Meet Dawn Ellis, a strong, independent fresh voice with national experience running for the Vermont U.S. Senate.
Meet Dawn Ellis, a strong, independent fresh voice with national experience running for the Vermont U.S. Senate.
Welcome to the campaign to make Dawn Ellis Vermont's first woman U.S. Senator. Dawn’s a mom of twins, an entrepreneur, a creative, and human rights commissioner. Dawn served as a senior White House commission researcher and helps foundations, businesses, and states of all political stripesimprove policies and programs.
Dawn will work to put people first. Upstream investments in people, places, health and wellness prevent problems later. She will work for healthier lives for all of us. Dawn will take on food security - no child or person should have to grapple with hunger in this wealthiest of nations. She brings a lifetime of inclusion work. Whether you walk or roll, no matter your gender identification, race, language, background, religion, wealth, rent or own, all families and loved ones welcome. Dawn will work to remove barriers and pave pathways forward as we pursue our American dreams. #IncludeAll
In Vermont and America, Dawn wants to knock down barriers to learning, dreaming, working, and thriving as we journey through our lives. Too often people speak of the disappearing middle class. As a small business owner, herself, Dawn's been listening to the smallest business owners across Vermont, who make up more than 95% of our state's businesses. Stories of creativity and adaptation show how starting and owning a business helped some Vermonters pull through the pandemic. Some started businesses in the middle of the pandemic, as Dawn herself did. Some have been working their family businesses for decades, involving the young people in the family as they grow- in some cases changing organizational models to make room for leadership development of the next generation. Many described the importance of balancing work and family, and how being the boss bring both challenges and opportunities in this.
Dawn met aspiring owners of businesses and businesses trying to pivot during changing times. One common theme from tech businesses to market vendors was small business owners who need to learn all aspects of the business, from web, to product development, to accounting. Many relish the learning, but have a hard time connecting with the resources to answer their questions or develop the skills they need, since they are busy running the business. Dawn supports making it easier for more everyday Vermonters who have the idea, the plan, and are ready to work to start or build their small businesses. We can reduce barriers to business ownership entry, make access to government support more straightforward, and prioritize learning and professional development opportunity at all phases of small business development to grow Vermont's resilience.
With experience as s a watchdog in Vermont, including serving seven years as a Vermont Human Rights Commissioner, and building a statewide nonprofit focused on inclusion, Dawn knows what it is to champion a more humane and civil society for Vermonters and their families. She runs for the Senate because it is clear better federal protection is needed. People in government and the system itself must be held accountable to the people and play by fair rules. Dawn runs to fight for transparency and stop the abuses of government and its partners. We must not turn back the clock to a time when our governments only served men owning property.
Our constitutional rights are under attack. Dawn will fight for legislation to protect our rights for women and all adults to make our own health care decisions. She stands up to protect our privacy in this digital age. She will be a strong voice to ensure we can choose who we love and raise our families without fear and interference. She will champion real access for all to high quality education and public services, including its protections,. Dawn will fight for free and fair voting and to stamp out voter and candidate intimidation and interference. Dawn will work to lead the reforms and redesign needed to develop a justice system that plays by fair rules and embodies the ideas of true democracy. She will also work to develop and codify pathways beyond the current justice system to help make people and communities whole again. Dawn will fight for freedom for all from violence and transgression.
Dawn was voted a Vermont emerging leader in sustainability in 2016. She brings expertise in sustainability across the sectors, from business to learning, permaculture to people. Dawn champions planet health because, as humans, we are the stewards of this beautiful but fragile planet. Both large scale and in our homes and communities, government should take the lead to ensure we have clean air, water, soil, and healthy food and ecosystems. Renewable energy is the pathway forward, but we must not leave anyone behind as we progress. Federal leadership is needed to prevent greenwashing and abuse, including misuse of growing stores of electric energy and weatherization and infrastructure work that makes spaces sicker. Dawn has both the vision and understanding to lead us to healthy planet future for us today and our children tomorrow.
We invite you to spread the word through your networks while Dawn is on the ground meeting people. Your word is worth more than donors can give - together, we can upend the special interests and money driving elections today.
Dawn brings a fresh, independent voice and big picture thinking to leadership. As a founder and CEO of socially responsible businesses, a human rights commissioner, a facilitator and consultant, and a creative, she adds needed skills to Congress. In her twenties, she built a statewide not-for-profit focused on including people with disabilities, now called Inclusive Arts Vermont. Long involved in consulting for inclusion, Dawn balanced this work in the state while getting a Masters in Education, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University, where she developed the skills of a social science researcher and learned leadership approaches from the Kennedy School of Government.
Tackling the big system, she was invited to head to Washington, D.C. to serve as a senior researcher for a White House Commission. This brought her around the country to study, understand, and support people, schools, and communities. She brought this knowledge and her consulting business back to Vermont. Returning to Vermont, she worked for the state as an education leader, helping schools and communities across the state with grants, programs, and professional development while consulting. Through her businesses, she has led work with foundations like the Ford Foundation and states across the country, from Wyoming to California, Tennessee to New Jersey. Dawn now serves as one of five Vermont Human Rights Commissioners, where she was appointed by both a Democrat governor then reappointed by a Republican governor. In 2020, she began to pilot a new business during the challenges of the COVID period, putting her expertise in sustainability into practice through permaculture.
Register: Congratulations to all who voted in the 2022 elections! The 2023 local elections are right around the corner on March 7, 2023 - Town Meeting Day. We continue to register voters and encourage you to exercise that right every chance you get. It's never to early to plan to register and vote, so here are some tips as you make a vote plan to vote in various elections upcoming, whether or not Dawn is on the ballot that day. Every election matters.
* Register at your polling location on voting day when you go to vote.
Voters with Ballots Filled Out Early:
If you lose your early ballot, don't worry! You can fill out a form at the polls to get a new one there.
Head to your polling place, leaving some extra time for surprises and lines. Polls open at different times, all close at 7:00 p.m..
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End of November 2022 Update
Dawn and her family are on the front line of the hidden domestic war raging in our country. Even as she talks with people around the state to focus on our shared possibilities, dangerous elements continue to threaten and attack her and her family. Part of our Take Back Our Democracy movement rests on refusing to be silenced. You may be outraged. You may be moved. You are needed to help us stop the violence.
In her words....
My heart literally pauses as I write this. My people, Miles and Theo, should be in college or home on break, but their whereabouts are unclear. We are hearing reports and encountering evidence they have been abducted, possibly forcibly adopted days before turning 18, and that they have had their names and appearances radically and permanently altered. We understand that they are being held against their will, are likely in pain, and are being made to work in enslaved conditions. Even worse, recent reports suggest they have been badly injured and urgently need medical care. That this could be happening is shocking, outrageous, and deeply concerning. Please contact us if you have more information or could assist. Wrongly, police and businesses where there have been sightings have hindered rather than helped.
On Hearing of Threats
Targeted directly at me, we hear of defamation campaigns in the works. Ongoing death threats continue to surface daily, escalating in ways that suggest plans to assassinate me by lynching or through other hate-filled violence. There are signs of KKK and Q involvement in these ongoing attacks. It is staggering.
Call to Action
I will not be silenced. I decry the use of violence. People's lives are on the line as if we have turned back the clock to earlier civil rights struggles generations ago. These attacks on candidates and their families are a direct attack on our democracy. They are designed to shrink democratic competition. throw elections, and steal your vote. Let us mobilize to push back the wave of fear and fury and build a society that works for all of us.
It has been a privilege to meet and talk with people all across the state Chelsea to Alburgh, White River Junction to Rutland, Burlington to Barre, St. Albans to Bellows Falls, Brandon to Milton, and on across our beautiful state. To listen to your ideas, wisdom. To meet your families and break bread together... in somce cases, to break out into song or dance as celebrate our common humanity at one of the many Vermont festivals. If I did not get to meet you, here's more about me.
I live in Burlington, Vermont in a corner in the North end with a growing permaculture presence and edible plants all around. My Vermont story begins around 30 years ago, as a train and ferry brought me to the state for the first time as a visitor. It was so beautiful, I stayed, looked for work, and dug into life in Burlington and Montpelier. Fresh out of college at Yale, my new adult life included learning (classes in statistics, life lessons in how to make rent), teaching (Alburgh and Baird Center), grassroots building not-for-profits, performing, and community involvement. When the organization I built was in a good place, I left for graduate school to learn how to answer tough questions about public sector work and improve policies. After graduating and working in D.C., I returned to Vermont and married my college sweetheart, John. With our cat, we began a new chapter in Duxbury, VT, while I worked for the state. We later moved to the MidAtlantic, where John had his first opportunity in academia and I developed the national scope of my consulting business. Parenting came all at once, with the arrival of two great joys in my life, our twin boys, Miles and Theo. Our family returned to Vermont in pursuit of a better balance in life as John shifted work and our sons began their formal public education.
Vermont has given me such joys as a parent, from singing the National Anthem for my sons' Little League games to raising resources to develop the grounds at Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes School to help teachers connect students with the environment in and out of the classroom. In our family, many of us love and participate in a great variety of performing, visual, and literary arts. Performing through the U.S. and Asia as a singer has given me insights into cultures and societies around the world. Hiking, swimming, biking, and running are other ways I and my family have enjoyed our Green Mountain state. You can often find me outside with plants or behind the piano when I am not working or campaigning.
I've been honored to be elected to represent Vermont as one the four At Large Delegates to the Democratic National Convention in 2012. I am proud to have been politically appointed to Commissions to state Commissions and Councils by Governors in both Vermont and Delaware, when we lived there. I believe in service to state and community to make our society work for all of us.
A Tale of Two Vermonts
The usual candidate would stop at the best of times. But, it is important for you to know that I bring an understanding of pain, loss, grief , and where the system fails us that too many global citizens suffered in the pandemic times. First, we lost my husband from the inside out in a painful decline, ignored by those who should have helped. John passed from this world in 2019, far too soon, leaving our family wracked by grief and confusion. But, before we could even mourn, as we went into the pandemic, people and institutions acting as if part of a predatory, radical movement targeted us for violence.
I glimpsed the signs of a hidden illness in our beloved Vermont, as I saw people we trusted swept into a movement engaged in hidden violence. The motivation seemed to be fear losing power, a need to belong to something, and a desire to lash out at others from years of being taught to hate. At the same time, I saw leaders I had trusted were, behind the scenes, stirring up the worst in citizens rather than the best, misusing their power. It is a case of false advertising when Vermont bills itself as a utopia, caring, progressive - a safe haven-- even as behind the scenes there are leaders from all parties who build and maintain systems to wage war on our own people.
Words can't do justice to explain the steady drumbeat of aggressions and violence my family continues to endure every day in this campaign. There are familiar wrongs like hacking (including this site)** and thefts of equipment/voter registration forms/financials. We have suffered assaults, break-ins and worse. Death threats tap into our country's ugliest histories, with threats to us from attacks by lynching, fire, harm in our house and more. As we head into voting day, I just learned of a credible rumor that I and my family are at great risk of harm after the election. As a human rights leader, I have found this kind of danger is happening all across our state and our country, hidden just out of sight. It is wrong. Let us push back attempts to co-opt your voice and make your choices for you through brute force. Let us bring sunlight to this darkness hidden right under the surface in our state. If there are those who seek to permanently silence me and my children. To stop me from winning a seat in Congress. To drive my sons to despair. I will not yield. Let us draw the line and safeguard our people and our democracy.
We must not turn back the clock to a time of widespread vigilantism when groups like the KKK made a mockery of laws to protect us all. We cannot let radical, purist mythologies of Neo-Nazi and similar movements steer our country, wearing fresh robes for a new era. While people can believe what they like in America, and I will fight for that right, I will not stand by to watch as our government falls so far from democracy that George Orwell's books seem like a quaint understatement. No Big Brother. No 'Just trust us', while we pull the rug out from under half the population. No, not on my watch. I will keep my eye on the needs of our people in Vermont and America through the distractions. I am undaunted. I persist because I'm needed and have the skills, experience, and understanding to truly make lasting and positive difference for you. For our state. For our country. For all of us.
Leaders in their own right, my children, Miles and Theo, inspire me with their resilience, finding ways to withstand this storm, even when friends and trusted adults are lost and become dangerous in a violent, cultlike movement. My sons stand up again and again, even when others would push them to the ground, and seek to learn, help, and pursue their passions. My political logo comes from work they both designed- full of sunshine, hope, and healing of the earth. I celebrate that both just graduated from high school early, each earning various local, state, regional and national honors, from National Merit Scholar honors, to representing Vermont in youth leadership conferences, to both demonstrating some of the highest levels of math proficiency in the state, year after year. I say their names, * Miles * * Theo *, because I love them and they are shining stars whose lights this aggressive movement wants to dim. I stand up to run so that all our children - yours, mind, people we have not met, and those who have not arrived in this world - all have deep and meaningful learning experiences as they grow, free from adult cares and violence. I see the children are our hope and our future.
Bringing Life Lessons into Leadership
Now, in this moment, I pull upon both professional and personal lessons. They help me analyze not just whether but how government and society fail so many who live in Vermont and America. I see that we cannot allow any part of governments to police themselves. We must not hand over the reigns to blindly trust, but engage in the asking of questions and the building of solutions. In Vermont and across the country there is a desperate need to strengthen our democracy's checks and balances. So, I come to you as a veteran of our domestic wars, neither bought nor bullied.
This July 4th, I realized it was time to stand up and run for U.S. Congress. I cannot stand by and let the clock turn back 150 years. I do not fear the kinds of things politicians fear, and am ready to bring smarts and bold, courageous leadership to the work. These historic times call for leaders who heal rather than divide or pull the wool over American eyes. I bring the skills and heart to care, to fight and to figure for you, and to hold high all of our rights. I am ready to fight for the social compact and the accountability that can protect the people, calm the storm and heal the American heart.
My name is Dawn Ellis. I ask for your vote to look carefully, come to you, lead bravely, and listen to the ideas and lived experiences of the people of our state, as I serve Vermont as its first female U.S. Senator in Congress.
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** EDITOR NOTE: If something reads oddly here, you may be reading a hacker's words- a replaced word, added misspelling, strange edits, there are likely not Dawn's. While we read about things like Russian interference with American elections on Facebook, precious little is done to stop interference. Vote for Dawn to protect our democracy and ensure it is for all of us- including the right to vote, speak your mind freely, and run for office.
Peaches ripen in the tiny orchard in Dawn's urban permaculture spot in Burlington, VT
Copyright © 2022 Dawn Ellis for Vermont - All Rights Reserved.
Paid for by Dawn Ellis for Vermont, P.O. Box 631, Burlington, VT 05402. D. Ellis, Treasurer
NOV 27, 2022
I'm Dawn Ellis,
Welcome to our campaign to strengthen People, Protections, Possibilities, and our Planet. I'm planning to run for U.S. Senate and ask for your support.
Thanks to all who participated in the 2022 election - voters, candidates, poll workers, and more - you make democracy stronger. I'll stand up for you and speak truth to power, even in the face of increasing death threats and violence. There is simply too much at stake.
I look forrward to meeting you in the months ahead. I'll reflect on wisdom and my observations here from time to time. Happy Holiday season to all.