Women Legislators' Lobby

Pacesetters 2013

2013 Pacesetters


Representative Vanessa Lowery Brown

Vanessa Lowery Brown is the first woman to represent District 190, which includes parts of Philadelphia. In her first term, Lowery Brown founded the House Urban Sustainability Caucus – a vehicle to discuss innovations and educate the public about them. Lowery Brown has broad and varied experience as a community activist. With a teenage son in high school, Rep. Lowery Brown is actively involved in education issues, both in his school and in the school district. She studied math at Howard University and also attended the Community College of Philadelphia as a participant in the New Choices New Options Program.

Senator Sharon Weston Broome

Sharon Weston Broome has been an elected official for nearly 25 years.  Broome currently serves as President Pro Tempore of the Louisiana Senate.  She is the only woman to have been elected as Pro Tempore in both legislative bodies; becoming the first woman to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House. For the past three years, Senator Broome has served as the President of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women.  Under Broome's leadership, the organization elevated its policy impact and located its national office to DC. Lastly, Senator Broome enjoys being a wife, mother and grandmother.

Representative Sarah Buxton

Sarah Buxton grew up working alongside her grandparents at their family’s general store. After graduating from college, she joined Governor Howard Dean’s staff, eventually serving as a senior member of his presidential campaign staff. She later moved to Washington, DC and then Toledo, OH to work for the Children’s Defense Fund and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, respectively. Rep. Buxton graduated from Vermont Law School in 2010 and launched her political career. She was one of only twelve state legislators nationwide to defeat a Republican incumbent in 2010, winning by only one vote. Rep. Buxton lives in Tunbridge and works for a number of nonprofit organizations. She serves on the University of Vermont board of trustees and Vermont’s Justice for Children Task Force.

Senator Barbara Favola

Senator Barbara A. Favola represents Virginia’s 31st district. She served on the Arlington County Board for fourteen years and was the Board's leading advocate for children, youth and families. In the Virginia Senate, Barbara focuses her legislative efforts on public safety, women’s reproductive rights, health care expansion, K-12 education funding, social services, foster children, domestic violence issues, and environmental stewardship. She has received a 100% rating from the Virginia League of Conservation Voters and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia for her efforts to support the environment and women's rights, respectively.  Senator Favola and her husband Douglas Weik have been residents of Arlington since 1982. Their son, Donald, is a graduate of George Mason University.

Senator Audrey Gibson

Audrey Gibson is a native of Jacksonville’s northside. In her current capacity as State Senator for District 9, she is committed to fighting for her constituents as well as for all Floridians. During her career, Senator Gibson has worked as Congressional District Administrator and as a Business Community Liaison.  In 2007, Senator Gibson testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee during a Hearing on Juvenile Boot Camps. Senator Gibson is the recipient of many awards and recognitions, including, the 2008 Community Service Award from HOPE, Inc, 2006 Children’s Home Society - Public Official of the Year Award, and 2006 Legislator of the Year Award from Northeast Florida Association of Realtors.

Representative Jill Krowinski

Jill Krowinski was appointed to the state legislature in 2012 and represents Chittenden-6-3. Jill was born in Kenmore, New York and attended college at the University of Pittsburgh. Krowinski is currently the Director of Vermont Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. In 2002, she started a non-profit called Generation Vote, dedicated to registering young people to vote and engaging them in the election. Jill currently serves as a Commissioner for the Fletcher Free Library, on the board of the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra, and on the Advisory Council for Vermont Access to Reproductive Freedom. She and her partner Tim live on Spring Street in the Old North End.

Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton

Ellen Cogen Lipton is serving her third term representing District 27. Rep. Lipton’s priorities include education, renewable energy, creating good-paying jobs, moving Michigan toward energy independence, and stem cell research. Rep. Lipton was named Legislator of the Year by the Michigan Probate Judges Association for her work on legislation to help protect the mentally ill and children. Rep. Lipton, a patent attorney and Harvard Law graduate, holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Williams College. Rep. Lipton lives in Huntington Woods with her husband, Marc, and their two children, Corey and Celia.

Representative Rena Moran

A mother of 7, Rena Moran was first elected to represent District 65A in 2010 and is known as a strong advocate for social and economic justice. Rep. Moran serves as Vice Chair of the Health and Human Services Policy Committee. She  sits on the Early Childhood and Youth Development Policy, Education Finance, Health and Human Services Finance, and Housing Finance and Policy Committees. Outside the Capitol, Rep. Moran is a member of the Midwest Comprehensive Center Advisory Board and Toll Fellowship Program, one of the nation’s premier leadership development programs for state government officials. She was recently selected as a 2013-2014 Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Representative Stacey Newman

Representative Stacey Newman is serving her 3rd term after a special election in November 2009.  Her legislative focus is on equality and justice: gun violence prevention and voters’, women’s, and equality rights. She currently serves as Chair of the MO House Progressive Caucus. Representative Newman founded and co-directs Progress Women, a national blog highlighting the “war on women,” with 15-year-old wonder Emily Spangler. A retired TWA flight service manager, Stacey first became politically active in 2000 via gun violence prevention when her then 7-year-old daughter went on the Rosie O’Donnell Show. She is a proud “Nana” of 4 grandchildren.

Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk

Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk is a proud mother of three, devoted wife, and a true advocate for the people. Graduating from Buffalo State Law School, she pursued a fruitful career in law both as a defense attorney and as an Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting criminal cases. An immigrant from the Dominican Republic, she has always felt the need to help others, and it wasn’t long before she found an interest in politics. Serving with Casa de Maryland, she eventually worked her way to a two term tenure on the College Park City Council. A member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 2006, Delegate  Peña-Melnyk continues to fight for women’s rights, the environment, and the betterment of her district.

Representative Diane Russell

A native of Western Maine, Diane Russell is serving her third term representing Munjoy Hill and Downtown Portland. An outspoken advocate for working families and economic security, Rep. Russell was named “Most Valuable State Representative” in the country by The Nation in its 2011 Progressive Honor Roll. Her opinions have been published in all three major daily papers in Maine, as well as Roll Call, The Hill, and Huffington Post. Additionally, Rep. Russell frequently appears on both conservative and liberal radio shows, including the Sean Hannity show. Her primary issue areas include: expanding ballot access and protecting voter rights, getting money out of politics, ending prohibition, protecting workers’ rights, setting up a state public bank, and addressing the heating crisis in Maine.

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