As the current Speaker of the House, Mitzi leads the agenda for the session, giving the Islands and Milton a strong voice in Montpelier.
Mitzi Johnson of South Hero was elected Vermont Speaker of the House on January 4th, 2017. She is proud to be the first Speaker from Grand Isle County and the third female Speaker of the House in Vermont’s history. She represents the towns of Alburgh, Grand Isle, Isle la Motte, North Hero, South Hero, and West Milton in the House of Representatives.
She was born in Clifton Park, NY, and moved to South Hero in 1993 after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Vermont. Mitzi also holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Mitzi’s professional experience includes serving as the Executive Director of the Adaptive Leadership Network, a non-profit engaged in leadership training and complex problem solving, program and policy work for Hunger Free Vermont and the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, as well as vegetable production at Allenholm Farm in South Hero. She currently is a board member for the Adaptive Leadership Network, Vermont Foodbank, and State Legislative Leaders Foundation She is also the Immediate Past President of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Mitzi also volunteered for 20 years with South Hero Rescue and is a former board member of the Chittenden-Grand Isle County Visiting Nurses Association, South Hero Land Trust, Vermont Electric Cooperative, and UVM’s College of Agriculture and Life Science Advisory Board.
Prior to her election as Speaker, Mitzi served on the Agriculture Committee from 2003-2006 and Appropriations Committee from 2007-2016, as Vice Chair from 2010-2014 and as Chair from 2015-2016.
She lives in South Hero with her partner, Bill Baron.
Track Record: A Proven Voice for our Community
Building Consensus on Tough Issues
Mitzi has developed a reputation for working across party lines to push forward action on tough issues. In a moment of so much uncertainty, Mitzi’s decisive leadership and the collaborative tone that she sets for the Vermont House is exactly what we need in Montpelier.
- As member and chair of the Appropriations Committee, Mitzi gained a deep understanding of state budgets, crafting balanced budgets without cutting services that Vermonters count on.
- As Speaker of the House, Mitzi has continued her approach of engaging all the voices in the legislature. She’s focused on fighting for rural Vermonters, improving water quality in Lake Champlain, supporting our state colleges and universities, and more recently, allocating funds to those most in need during the COVID-19 crisis.
Prioritizing COVID-19 Recovery
As our communities continue to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, we need Mitzi’s strong, decisive leadership in the Legislature.
Working in tandem with Phil Scott and other Vermont leaders, Mitzi has worked tirelessly over the past 6 months to distribute $1.2 billion dollars in federal funding to the healthcare sector, small businesses, broadband expansion, essential workers, and Vermont families and individuals. This is the largest recovery package ever established by the Vermont Legislature.
- Unemployment assistance. Mitzi pushed Gov. Scott to find more people to process unemployment claims, and when that still wasn’t enough, she gathered legislator volunteers and had them trained to help thousands of Vermonters file for unemployment when the Dept of Labor couldn’t.
- State colleges and universities. Mitzi led the House in taking action to stabilize and fund three state college campuses that were at risk of closing, keeping many of our children and grandchildren in college.
- Healthcare. The House allocated $356 million in federal funds to ensure healthcare staff had adequate protection and every Vermonter received the care they needed.
- Broadband access. Understanding the importance of broadband for our rural communities during this pandemic, Mitzi secured over $43 million dollars in funding for connectivity and broadband expansion.
- Frontline relief. The House specifically allocated hazard pay to support our essential workers as they continue to carry our state through this pandemic.
- Small businesses. Mitzi led the House in passing a robust economic development package (close to $200 million) that allocated funding to our small businesses, including specific grants for women- and minority-owned businesses.
Affordability in our communities is central to our future as a rural state. Mitzi continues to be driven by the goal of creating opportunities for families and individuals, our aging population, and the next generation of Vermonters. As our State Rep. and Speaker of the House, Mitzi has:
- Supported efforts to lower the cost of higher education for young Vermonters (including prioritizing funding to keep campuses open during COVID-19)
- Fought for an increased minimum wage to guarantee fair pay for workers throughout the state
- Led 2018 tax reform to lower every income tax rate
- Bolstered the state-wide education fund to combat significant rises in property taxes
- Increased community mental health funding and began expansions for inpatient treatment throughout the state to ensure everyone has access to the support they need
- Spearheaded work on the Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance
Protecting Our Water and Climate
In the Islands and West Milton, Lake Champlain is our home, our drinking water, the base of our economy, and the environment that Vermont values for generations to come.
- Mitzi has worked tirelessly to create sustainable, on-going funding for lake clean-up. Eliminating the high levels of pollution takes time, but with experience, patience, and persistence, she has successfully secured over $50 million dollars every year solely focused on improving our water quality.
- Mitzi also led the House in passing The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). This bill does not create new taxes, nor does it establish a Carbon tax. Instead, GWSA converts goals for greenhouse gas emission reductions into requirements, establishes a planning process to achieve those reduction requirements, and allows citizens to hold their government accountable for action. Climate change is real and we are already seeing the impacts in our lake, as more and more algae blooms pop up every year. We must continue to elect leaders like Mitzi who recognize this and act to address it.
My Running Mate: Andy Julow
Meet & Greets
Please join Andy & Mitzi for a series of Zoom get-togethers to ask questions & share the issues on your mind. All are welcome. Stay for 15 minutes, or the hour.
News & Updates
House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero) commented, “systemic racism stacks the rules and expectations of our society against Black, Indigenous and People of Color. In order to build a truly just and equitable society, we must be committed to breaking down structural racism. It is incumbent upon all of us to recognize it, name it, fight it, and right the centuries of wrong. People of all races, genders, and identities should feel welcome and at home in Vermont, yet in order for this to be true, there is work to be done.”
The climate crisis is upon us and will not wait until we are ready. We need a plan for our state and a government that is accountable to that plan. Vermonters demand it, and our future generations depend upon it. We heard from Vermonters loud and clear that climate change is a top priority. This bill is critical to setting our state on the path to a strong future. I’m proud of the action the House took to override the Governor’s veto of this bill today, and I look forward to seeing this bill become law after action in the Senate.
Vermonters and Vermont businesses need relief now. The Coronavirus Relief Funds Recovery Package – H.966, H.965, and S.351 – were delivered to the Governor’s desk on June 30th. Vermonters need him to sign the bills now to ensure the money reaches the people and businesses that are waiting for it.