Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV) presented this year’s VCV Environmental Rising Star Awards to Representative Gabrielle Stebbins of Burlington and Representative Dane Whitman of Bennington. The VCV Environmental Rising Star Award is presented bi-annually to first-term legislators who have stepped up and been effective champions of VCV priority issues.
“Representative Gabrielle Stebbins has a long record of working for a healthy environment and clean energy future for all – which she is clearly carrying forward in her new legislative role,” said Johanna Miller, Energy and Climate Program Director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VCV’s partner organization), who presented Stebbins with the award at a recent event.
“Rep. Stebbins is a force – and a force for good. For the past year and a half, her impact on the House Transportation Committee has been significant. She has been a key leader in helping to proactively drive a more clean, affordable, multi-modal and equitable transportation system,” added Miller.
Stebbins’ work with Hinesburg-based Energy Futures Group, service as Chair of the Burlington Electric Commission, and previous role as the executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont, along with her years working on river restoration and as a Park Ranger, provide her with expertise in money-saving, pollution-reducing opportunities that help people and the planet. She understands that a healthy environment and a healthy economy are intertwined. She ran on that commitment — and she carried it forward in her first term as a legislator serving on the pivotal Committee on Transportation in the House.
Representative Gabrielle Stebbins added, “I am so honored to receive this award – thank you! But the truth is, real change takes the effort and commitment of many people. While I can sponsor a bill, advancement only occurs when there is coordinated effort and commitment from beyond the State House and throughout Vermont. So, thank you to the hundreds of thousands of Vermonters who are dedicated to a thriving environment and sustainable economy.”
“Representative Dane Whitman has long had a passion for the environment,” said Shelden Goodwin, VCV Political Outreach Director, who presented Whitman with the award at a recent event.
“From starting an “Earth Allies” club in high school to starting a socially and environmentally responsible landscaping and garden design business, Rep. Whitman has always prioritized caring for the environment,” added Goodwin.
In his first year as a state representative, Whitman brought that passion and expertise to the State House. As a member of the House Committee on Human Services, he played a key role in the passage of a nation-leading bill that bans toxic PFAS chemicals in a range of products — including firefighting foam, food packaging, ski wax, and carpets and rugs. The law also takes steps to restrict harmful phthalate and bisphenol chemicals from food packaging. Whitman did extensive research, helped shape a strong bill during the committee process, and ultimately presented the bill on the floor, which garnered unanimous support.
“As a member of the House Human Services Committee, I hope this award speaks to the fact that addressing environmental issues is a matter of public health.” said Representative Dane Whitman. “After all, Vermonters want to live in a State where we can feel safe and supported in making healthy choices. I hope that we can continue working on other initiatives, such as fostering healthy soils to produce nutritious food, investing in infrastructure that supports healthy habits like walking and biking, and by constructing homes that are comfortable, safe, and conserve our natural resources. Through these actions, I believe we will not only support a healthy environment, but also support healthier and happier Vermonters.”
“Thank you Representatives Whitman and Stebbins for your leadership, and we look forward to continuing to work with you this year and in the years to come on policies that will create a healthier, more equitable, and more resilient Vermont,” said Lauren Hierl, Executive Director of Vermont Conservation Voters.