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January 2nd, 2009 - Gov. Madeleine Kunin

I felt optimistic at the start or the New Year. I was teaching a course on women and politics at the University of Vermont and doing book tours for my recent book, Pearls, Politics and Power, How Women can win and lead. Barack Obama had been elected in November and he was about to be inaugurated as the first African President on January 20. I was euphoric.

It was an optimistic time. I thought the country felt united. Only now, years later, can I see the seeds of racial and political divide planted that day. I was too filled with hope then to see the dark side.

I was married to my second husband, John. We shared almost everything. We were both ardent Democrats, feminists, and had a passion for art, music, literature and politics. Each evening we discussed The New York Times, and the News Hour. We treated each other as equals. I did not know then, that John would die this year, leaving a large void in my life.


Governor Madeleine May Kunin is an American diplomat, author and politician. She served as the 77th Governor of Vermont from 1985 until 1991, as a member of the Democratic Party. She also served as United States Ambassador to Switzerland from 1996 to 1999. She was Vermont's first and, to date, only female governor as well as the first Jewish governor of Vermont. She was also the first Jewish woman to be elected governor of a U.S. state. Kunin is currently a James Marsh Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont. Her book Coming of Age: My Journey to the Eighties is now available from Green Writers Press.

Governor Kunin urges you to contribute to King Street Center. This organization serves approximately 120 children and teens each day. Programs include a Toddler and Preschool program for 1-5 year-olds; an Afterschool program for children in grades K through 5; Teen Futures, our innovative program for middle and high school students; an evening drop-in program for teens; several mentoring programs for children of all ages; and much more. Learn how to get involved by visiting



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