Rebecca Holcombe Announces Candidacy for Vermont Governor
Lifelong Educator Will Extend Opportunity to Every Vermonter
Holcombe: “I’m running for governor to take the state in a new direction – to put my experience as a lifelong educator to work and make sure every Vermonter has an equal opportunity to succeed.”
NORWICH, VERMONT – Today, Rebecca Holcombe became the first Democrat to announce her candidacy for Vermont governor. The former teacher, principal and Vermont secretary of education is seeking to use her experience as a lifelong educator to create a Vermont that works for every Vermonter and expands opportunity to every corner of the state.
“I’m running for governor to take the state in a new direction — to put my experience as a lifelong educator to work and make sure every Vermonter has an equal opportunity to succeed,” said Holcombe. “My life’s work has been committed to a single belief: When we work together, and look out for one another, we can ensure that every Vermonter has the opportunity to succeed. It shouldn’t matter where you live or what you look like. It shouldn’t matter where you were born. Every Vermonter deserves a chance to get ahead, not just people from wealthy communities.”
During her time as a teacher and principal, Holcombe saw the huge disparities in opportunity between those with wealth and those without wealth in our communities. And as Vermont’s secretary of education, Holcombe worked hard to address those inequalities, but she came to recognize that Gov. Scott’s agenda was only making things worse.
“I joined Gov. Scott’s administration because I took him at his word that he was serious about working to make Vermont more affordable and more equitable. I resigned when I realized that was just talk. We need to create opportunity for every Vermonter to make our communities stronger, but unfortunately, Gov. Scott is pushing for a statewide voucher program that would take millions from our public schools and funnel it to private schools that mostly serve privileged families. I simply couldn’t sit quietly by while our governor was pushing policies that left so many Vermonters behind.”
As governor, Holcombe would implement an “equal opportunity agenda” focused on creating opportunities for families who aren’t wealthy so they can contribute to Vermont’s future.
“Over the past four years, I have visited almost every town and met with people from Bennington to Canaan and from Brattleboro to Swanton. I am continuously impressed by Vermonters’ pragmatism and ability to work together in their communities to solve hard problems.
“My mission as governor will be to make sure that opportunity extends to all regions of our state, not just for the wealthy and prosperous ones. We’ll do it by investing in every community — to make health care more affordable, to allow our small businesses to grow and expand, to strengthen our public schools, move people to high-wage, high-growth sectors of our economy, and expand the use of clean energy in order to combat climate change and create green jobs, especially in the rural areas that too often get forgotten. And we’ll do it in a collaborative way, across party lines and regional divides. We need new leadership to bring people together and make Vermont the type of state where our young people want to stay in because of the opportunities they have here to succeed.”
Holcombe learned the value of public service at an early age, as she lived around the globe with her parents, who devoted their lives to working to create economic opportunity for people who live in difficult conditions. She spent most of her childhood in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Fiji Islands and Sudan.
“I spent most of my childhood in countries where not everyone had an equal opportunity to succeed. Through those experiences, I came to believe that the only way a nation or state or community succeeds is by creating opportunity and elevating the talent of all its people, not just the privileged few.”
Holcombe served as Vermont’s secretary of education from 2014-2018, where she focused on bridging the resource gap between the wealthy districts and those districts without wealth. With input from 2,500 stakeholders from every county of the state, Holcombe and her team developed an innovative and nationally recognized Vermont process for Education Quality Reviews.
Prior to serving as Vermont’s secretary of education, Holcombe worked as the director of Dartmouth University’s Teacher Education program and taught courses in education, politics and policy. Prior to that, she spent several decades working as a teacher, principal and district leader in public schools. Holcombe serves as a trustee at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, which enhanced her understanding of the challenges hospitals face, as well as the social drivers of higher cost and worse health.
Holcombe earned her bachelor’s degree from Brown University, an MBA from Simmons School of Management, and her Doctorate of Education Leadership, Policy and Practice from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. She completed coursework for her principal certification at Lyndon State College. Holcombe and her husband, James, have been married for 27 years and have two children, Johanna and Daniel. The family lives in Norwich.