Representative Kathleen James was first elected in November 2018, and serves as clerk of the Education Committee. In March 2019, she was appointed to the board of delegates and legislative advisory council of the New England Board of Higher Education. In June 2020, she was named to the Select Committee on the Future of Public Higher Education in Vermont, charged with addressing the urgent needs of the Vermont State Colleges and developing a plan for high-quality, affordable and workforce-connected public higher education in the state.
Kathleen is also active in several caucuses, where she works across party lines and with Senate colleagues on shared priorities. She serves on the leadership team of the Vermont Legislative Climate Solutions Caucus and in 2019 won the Vermont Conservation Voter’s Rising Star Award with two other legislators. She’s a founding member of the Tourism Caucus, an active member of the Rural Economic Development Working Group, and a member of the Social Equity Caucus. In November 2019, she worked with volunteers to found the Southern Vermont Communications Union District (SoVT CUD), named one of 12 Vital Projects for the regional economy for its efforts to bring high-speed broadband to Bennington County’s underserved roads and regions.
Born in Chicago and raised in Nebraska, Kathleen earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She worked as a Capitol Hill reporter for Roll Call, a reporter-researcher for TIME, and a senior editor for Snow Country before settling in Manchester in 1996. She has since worked as director of admissions at Southern Vermont College, editor-in-chief of Vermont Magazine, and communications director and grantwriter at The BOMA Project. From 2010 to 2020, she also worked for the nonprofit International Skiing History Association (ISHA), serving as editor of its bimonthly journal, Skiing History, and for several years leading the organization as its executive director.
Kathleen has served on the boards of Manchester Elementary Middle School (MEMS), Zion Preschool, Northshire Community Foundation, Friends of MEMS and the Manchester School Fund. She is past chair of the Town of Manchester Democrats and a Class of 2018 graduate of Emerge Vermont.
Her wife, Alexandra Heintz, is the patient safety officer at Southwestern Vermont Health Care. Her older daughter lives in Chicago and her younger daughter is a college senior.