After 22 years in the Vermont Legislature, Washington-7 Representative Maxine Grad, Moretown, has decided to retire. “It just felt like time,” she said, noting that being in leadership has meant long and sometimes unpredictable hours and she’s looking for more flexibility for her family. Her term will be up in January 2023.
Grad, who has a background as an attorney, has served on the House Judiciary Committee since she began her work in the House, and has been the chair of that committee since 2015, after many years as the vice chair under both Republican and Democratic leadership. During that time, she worked on legislation to protect victims of sexual and domestic violence, including child sex abuse, updating stalking laws to include internet and other forms of electronic stalking, and protecting against human trafficking, which she said has worsened significantly as a result of the opioid crisis in recent years.
She also noted a significant increase in crimes against children during the pandemic. She has done considerable work in the areas of social justice and reproductive rights, including access to reproductive health care. Additionally, she noted she has done a fair amount of work for military families, such as allowing remote custody hearings for military families and helping establish the Vermont section of the purple heart trail, which travels Route 2. “That was really meaningful,” she said.
“I was there and part of landmark legislation,” such as marriage equality, she said. She has worked to increase access to adoption records for adult adoptees. “I hope that will bring some healing,” she said. She also played a part in eliminating the “panic defense” in crimes committed against LGBTQ+ folks, noting that the defendant in Fern Feather’s recent murder tried to use such a defense. She also worked to ban texting and the use of handheld devices while operating motor vehicles and to decriminalize and legalize marijuana.
Grad noted her work in Tropical Storm Irene relief and COVID-19 relief. “Moretown was hit so hard” by the Tropical Storm Irene, she said, adding that her pandemic work has been more direct service than much of her previous work, working directly with citizens to navigate grants and other forms of relief.
When Grad was first elected in 2001, she served the district that included Northfield, Roxbury and Moretown, before her area was redistricted about 10 years ago to include Moretown, Waitsfield, Warren, Fayston and Duxbury.
“It’s been an incredible honor and privilege,” Grad said. “Learning about so many different things was so enriching. My constituents taught me what people’s interests and needs are. I want to stay connected with my community. I’m not going away.”