Fourth Candidate Enters Vermont's Democratic Gubernatorial Primary

May 8, 2018

The field of candidates in the state's Democratic gubernatorial primary grew to four this week when Newfane resident Brenda Siegel announced her candidacy for governor over the weekend.

Siegel, the director of the Southern Vermont Dance Festival, describes herself as a low-income single mother, and says the perspective of people in her situation is lacking in the current political class.

Democrat Brenda Siegel, of Newfane, announced her candidacy for governor this week. Siegel says she wants to bring the voice of low-income single mothers, like her, to state government.
Credit Brenda Siegel, Courtesy

“I did a little informal research last year about whether or not someone like me is reflected in our government, in our state or even across the country," Siegel said, "and what I found is that really not at all is a single parent or a low-income single parent … reflected in our government.”

Siegel, 41, has never run for elected office before, but said government, in her view, “is designed to have normal people serving.”

“And I think with the right person, we could actually see some strong forward progress in the state,” Siegel said.

Siegel, who serves as vice-chairwoman of the Newfane Democratic Committee, says her experience as director of the Southern Vermont Dance Festival will translate to the state’s top elected office.

“Leadership and vision is something that I already do in my career currently, and so that feels like where I can have the strongest service for Vermonters,” Siegel said.

Environmental advocate James Ehlers, former utility executive Christine Hallquist, and 13-year-old Ethan Sonneborn are also running for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Siegel said her campaign will focus on a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave and other policies to help low-income residents.  

“So the best thing we can do for our economy is to lift the people in poverty up, so that we can have a much stronger economy with a much stronger workforce and ... a stronger tax base,” Siegel said.

Siegel said her campaign is being run by an all-volunteer staff as of now, but that “that’s going to change in the next couple of weeks,” when she begins fundraising.