Deborah Markowitz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Deborah L. Markowitz
38th Vermont Secretary of State
In office
Preceded by James F. Milne
Succeeded by James Condos
Personal details
Born (1961-09-14) September 14, 1961 (age 55)
Tarrytown, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Paul Markowitz
Children Aviva, Sandra, Ari
Education B.A., University of Vermont; J.D., Georgetown University Law Center (Magna Cum Laude)
Profession Attorney
Religion Jewish

Deborah "Deb" Markowitz is the Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.[1] She was appointed by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin in 2011. She formerly served as the Secretary of State of Vermont. She is a member of the Democratic Party.[2]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Markowitz was born in Tarrytown, New York, on September 14, 1961. She attended Edgemont High School in Scarsdale, New York and graduated with honors from the University of Vermont, with a degree in philosophy and political science in 1983, and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1987, magna cum laude. As a law student at Georgetown, Markowitz did an oral history of then DC Circuit Court Judge, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and based on this work she published In Pursuit of Equality, One Women's Work to Change the Law, [3] and is considered a seminal work by legal scholars analyzing the development of women's rights in America and the important role of Justice Ginsburg.

After law school Markowitz returned to Vermont to clerk with Justice Louis Peck of the Vermont Supreme Court. Following this clerkship she joined the law firm Langrock, Sperry & Wool.[4] In 1990, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) established its Municipal Law Center, for which Markowitz was hired as its first director.[5] She has been a member of the adjunct faculty at the Vermont Law School and Woodbury College.

Markowitz was President of the National Association of Secretaries of State. She served on the Board of Advisors of the Federal Election Assistance Commission and she served on the boards of the Central Vermont Community Action Agency, the Vermont Girl Scout Council, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the Vermont Council on Rural Development.

Markowitz was first elected in 1998, defeating a two-term incumbent and becoming the first woman elected Secretary of State in the state. As Secretary of State Markowitz advocated for and implemented election reforms that increased early voting opportunities, making it easier to register to vote, building a statewide voter registration database, and upgrading voting equipment.[6] Markowitz also established the Safe at Home program; an address confidentiality program to protect victims of rape, abuse and stalking from being tracked down through the state's public records.[citation needed] She consolidated the state Archives with the state records department.[citation needed] She built a State Archive and Record Center facility.[citation needed] Markowitz published the Opinions Newsletter for Vermont's local officials wherein she issued opinions on municipal law and practice.[citation needed] She wrote a dozen handbooks on topics of municipal law and practice.[citation needed] Markowitz established the Vermont Public Service Award program to recognize local officials who served for 20 years or more.[citation needed] She founded Vermont Votes for Kids, and organization devoted to engage Vermont's youth in civic activity.[citation needed]

2010 Vermont gubernatorial election[edit]

Markowitz was a candidate in the 2010 Democratic primary for Vermont Governor. She placed third with 17,503 votes, behind the winner, Peter Shumlin, with 18,276 votes, and second-place Doug Racine, with 18,079 votes.[7] [8] Markowitz was appointed by Governor Shumlin to serve as his Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources.

Agency of Natural Resources[edit]

As Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Markowitz has primary responsibility for protecting Vermont’s environment, natural resources and wildlife and for maintaining Vermont’s forests and state parks. In this role she has shaped the environmental agenda of the state, focusing on the challenges of climate change, habitat fragmentation and the need to make Vermont more resilient to flooding. Secretary Markowitz serves as the Chair of Vermont’s Climate Cabinet and represented Vermont on the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. She serves on the Executive Board of the Environmental Council of the States and on the Boards of Advisors for the Georgetown Climate Center, Antioch’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, and for the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Markowitz is the founder of the Vermont Women’s Leadership Initiative and Vermont Parks Forever – the Foundation for Vermont’s State Parks. She has been recognized nationally for her leadership by being awarded an Aspen Institute Rodel fellowship [9] and the Kennedy School of Governments’ Cahn Fellowship.

Personal life[edit]

Markowitz resides in Montpelier, Vermont, with her husband and three children.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Vermont Civil Government 2007, Executive Branch" (PDF). Office of the Vermont Secretary of State. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  3. ^ 14 Womens Rts Law Rrtr p 335 (1992)
  4. ^ Langrock, Sperry & Wool
  5. ^ Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT)
  6. ^ Benson, Jocelyn F.,"State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process", Ashgate Publishing, 2010, p 82.
  7. ^ Remsen, Nancy (September 10, 2010). "With recount completed, Shumlin claims Democrat gubernatorial nomination at last". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved September 19, 2010. [permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Vermont Canvassing Committee (August 31, 2010). "Official Report of the Canvassing Committee, United States and Vermont Statewide Offices, Primary Election, August 24, 2010" (PDF). 
  9. ^ Aspen-Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
James F. Milne
Secretary of State of Vermont
Succeeded by
James C. Condos