center Director, Auto. Tech. Teacher, NOCTI, ASE Cert. He is a Notary Public, has served on the Hartford School Board since 2007 and is the Chair. Attends Saint Anthony’s Church in White River Jct.
Rep. Brian Cina
- House Committee on Health Care
- House Ethics Panel
- Special Recount Panel
BRIAN CINA of Burlington, Chittenden County, Progressive/Democratic, was born and raised in northeastern New Jersey. He moved to New Hampshire in 1994 to attend Dartmouth College, where he was a Senior Fellow and graduated with an A.B. in Music. In 1998, he moved to Burlington, Vermont and served as an Americorps member at Spectrum Youth and Family Services. From 1999-2003, Cina continued working in human services, providing restorative justice and outreach to youth and families. From 2003-2005, he attended the University of Vermont, earning a Master of Social Work degree. From 2005-2010, Cina worked at Transitional Services for Youth and Families, providing family support services and supervising the social services program. Since 2010, he has operated a private practice in clinical social work/psychotherapy located in downtown Burlington. Cina is a community organizer and activist. He co-founded ISGOOD (Isham Street Gardening and Other Optimistic Doings), a neighborhood organization that has reduced crime through gardening and other community service activities since 2005. From 2018-2019, Cina served on the Vermont Artificial Intelligence Task Force as the member with social work expertise in human rights and ethics. Cina served as a School Board member from 2014-2017. He led the search for a new superintendent in 2015 and was the chair of the Finance Committee. Cina is also a musician and performance artist.
Rep. Leonora Dodge
Committees: House Committee on Transportation, Clerk
LEONORA DODGE was born to Irish and Mexican parents and grew up in Montreal and Mexico City. She moved to the US as a young adult. She earned a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Williams College, and an M.A. in Latin American History from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed a college semester in Chile, and a semester in southern Spain, and studied in Guatemala for a month. She is the recipient of a Mellon Fellowship, a Ford grant, and a Fulbright.
Since moving to Vermont in 2000, Leonora has sought to build community connections, both professionally and as a volunteer for many organizations including HomeShare Vermont, Music Contact International, Justicia Migrante/Migrant Justice, and Essex B.E.S.T. (Building Equity, Solidarity, and Trust. Prior to running for office, she taught Spanish at Vermont Commons High School and at Champlain College, and worked as a classroom paraeducator in the Spanish Immersion Elementary program in Jericho. Her community service includes running Spanish playgroups, coordinating children’s activities at the annual Burlington Latino Festival, coaching world championship Odyssey of the Mind teams, and initiating the Essex-Westford School District International Potluck dinners.
Leonora also shares her love of Latinx culture by teaching inclusive and multi-age dance fitness classes and dance events through which she has raised several thousand dollars for local non-profits such as COTS, SD Ireland Cancer Research, and Steps to End Domestic Violence. She lives in Essex town with her husband and two children. She is fluent in both French and Spanish.
Rep. Bobby Farlice-Rubio
- House Committee on Health Care
- Canvassing Committee
BOBBY FARLICE-RUBIO, from Barnet and representing Caledonia-1 district, was born in the Mission District of San Francisco, California to a Cuban immigrant mother and a Black American man. Bobby spent most of his childhood in a Spanish-speaking household in the Cuban American community of Hialeah, Florida. He attended Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he majored in English with a concentration in Film Studies. A lifelong musician, Bobby currently plays guitar and sings in the band Tritium Well. He enjoys gardening and planting trees, as well as riding mountain bikes in the Northeast Kingdom. He taught science, nature, and culture at the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury for 18 years. He is a Member of the Catamount Arts Board of Directors, and a Corporator for the Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital. He currently serves as Clerk for the Caledonia Cooperative School District. Alongside their mother, he has raised three children in Barnet and currently has three dogs and three horses. Their oldest child serves in the United States Air Force.
Rep. Rey Garofano
Golrang (Rey) Garofano was born in Iran and immigrated to Los Angeles, California in the mid-1980s to escape the Islamic regime and the Iran-Iraq War. Her career path took her to several large cities in the Northeast before she settled in Vermont in 2005. She has been a public servant for the State of Vermont for 16 years, serving in various leadership roles supporting Vermonters, including the most vulnerable populations. Rey’s public service career has spanned human services, including health care, affordable housing, homelessness, and early childhood education. She currently works at the Child Development Division working on policies that ensure that the youngest Vermonters have access to high-quality early childhood education. Rey also works across the Department for Children and Families (DCF) to build efforts to advance equity and social justice to remove structural barriers and increase meaningful inclusion and representation across DCF. She has a deeply personal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and has been actively engaged in multiple community projects over the past decade to promote racial equity and inclusion in and around Essex. Rey is an active participant on the Essex Westford School Board (EWSD), serves on the board of Voices for Inclusion in Essex and Westford, and is also on the EWSD Equity Advisory Committee, which is tasked with implementing the board’s equity policy. Her long career as a public servant, her lived experience, and her deep understanding of state government provides her with the perspective needed to work hard on behalf of working families in Essex. Rey’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in business management from Champlain College complemented by a certificate in trauma-informed practice from the Child Welfare Partnership at UVM and a certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business. Rey lives with her husband, daughter, and their dog, Tilly.
Sen. Nader Hashim
- Senate Committee on Education
- Senate Committee on Ethics, Vice Chair
- Senate Committee on Judiciary, Vice Chair
- Joint Legislative Management Committee
NADER HASHIM moved to Vermont in 2011 to begin a career with the Vermont State Police after earning his degree from Clark University in Political Science & International Relations. During his time as a trooper, he served in the Brattleboro Barracks and then the Westminster Barracks. Throughout his service, he was a member of the Fair & Impartial Policing Committee and also was a member of the Drug Recognition Expert team. In 2019, Nader ran and served as a state representative for one term on the Judiciary Committee. He currently serves in the senate on the Judiciary Committee and Education Committee. Outside of the legislature he works at a private law firm in Brattleboro as a paralegal and investigator. His hobbies include writing, music, painting, and hiking.
Member of the House of Representatives: 2019 – 2020.
Member of the Senate: 2023 – present.
Rep. Saudia LaMont
Committees: House Committee on General and Housing
Saudia LaMont of Morrisville is an organizer, advocate, facilitator, trainer, mother and racial equity/transformative justice consultant. Her commitment to networking with community partners, identifying resources, and reinforcing connections to help create a stronger sense of community is demonstrated by her leadership. Saudia has over 10 years of experience in her field. She combines a unique holistic approach with some traditional methods in her implementation and practice of embodiment, reflection, and actuality, leading to understanding. She believes mutual understanding, communal healing, and collective wellness are the foundations for seeing each other’s humanity and creating social change. She is the founder of 3 Op’s Consulting and is a Democratic Legislator in the Vermont House of Representatives for the Lamoille-Washington District.
Saudia is a graduate of Cornell University’s Diversity and Inclusion program, Leadership Lamoille, Bright Leadership Institute, Recovery Coach Academy, and holds a host of other certifications and skills that she incorporates into transformative justice work. A former infant toddler teacher, founder of the youth program “Developing D.I.I.V.A.S. (Dignity Integrity Independence Virtue and Self-esteem), and a trained- trainer of Prevent Child Abuse VT’s “Care for Kids, We Care Elementary, Safe-T, & Nurturing Healthy Sexual Development curricula, she has dedicated much of her life’s work to researching and supporting youth growth and development. A former visionary director and chair of a local antiracism organization, Saudia currently sits on the Board of Directors at Laraway Youth and Family Services, Lamoille County Mental Health and is a member of their Children Youth and Family Services standing committee (LCMHS). As a public speaker and workshop presenter, Saudia facilitates understanding of racial justice, health equity, housing access, survivor recovery, and restoring humanity.
Dedicated to family, youth, and community, self-motivated, energetic with a great level of integrity, Saudia leads with love, always learning and growing along the way. Her personal mission in life is to help, uplift, support, and inspire anyone she may encounter beginning with herself and her children. She wants her life’s work to be loving, inspiring, compassionate, encouraging, open, positive, supportive, memorable, comforting, sustainable, and life-changing.
Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale
District: Chittenden-Southeast District
- Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, Chair
- Senate Committee on Finance
- Canvassing Committee
- Government Accountability Committee
- Legislative Committee on Judicial Rules
- Sports Betting Study Committee
- Task Force on Affordable, Accessible Health Care
KESHA RAM HINSDALE of Shelburne, Chittenden County, Democrat, received a BS in Natural Resource Planning and a BA in Political Science from the University of Vermont in 2008. She served in the Vermont House of Representatives on behalf of Burlington, Chittenden District 6-4 from 2008 to 2016, where she sat on the House General, Housing & Military Affairs and Ways & Means Committees, and as Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee. Kesha earned her Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2018. She was elected to the Senate in 2020 as the first woman of color to serve in this role in history, and she is now the Chair of the Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs Committee and sits on the Senate Finance Committee. Her career in Vermont has spanned Head Start preschool support, legal advocacy for victims of domestic violence, municipal civic engagement, and consulting to build social equity and inclusion in non-profit organizations, businesses, school districts, and municipalities. She has also served as Co-Chair of the Vermont Attorney General’s Immigration Task Force, and as a member of the boards of Emerge Vermont, the Main Street Alliance of Vermont, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the Regenerative Food Network, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council. Kesha lives with her husband, Jacob Hinsdale, who grew up on Country Cedars Farm in Charlotte, and their dog, Miso, in Shelburne. They are expecting their first child in May of 2023.
Rep. Laura Sibilia
- House Committee on Environment and Energy, Vice Chair
- House Ethics Panel
- Canvassing Committee
- Joint Information Technology Oversight Committee
- Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel
LAURA SIBILIA has lived in Southern Vermont for more than 30 years. She is the eldest of 12 siblings, and she and her husband, TJ, have raised three children in Dover. She attended Champlain College in Burlington, VT, and Massachusetts College for Liberal Arts in North Adams, MA, and has a degree in hotel restaurant management. Laura has served on the Dover School Board since 2003 and was a pioneering member of the new River Valleys School District Board in 2018. In 2002, she cofounded the 501(C)(3) Deerfield Valley Troop Support Group for deployed military and their families. For many years, Laura worked as a waitress and reporter in the Deerfield Valley before taking a position as the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce Director in Wilmington. In 2011, she took a regional economic development position at the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) where she has focused on building strategic plans and partnerships, board development, nonprofit management, communications, fundraising, and event planning, including planning for the economic impacts of the closure of Vermont Yankee. She led BDCC’s regional efforts to help businesses recover from the major destruction caused by flooding of Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
Committees: House Committee on Education
MARY-KATHERINE STONE was born and raised in north central Alabama, the daughter of an Egyptian immigrant father and a native Alabamian mother. She received her BA in interdisciplinary studies with an in-depth study in human services and special populations through the New College program at the University of Alabama. She completed her MS in occupational therapy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and did postgraduate coursework in integrative medicine at George Washington University in Washington D.C. After the completion of her schooling in 2016, she moved to Vermont, drawn by the state’s natural beauty and the sense of genuine community. She currently works as an occupational therapist at the University of Vermont Medical Center where she also serves as a co-leader of the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Employee Resource Group (ERG). When she is not serving the community through her work as a healthcare practitioner, she is deeply invested in volunteer service and sat on the boards of the Pride Center of Vermont, the Junior League of Champlain Valley, Inclusive Arts Vermont, and Isham Farm’s First: Earth. She also serves on the Burlington City Arts Equity and Belonging Committee and Education Committee, and the City of Burlington’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility. In addition, Mary-Katherine has served the City of Burlington as an elected justice of the peace since 2020. She is a performer and artist whose interests range from dance to stained glass. She has performed and collaborated with many groups including Ballet Vermont, Lyric Theatre, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Shelburne Craft School, and Isham Farm First: Earth. Mary-Katherine resides in Burlington with her rescued Aussiedoodle, Rigby Jane, surrounded by a community full of people she loves and cares about.