JESSICA Edgerly Walsh
Favorite Part of Job? For me the crisis of global climate change, and how to treat it, is one of few issues that will define our generation. Every day, I work as part of a team that identifies and drives market solutions, to ensure our state remains a leader in transitioning to a clean energy economy. It's innovative, fast-paced, meaningful, and fun.
Most Inspiring Mentor: Alyssa Schuren hired me out of college and guided me as I launched my career. I could not have asked for a stronger example of adept, insightful, patient staff management and training.
Favorite Vermont Escape: Walking through Montpelier's Hubbard Park on a crisp, cold night, under a clear sky, just after fresh snow has fallen is a favorite winter escape from cabin fever.
Favorite Downtime Activity: Soccer seasons have marked my calendar since I was a little girl. Now, with a little one at home, evening soccer games are not only good fun, but now offer needed adult time.
Favorite Social Media: Facebook is my go-to for crowd-sourced news and social updates. I still remember when Facebook arrived on my college campus junior year!
Person you would like to share a Vermont beverage with: Desmond Tutu. The work of overcoming hurt and animosity to rebuild trust and community is the most challenging, tireless work I could imagine. Not only did Desmond Tutu have the guts to lift up reconciliation as a core tool in dismantling apartheid, but his efforts met with enormous success.
Career Highlights: I started my career at Toxics Action Center, working with Vermont communities challenged by local pollution issues. The work was both enormously challenging and enormously fulfilling, and so filled with highlights. The day International Paper announced it would stop burning tires as fuel in Ticonderoga or the day the Vermont legislature voted to close VT Yankee, those were some of the best days. At SunCommon, we've created different financing options, and launched different solar offerings - all aimed at helping more Vermonters go solar, easily and affordably. I'm proud of each step we've taken, finding clean energy solutions for more of our neighbors. We celebrated our 1000th solar installation a couple years ago and we're nearing our 2000th solar home now!
Community Involvement: National and state politics often take center stage in the media, while town leadership is rarely in the spotlight. But, impactful decisions are made at the town level.
Of the different community work I've been a part of, I'm most proud of what I've been able to achieve as a City Councilor. During my time on Council, we've created a comprehensive bike and ped plan, and funded its implementation. We've gotten a pubic transit center project off the ground, as well as a several mile extension of our bike path. We set a goal of achieving net zero by 2030, and we're well on our way. And we're on the verge of building 56 new housing units in our historic downtown through public-private partnerships.
I never imagined I'd have this much fun or find this much fulfillment diving into municipal business.