Who am I?
Kesha serves Burlington's Old North End, Hill Section, and University District in the Vermont House of Representatives. At 25 years old, she is currently the youngest legislator serving in Vermont. With a mother from Illinois and a father from India, she was raised to embrace and celebrate diversity and equality; to embody fierce self-determination and passion for their beliefs; and, most of all, to give back to the community from which she gained so much.
Kesha attended the University of Vermont, where she graduated magna cum laude with degrees in Natural Resource Planning and Political Science. She began her campaign for the legislature in 2008 when she was a college senior. She knocked on all of the doors in her district twice and worked hard to bridge the gap between campus and community. That experience confirmed for her that her district cared deeply about the issues she had already been working on: a clean environment, access to a quality education from early childhood to adulthood, and inclusive, sustainable, and equitable opportunities for economic growth.
Kesha was elected State Representative in that election and has served for three years as the Clerk of the General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee. She was appointed this year to the Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over revenue generation for the state. She is a passionate leader for tax fairness and equity, green job creation, affordability of early childhood and higher education, reducing environmental toxins, tribal rights and recognition, accessible health care, and affordable housing.
Outside of the legislature, Kesha is the Legal Director for Women Helping Battered Women, assisting victims of domestic violence in the courtroom and throughout family and criminal legal proceedings. She also serves on the boards of the Center for Whole Communities, the Sudan Development Foundation, and the University of Vermont.
Why am I running?
Four years ago, I was inspired to run by an apathy and lack of engagement I sensed among my peers. While passionate about many societal problems, they were not activated to see them as political or policy-based, or at least not to see where they fit into the process. I wanted to tackle issues that mattered to me and my generation like climate change, civil rights, health care, jobs with justice, and affordable higher education -- and engage them in building a vision for a better Vermont.
Now, having served for four years and being a new member of the Ways & Means Committee, I am in a unique position to continue and enhance my influence in Montpelier to enact meaningful solutions for our most pressing problems. This upcoming biennium, should I be appointed to the same committee, we will be tackling health care financing and tax reform. I plan to be a progressive and pragmatic voice on these matters and others. I am also inspired by the work we have already done while I have been in the House -- enacting marriage equality, building the framework for universal health care, creating a state tribal recognition process, and more. There is so much work left to do, and I would like to be there to help advance progressive solutions.
Tax Reform: Working on re-envisioning our tax structure to ensure wealthiest Vermonters pay their fair share, the overall rate is brought down through broader taxation, and government services are fully funded.
Higher Education: Creating more permanent funding streams to support high school dual enrollment and access to higher education for Vermont families.
My DFA Values
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My Campaign is People Powered!
I always have a team of young interns and volunteers that are passionate and engaged, but not sure how to access the political process. Many of them shadow me in the legislature to learn more about policy-making, and then work on my campaign, giving them a good handle on both sides of the Vermont political landscape.
Most of my donations are small - $10 or $25 - and come from retired school teachers, veterans, young people, single moms. They fuel a campaign that is built from the people and for the people.