|The Girl Next Door:
North Star Monthly - September 2004
respected public administrator to baker extraordinaire, Jane (Beattie)
Kitchel is, the woman you turn to if you've got a problem or a sweet tooth.
Her years of experience in
government and interest in the well-being of Vermonters puts her in the
front running for state senate; representing the district of Caledonia-Orange.
In November, Kitchel hopes to win one of the seats currently occupied
by Republican incumbent; senators Julius Canns and Bernier. Mayo.
Kitchel makes her home in
Raised on a
Public life is a family trait.
In the '60s, Kitchel's mother Catherine Beattie served in the state legislature;
father Harold was a selectman in town; and her aunt, Alice Hafner, worked
in child welfare. ìPublic service is in our blood," says Kitchel.
She recently retired as secretary of human services after 35 years
with the state agency.
Kitchef worked her way to
the executive branch of state government, taking appointed positions under
Governors Snelling, Kunin and Dean. Though she is still a small
town girl, her roots connect to a statewide web of agencies and policy
makers. She moves easily between worlds, fluent in the language
of farmers, business owners and lawmakers.
Kitchel's political interest
blossomed in her teens. In high school, she worked on Philip Hoff's
campaign for governor and attended President Kennedy's inauguration in
Kitchel graduated with a degree
in history from a women's Presbyterian college in
Those who know her say Kitchel's
not one to talk about her contributions. But, whether it's organizing
fundraisers for the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium; cooking the Easter
Breakfast at her church; or stocking the salad bar at the Danville Fair
with vegetables from her garden, the community at large benefits.
She is an advocate for keeping
smaller schools intact and functioning as an integral part of the community.
ìSchools bring the generations together," she says, "and people
genuinely take pride in the kids and their success. But schools
don't exist in a vacuum. It takes group effort to make students
feel included and valued in the community with sponsored activities after
school and recreational programs.
It's worth investing in kids
by sharing time with them and showing we care. Supportive communities
foster successful people, but we still have a lot of work to do with our
youth," Kitchel says.
As secretary of the
Under Governor Dean, Kitchel
worked on healthcare initiatives targeting children, underinsured adults
and seniors. She designed the plan to overhaul the agency of human services.
In addition, Kitchel is credited with reforming
An issue closest to her heart,
is affordable health coverage for all and the availability services that
would allow seniors and people with disabilities to stay at home and in
their communities. Kitchel remembers the communal effort it took
to keep her father at home, and she understands the need to provide services
for caregivers so more seniors can maintain their independence and age
Kitchel and her campaign canine,
Sally, continue their upbeat, energetic pace by getting out and meeting
people. My goal is to meet as many voters as possible. Iím
doing my best, but this district does present a challenge by the shear
size of it.
With lawn signs popping up
like mushrooms and momentum building toward November, Kitchelís spirits
are high, and her sentiments straightforward: ìGood luck to all,
and may the best man (or woman) win."
óSource: The North Star Monthly. September 2004, Vol. 16, Number 5. Page 15.