BETHEL, Vt. – Rev. Kirk White has won a seat in the Vermont State House. White won with 56.4% of the vote and will join the Vermont General Assembly on January 6, 2021, the Wednesday following the first Monday at the state capitol of Montpelier.
He wrote on Facebook,
I am humbled and honored by all of the support shown for me throughout this campaign and yesterday.
I want to thank Wayne Townsend and Sheila Braun for running great campaigns and vow to listen to those voices who didn’t vote for me. At the end of the day, we are all neighbors and we can only solve our state’s and district’s challenges if we work together.
I look forward to representing our valley and working toward finding and implementing creative ways to build economically vibrant communities that people want to move to and our children want to stay in.
White’s journey began on May 15, 2020, announcing on his birthday that he was officially running for the Vermont House of Representatives.
White subsequently announced on his official site, “I am the Democrat/ Progressive candidate for the Vermont State Legislature representing the Windsor-Rutland district (Bethel, Rochester, Stockbridge, and Pittsfield).” The district is in south-central Vermont.
White competed for the district seat against two challengers: Independent candidate Sheila Braun (Rochester) and Republican candidate Wayne Townsend (Bethel).
White noted at the time the various challenges ahead stating that, “Campaigning and fundraising in the age of COVID is going to be especially challenging. No knocking on doors, shaking hands, or parades.”
He also understood the personal challenges facing his constituents in the pandemic. White told the Vermont Digger, “I had done a little fundraising, but I’ve basically stopped.” He added “My political aspirations are not a major consideration for people right now.”
Ele Griffin of Bethel wrote in support of White, “I support Kirk White because he wants to expand access to affordable childcare and early childhood education. I know he can employ creative solutions to the shrinking of our communities through workforce development and business incentives.”
Another resident Donna Bryan of Stockbridge wrote in Valley News “[White] has the ambition, knowledge and drive. He is a proven leader and master at getting things done to build stronger communities. He doesn’t back down from a challenge, as evidenced by his efforts in creating the Bethel Revitalization Initiative and the Bethel University.”
Bryan added “ One of his best attributes is his ability to listen to and understand people. Then he can develop ideas, and ideas are the basis for solutions. I have no doubt that he will apply the same ability as our representative.”
White also focused on the climate crisis during his campaign. He noted, “Every couple of years we get hit with another ‘100-year event’ that takes a toll on our infrastructures, businesses, residents, and taxes.”
He added “I will work proactively to find ways that our communities can individually and collectively build community resilience so that our communities are not devastated by increasingly common sever weather events and other tragedies such as fires and pandemics.”
White, 58, is an acupuncturist, and holds a master’s degree in mental health and addictions counseling and an honorary Doctor of Divinity. He helped found the Bethel Revitalization Initiative, a non-governmental “do-ocracy” that promotes “the growth and development of Bethel’s business community, its social organizations and activities, its cultural climate, and aesthetic assets in a mutually inclusive and beneficial manner.”
White is a Witch and author who has been very active and influential within the Pagan community. He founded the Wiccan Church of Vermont and served as National Public Information Officer and Co-National First Officer of the Covenant of the Goddess. White has also held positions in other organizations, including the Freemasons, Knights Templar, Rosicrucians, and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. White is also the founder and former President and Academic Dean of Cherry Hill Seminary as well as the Laurelin Retreat and Festival.
Pagans active in political life remain rare with only a handful of elected Pagan leaders around the US and Canada. Recently, Saskatchewan Liberals elected Robert Rudachyk as the interim leader of their party.
The Wild Hunt asked Rev. White about his victory, how he is doing today, and whether his spiritual practice was an obstacle.
He shared, “I have always said that being a deeply involved, effective member of your community is the best type of interfaith work there is. I have never been in the broom closet and a quick Google search – which many neighbors did – will tell you lots of things about me. And that was not a barrier to my election. Years of hard volunteer work pays off. I am humbled, honored, and overjoyed that my neighbors supported me.”