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Kesha Ram (NR '08) was piecing together her career well before she graduated from UVM. While juggling a dual degree in Natural Resources and Political Science, her senior thesis research to help mold an environmental justice bill in Vermont, and the presidency of UVM's Student Government Association (SGA), she was running for the office of representative to the Vermont state legislature. She won her seat in the November 2008 elections and is currently the youngest state legislator in the country.
"While at UVM, I received a really good background in natural resource science and the function of policy in natural resources and am able to contribute an environmental perspective in the legislature," states Kesha. Her focus in the legislature has been on promotion of high-tech, green industries such as green building, alternative energy and transportation, bio-fuels, and materials recovery and recycling that are attractive to young Vermonters. She aspires to ensure that Vermont is a thriving state full of higher education and job opportunities to support its young people.
Kesha is now in her third term in the Vermont legislature. She spent three years as the clerk of the General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee and is now in her second year on the Ways & Means Committee, overseeing all tax policy and revenue generation in the state. During her tenure so far, she has spearheaded a broad mix of social, economic, and environmental issues from promoting affordable housing and green building to funding alternative energy testing by the Vermont National Guard to strengthening local Abenaki tribal recognition for burial protection and authentic craft designation.
The Vermont legislative session runs from January to May and, when not in session, Kesha is the Public Engagement Specialist for Burlington's Community and Economic Development Office. With half the year spent working face-to-face with her constituents, Kesha finds that it informs her perspective about the daily lives of her constituents which she can bring with her to the Statehouse during the other half of the year. "It's been an exciting, rewarding, and humbling experience," admits Kesha, and she is excited for what lies ahead.