“I want my daughters to see women in leadership positions, working for change in our community.”
Selene Colburn was born and raised in Burlington’s East District and brings decades of experience in leadership, advocacy, and policy development. She’s a librarian at the University of Vermont, an activist for social and economic justice, and a community servant who has helped shape the visions of local civic and non-profit boards. She currently represents Burlington’s Chittenden 6-4 district in the Vermont House of Representatives. Prior to that she served two terms as a Burlington City Councilor.
Vermont House of Representatives (2017 – present)
- House Judiciary Committee
- Judicial Retention Committee
- Clerk, Climate Solutions Caucus
- Campus Sexual Harm Task Force
As a Representative Selene:
- Co-sponsored bills in support of paid family leave, a $15 an hour minimum wage, free college tuition, and progressive education funding models.
- Was the lead sponsor of a bill to make single occupancy restrooms gender-free (H.333/Act 127).
- Successfully fought for expanded access to medication-assisted treatment for inmates struggling with opioid addiction.
- Worked to hold corporations accountable for deceptive and abusive contract terms for consumers and workers.
- Pushed for decriminalization of substance use disorder and greater access to harm reduction and treatment.
- Supported criminal justice reforms that save money, improve public safety outcomes, and increase restorative justice solutions.
Ward 1 & East District City Councilor (2014-2017)
- Chair, Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee
- Chair, Fossil Fuel Divestment Task Force
- Public Safety Committee member
- Parks, Arts and Culture Committee member
- Parallel Justice Commission member
- Chair, Needle Disposal Subcommittee
- Channel 17 (public access) liaison/board member
As a City Councilor Selene:
- Collaborated on a housing action plan to address affordability, homelessness, student housing, senior housing and more.
- Successfully advocated for Burlington’s police department to carry naloxone, a life-saving overdose reversal drug.
- Created a ban on harmful pesticides in city parks, to protect bees and other important pollinator species.
- Brought forward solutions to eliminate discarded needles found in the community.
- Secured councilor funds for Safe Recovery in Burlington’s FY 2016 budget and advocated for state legislative appropriations to keep the program running.
- Supported policies for pedestrian and bicycle safety and infrastructure.
- Participated in many initiatives to support and improve neighborhood quality of life.
- Provided consistent advocacy for fair working conditions and wages for adjunct educators, social workers and others.
Service to Burlington and Vermont
- Former trustee of the Burlington Library Commission
- Current board member, Cradle to Grave Arts
- Past board member, Vermont Access to Community Media
- Past board member, Grace Roots Art and Community Effort (GRACE)
- Parent volunteer at Edmunds Elementary School
- Former consultant to town clerks in municipalities around Vermont
- Local artist/educator for over 25 years
Working for economic and social justice
- Co-founder and past board chair, Vermont Access to Reproductive Freedom
- Longtime activist for women’s rights, healthcare and labor reforms, hunger relief, divestment from apartheid and fossil fuels and more.
Professional work and service
- Associate Library Professor and Assistant to Dean of Libraries at the University of Vermont, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Music and Dance.
- Member of the Vermont Library Association, former Chair of the Government Relations Committee and President of the College and Special Library section.
- Former faculty senator at UVM, and member of the Senate’s Curricular Affairs committee
- Active member of UVM’s faculty union, United Academics
Colburn has lived on Latham Ct. since 2008 with her husband, Chris Burns, and their two daughters. She spent much of her childhood in a family home at the corner of College and Willard streets. Her grandfather Francis Colburn was an artist and humorist who helped found the art department at UVM. Her grandmother, Gladys Colburn, taught for decades at Burlington High School and her mother, Lorrie Colburn, worked at the Fletcher Free Library for over 20 years.