An experienced educator and leader
Rebecca Holcombe is an experienced educator and leader running for Vermont governor to continue her outstanding career of public service. Most recently, she served as Vermont’s secretary of education, and advocated for students, families, and teachers across the state. Early in her life, Rebecca’s family took her overseas to live in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan, where her parents worked to support small business and primary health care and strengthen government institutions. She saw firsthand extreme examples how poverty, lack of education, weak and corrupt governments, and lack of opportunity drove violence and environmental degradation. This experience left Rebecca with a deep appreciation for the strengths of our country and the principles of democracy. Rebecca began her career in outdoor education before becoming a high school and middle school teacher, then a principal, then a district leader. Rebecca is inspired by how powerful young people are when we give them skills, opportunity, and support. She and her husband live in the community of Norwich, and they are the proud parents of two young adults. “I want to be able to tell them and their children that I did everything I could to help us create an economy we could sustain, in an environment we committed to maintain, so that their generation of Vermonters could live good lives, with good health, in strong communities,” she has said.
A champion for Vermont working families
“I’m running for governor because I think it’s time to take the state in a new direction, and I have tremendous experience as an educator, as a teacher, a principal, as Vermont’s secretary of education,” Rebecca has said. “And I want to put it to work for every Vermonter in every corner of the state — not just the areas that are already doing well.” As secretary of education, Rebecca focused on equity across regions and for all students. One of her first acts as secretary of education was to declare the federal No Child Left Behind Act a policy failure, and she worked to make sure transgender students and undocumented students had the same freedoms as their peers. Rebecca worked to help districts that were struggling with high costs, diminishing enrollment, growing inequity, and loss of opportunity, and she engaged teams of community members, students, and educators to visit and provide feedback to neighboring districts on their progress towards equality. She has helped school districts take an entrepreneurial approach to making the best use of their facilities, including by bringing child care providers into their schools to reduce the costs, extend early learning, and make use of empty space in schools. Rebecca is running for governor to bring Vermonters together in solving the toughest challenges facing families and communities across the state. “We need to be very proactive right now,” she has said. “We need to have a vision for how we move into a Vermont that’s actually creating new opportunities for families and not just trying to hold onto and retain what we had 20 years ago.”
An opportunity to win a critical governorship
Rebecca is challenging incumbent Republican Governor Phil Scott. She was appointed secretary of education by the previous Democratic governor, and stayed on after Scott took office until resigning over major policy disagreements. “The disrespect that was shown to school boards and local communities by the administration’s move to undo already approved school budgets left me no choice but to resign,” Rebecca has said. “I refused to be complicit in a government that did not support all of the effort that communities were putting into a very difficult and complicated process.” Now, she is running for governor to lead Vermont forward, and to serve as another powerful example of the impact women in executive leadership positions can make. Let’s show Rebecca the full support of the EMILY’s List community and help this champion for Vermont working families win.