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Democrats elect Lawrence as county committee chair

First woman of color to chair local party is first-generation American

On Oct. 18 at their county caucus, the Windham County Democrats elected Angela Lawrence of Dummerston as their new county chair.

Lawrence, a first-generation Vermonter and a first-generation American, came to the United States 20 years ago from Kenya and grew up in Brockton, Mass. She is a Marine Corps veteran, having served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

She came to Brattleboro in 2013 and has recently moved with her family to Dummerston. She is married to a local carpenter and they have two young boys.

Since arriving in Vermont, Lawrence has been continuously engaged in serving and developing her community. She serves as the secretary of Dummerston’s Democratic committee. During the pandemic, she has distributed meals for Everyone Eats in Brattleboro and volunteered at Nicole’s Community Kitchen. She also served as a door-to-door data collector for the 2020 census.

She works for Groundworks Collaborative as an overnight shelter advocate in the Drop-In Center/Overnight Shelter.

Lawrence is an active member of Rights & Democracy and is part of the Catalyst Leadership Program coordinated by the Rutland Chapter of the NAACP.

Given her experiences in the community, she has been asked to testify before the Vermont House of Representatives’ General, Housing, & Military Affairs Committee. Her goal is to finish law school and serve as a magistrate.

Lawrence said that when she was asked to consider running for county committee chair, she immediately accepted the opportunity.

“When I was approached about the position, I was surprised and shocked to be considered,” she said in a news release. “Never in my wildest dreams would I think that this little girl — this woman, I should say — who immigrated to this country 20 years ago would be in this position as the first woman of color to be chair.”

Lawrence said she accepted the nomination “because I want to better understand the needs of our community and how we can use the political processes to meet those needs.”

“I have experienced adversity and I strive to give a voice to those who feel silenced,” she said. “I am here to listen, learn, and provide a fresh perspective to the county committee and the Vermont Democratic Party.”

She said she also hopes to run for office soon.

“As I serve as the chair, I will be seeking advice from community members on how we can change our narratives to invite more participation and perspective from the BIPOC, disabled, elderly, veteran, and LGBTQIA+ communities,” Lawrence said. “An important reason for why I took this position is to focus on supporting Democratic candidates who are going to be running in local, statewide and federal elections in 2022.”

Lawrence succeeds John Hagen of Guilford, who has been county chair for the past three years.

“I have loved serving as county chair,” Hagen said. “It has been a privilege working with amazing people from across the county, and I am very excited to be passing on the chair to Angela, who brings so many new ideas and fresh perspective to the county committee.”

While Hagen and his family will be moving from the area, he said he looks forward to working with Lawrence and the county committee until his departure.

In accordance with state law, the town and county committees of Windham County have been reorganizing since September. Voters who support Democratic candidates and positions are still invited to join their town or county committee.

Interested voters can get more information about the Democratic Party in their town at the county committee’s webpage, windhamcountyvtdemocrats.org.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #636 (Wednesday, October 27, 2021). This story appeared on page A6.

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