Madeleine Kunin

Former Vermont governor Madeleine Kunin spoke at an event at Bridgeside Books in Waterbury last year. Kunin will receive a leadership award from the Vermont Natural Resources Council on Sept. 12 at Shelburne Farms.

Former Vermont governor Madeleine Kunin will receive this year’s Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership from the Vermont Natural Resources Council at its annual meeting Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms.

“We can thank Governor Kunin for much of what we enjoy in Vermont today,” said Brian Shupe, executive director of VNRC.

Kunin served as governor from 1985-1991, after serving as lieutenant governor from 1979-1983. During her tenure, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) was created, which promotes smart growth in Vermont, conserves farms and natural areas, and develops affordable housing. Kunin also established the Commission on Vermont’s Future and led Act 200, the effort that modernized land use planning in Vermont.

As founder and board member of the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), a global organization, Kunin is a famed advocate for climate solutions and environmental health. She is also a tireless champion for women in politics. After serving as the first woman governor of Vermont — and the first woman in the U.S. to serve three terms — Kunin launched Emerge Vermont to support Vermont women’s efforts to seek positions of political leadership.

“Governor Kunin deserves our thanks for many things, but even she will admit that creating a permanent funding source for affordable housing and Vermont’s lands is among her proudest and most enduring achievements,” said Bob Klein of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board in his nomination of Kunin. Klein is the former state director at The Nature Conservancy, and received the Arthur Gibb award in 2013.

“I knew Art Gibb, and he knew Madeleine Kunin. I think that Art would have been pleased to know that Governor Kunin might be honored in this way,” added Klein.

Gibb played a major role in passing key environmental and land use legislation, including banning billboards, enacting Vermont’s bottle deposit law, regulating junkyards and modernizing statutes governing local and regional planning.

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