News

Rep. Mari Cordes given environmental award

February 13, 2020

Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV) has presented this year’s Environmental Rising Star Award to Rep. Mari Cordes, D-Lincoln, and two other first-term legislators who have become leaders on environmental issues: Rep. Kathleen James, D-Manchester Center, and Sen. Andrew Perchlik, D/P-Montpelier....Rep. Cordes is a registered nurse and labor negotiator, and has volunteered extensively in her community and abroad — including offering medical care for Vermonters after Tropical Storm Irene, in Haiti after a devastating earthquake, and for refugees fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. She also works locally with organizations including 350VT and Rights & Democracy.

Cordes completed her degree in Natural Resource Economics, Management and Policy. She chose her home in Vermont because of its beauty, the ability to live close to the land and a strong commitment to community. Having raised her family on their organic vegetable farm, she now lives with her husband off the grid in Lincoln.

Since being elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 2018, VCV says Cordes has stepped up to become a leader on the legislative Climate Solutions Caucus, helping the team build and execute strategies for connecting with more Vermonters all over the state about climate solutions. This includes ambitious efforts this past fall that resulted in reaching over 1,000 Vermonters at climate events in communities around the state.

“Rep. Cordes has brought her years of organizing experience and expertise at getting hard things done to the Statehouse, and that’s why she earned this year’s VCV Environmental Rising Star Award,” said VCV Executive Director Lauren Hierl. “We’re looking forward to seeing what she accomplishes next.”

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Final Reading: State revenue issues loom ahead, minimum wage negotiations to start next week

January 17, 2020
 – 
Grace Elletson and John Walters

— Rep. Mari Cordes, D-Lincoln, spent part of the Christmas season in a refugee camp on the U.S.-Mexico border. Cordes, a registered nurse, provided volunteer medical support for people seeking asylum in the U.S.

Conditions in the camp are primitive, she said, with refugees living in tents with minimal supplies of food, water and sanitation. Cordes has previously volunteered in disaster zones and refugee camps in the U.S., Haiti, Africa and Europe. - John Walters

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Conservation Commission supports Glyphosate (RoundUP) ban

January 16, 2020
 – 
Manchester Conservation Commission

Glyphosate, the herbicide better known as Monsanto's Roundup, has been identified in recent scientific studies as a human carcinogen and toxic to environmental ecosystems. It is widely used in Vermont. Manchester's Conservation Commission supports a statewide ban on glyphosate and glyphosate-based pesticides as set forth in Vermont House bill H.301 sponsored by Representative Mari Cordes.

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Asylum Seekers Receive Grassroots Aid Along the Border in Mexico

Jan. 13, 2020
 – 
Tracy Barnett, YES!

Staff from GRM’s 750-member network of health care providers come down for a week or two to lend a hand. They include people such as Mari Cordes, a veteran nurse and Vermont state legislator who used the holiday break to serve.

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The Seeds of Rural Progressivism

Fall 2019
 – 
Kate Logan and Shay Totten

...she was able to draw on relationships she had built in the community as a neighbor, nurse, and union leader over nearly as long a period. Bringing a grassroots approach to electoral campaigning—in part by inviting community members to come together and talk about the changes they wanted to see in the district and state during regular listening sessions she organized throughout the campaign...

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Climate Change Activists Disrupt Vt. Legislature, Demand Action

May 16, 2019
 – 
Jack Thurston

A close ally of climate change activists in the House, Rep. Mari Cordes, D/P-Addison 4, said while she passionately supports climate justice, the wide variety of priorities among Democrats and a need to represent all Vermonters simply meant not every initiative could advance this session.

“I share their frustrations,” Cordes said.

Still, Cordes promised she and colleagues focused on climate change legislation will continue working in the Vermont Legislature’s off-season.

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Vt. general store gives community closure ultimatum

March 7th, 2019
 – 
Christina Guessferd, WCAX

When news of the potential closure reached state reps, Alderman says they immediately called and asked, 'what can we do to help?' Now, they're working together to keep the store's doors open, and its legacy alive.

"I was definitely dismayed, but not surprised. We're in the era of chain stores, Blue Apron and Amazon," said Rep. Mari Cordes, D/P-Lincoln. Cordes spoke to the Commissioner of the Tax Department and Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman Thursday. She says they all agreed it's in everybody's best interest to keep country stores like Monkton General afloat. "Like schools, I think general stores are the heart of the community. Having village central areas and economic hubs, I think, are critical to that so that people can get their needs locally and not be driving long distances to purchase things."

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Addison County Candidate Forum - Full Video

October 17, 2018
 – 
Northeast Addison Television (NEAT)

6 Candidates for Addison4 Vt Senate, 2 seats open. 4 Candidates for Addison4 Vt House, 2 seats open. 1 Candidate unopposed Addison5 Vt House

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Letter to the editor: Cordes, Elder make very good team

October 25, 2018
 – 
Rob Demic

We of Bristol, Lincoln, Starksboro, and Monkton could not be better represented, and it is with admiration from me, who ran against them this primary, that I ask you to support them. The State House will run better if they are in there to help.

Vermont takes up #WomenDisobey protest in solidarity with action in Washington D.C.

June 28, 2018
 – 
Joel Banner Baird and Emilie Teresa Stigliani

We are calling for all women to join us for a mass civil disobedience in DC on Thursday, 6/28, to demand this administration stop criminalizing undocumented immigrants and tearing children away from their parents.#WomenDisobey to #EndFamilyDetention http://endfamilyseparation.us

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Cordes Campaign Announces Multiple Endorsements

June 25, 2018
 – 
Kate Bailey

LINCOLN, VT — Mari Cordes, Democratic candidate for the Vermont House in Addison-4, has received endorsements from several individuals and organizations, including David Zuckerman, Bill McKibben, the VSEA, and Rights & Democracy.

“I’ve dedicated my life to the causes these people and organizations represent, and it’s an honor for my campaign to be recognized in this way,” said Cordes.

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This is what Democracy Looks Like

12/20/2017
 – 
Allison Berkowitz

"Mari Cordes in town from Vermont, said that she makes sure to let her nursing board know ahead of time when she plans to participate in “CD” so it won’t interfere with her licensing. When asked whether or not helping professionals should be protesting this way, she said, “I think this is one of the most healing things a nursing practitioner can do.” I am sure there are many other ways Ms. Cordes would have preferred to use her time. She’s a mother, grandmother, and full time Nurse back in Vermont. But she felt compelled to be here."

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Elizabeth Deutsch & Mari Cordes: Patients Will Pay

December 5, 2017
 – 
Commentary

"Instead of slashing health care to cover the cost of massive tax cuts for the wealthy, elected leaders should listen to their constituents and work to expand access to health care so that every American can get the care they need, when they need it."

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Panel Convenes to Review Racial Disparities in Vermont

August 30, 2017
 – 
Pat Bradley, WAMC Northeast Public Radio

"... Mari Cordes says she has witnessed racial discrimination in the health care system and says all institutions, whether they are public or private, need to take a hard look at the issue. “Many of us are taking a hard look at our bias. Many people are still not. So I think what’s transferable is for institutions to have the courage to admit that it exists within them personally individually and within the organization and then take strong steps to establish processes and systems that will address it.”

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Emboldened Fight for Health Care as a Right: A conversation with Mari Cordes

August 4, 2017
 – 
Sarah Jaffe

WELCOME TO INTERVIEWS FOR RESISTANCE. Since election night 2016, the streets of the U.S. have rung with resistance. People all over the country have woken up with the conviction that they must do something to fight inequality in all its forms. But many are wondering what it is they can do. In this series, we’ll be talking with experienced organizers, troublemakers, and thinkers who have been doing the hard work of fighting for a long time. They’ll be sharing their insights on what works, what doesn’t, and what has changed, and what is still the same.

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Heroism 2.0: Vermonters on the Front Lines of Health Care Debate

August 2, 2017
 – 
John Walters, Seven Days

As the American Civil Liberties Union's Twitter feed put it, "Senators Collins, McCain and Murkowski deserve gratitude — but the real heroes are the millions of Americans who showed us what democracy looks like."

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Now That Skinny Repeal is Squashed, What's Next for Health Care?

August 1, 2017
 – 
Sarah Jaffe, BillMoyers.com

Mari Cordes talks about the organizing she did against the health care bill and why it's important that activists keep fighting for the health care we need.

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These Candidates Are Challenging The Status Quo In Their States This Election

10/31/2016
 – 
Emily Tate

"Inspired by the work of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Cordes, a 57-year-old grandmother and registered nurse, is seeking public office after decades of advocating for individuals and families.

In her state, she has helped secure paid sick leave, pass anti-discrimination legislation for transgender people and expose systemic racism. She has also provided medical and disaster relief to earthquake survivors in Haiti and refugees passing through Greece. Cordes believes it’s our responsibility to help anyone who is negatively impacted by U.S. policy, including Syrian refugees and communities affected by the climate crisis.

It takes ordinary people like us, like me, fighting like hell for a world that works for everyone and not just a few."

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After Bernie: Will "Our Revolution" Deliver on Its Promise of "Political Revolution"?

October 25, 2016
 – 
Michael Corcoran, Truthout

When Our Revolution -- the new organization founded by Sen. Bernie Sanders -- kicked off in Burlington, Vermont, a nurse and long-time union organizer, Mari Cordes, introduced the iconic senator in front of the many thousands watching across the country. While Cordes is a major advocate for social change in Vermont, she is not a national figure. But some might call her a pioneer whose story may be the epitome of the kind of "political revolution" that Sanders says is "just getting started."

Cordes is among several Vermont progressives, many of whom have worked with Sanders in the past, who have already had success in winning down-ticket primaries this year against what Cordes described in an interview with Truthout as "the Democratic establishment in Vermont." She was endorsed personally by Bernie Sanders in her successful primary challenge for a seat in Vermont's House of Representatives, against an incumbent Democrat. Since then, she has been among the first candidates endorsed by Our Revolution. She was also endorsed by Rights and Democracy (RAD), a Vermont-based group she helped found, which has similar goals as Our Revolution, emphasizing down-ticket races at the local level.

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Mari Cordes Receives National Recognition

October 19, 2016
 – 
Press Release

Mari Cordes, who is running for the Vermont House of Representatives in Addison-4, was named to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s 2016 Power List, which recognizes rising political stars from across the country.

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People's Action Endorses 22 Candidates with the Values and Vision to Build the Progressive Political Revolution

October 18, 2016
 – 
Jacob Swenson-Lengyel

People’s Action, a national organization of more than a million people, is endorsing 22 candidates around the country. The candidates exemplify the leadership qualities, values and vision necessary to build a strong future for everyone – not just the wealthy few.

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Susan Borg and Richard Nessen from Lincoln, Vermont: "She's going to be a very, very strong Representative"

October 11, 2016

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Catch Mari on Bernie's livestream!

August 24, 2016
 – 
Alison

“Change never takes place from the top down, it always takes place from the bottom up.”

- Senator Bernie Sanders

This past Wednesday night, surrounded by fellow progressive candidates, Bill McKibben, and a standing-room-only crowd, I had the honor of introducing Senator Bernie Sanders at his national broadcast launching the organization Our Revolution. It was a privilege to join Bernie in carrying the message that the people's movement sparked by his presidential candidacy has transformed this country’s political landscape. Today, meaningful progressive change can and will occur from our local school boards all the way to the halls of Congress!

Watch my speech following Bill McKibben’s introduction, and keep listening for Bernie’s full message.

Primary roundup: Turnout, Sanders, incumbent victories

August 10, 2016
 – 
Jess Aloe, April Burbank and Cory Dawson, Burlington Free Press

Vermonters went to the polls on Tuesday to choose nominees for governor, lieutenant governor, state senators and state representatives, and cast ballots on local issues.

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A New Path to Progressivism: An Interview with Vermont House Candidate Mari Cordes

August 1, 2016
 – 
Victoria Albert, In These Times

“I live with my husband and our small flock of quirky chickens on our off-the-grid homestead,” reads Mari Cordes’ campaign website.

But don’t be fooled by her humble words; Cordes is a powerhouse.

As president of the 2,000-member Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (VFNHP), Cordes successfully fought for paid sick leave, improved health care legislation, an end to insurance discrimination against transgendered patients and increased oversight of for-profit hospital buyouts, all while working 12-hour shifts as a cardiology RN.

In the wake of Bernie Sanders’ groundbreaking progressive campaign, Cordes has set her sights on something even bigger—the Vermont House of Representatives.

On August 9, the self-described progressive Democrat will make her first run for elected office, facing off against Stephen Pilcher and incumbent Dave Sharpe in the Democratic primary.

Vermont is one of the few states with a precedent of progressive leadership. Not only have third-party progressive candidates won seats in the state House and Senate, but Sanders also hails from the Green Mountain State. Riding the wave of political optimism created by his campaign, candidates like Cordes are working to ensure that the senator’s progressive legacy will live on in local government.

Her work has earned her the endorsements of the Vermont AFL-CIO, the Vermont National Educators Association and the Vermont State Employees’ Association.

In These Times recently connected with Cordes by phone to discuss her past, present and future as a political leader.

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Dunne unveils plan to overhaul Vermont's Healthcare System

June 30, 2016
 – 
Vermont Business Magazine

Cordes quoted: “Matt and I agree that healthcare is a human right. I’ve been a registered nurse in Vermont since 1988, and I’ve witnessed firsthand how a political system hijacked by private, corporate interests has an impact on the health and well-being of Vermonters,” said Mari Cordes, RN VA-BC, and former President of the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. “Matt has a plan to help turn this around, starting with a system of publicly funded universal primary care. He’s also right to prioritize community health programs. Our current system is broken, and we need a new approach to turn it around. I have confidence in Matt’s plan to put us back on track and implement policies that will improve access to high quality care for all Vermonters.”

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Paid Sick Leave Policies are Good for All

December 16, 2013
 – 
Mari Cordes

Proud to be part of a coalition that made this into law this year! "We are living in a remarkable period of time when policy, resources and protections have shifted dramatically toward large businesses and away from people, with a continuing and disturbing trend of deteriorating standards for the lowest paid workers while the wealth and opportunities of very few are flourishing. All this while evidence grows that paid sick leave policies work and support both people and business."

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Vermont Advocates Continue to Push for Single Payer Health

December 3, 2015
 – 
Lisa Rathke, Times Argus

A survey of the 3,000-member Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals showed overwhelming support for singer payer, said Mari Cordes, a nurse member of the union.

Health care providers want anyone who needs medical attention to get it as early as possible, she said, with no barriers to accessing care when their condition worsens or becomes life-threatening and costlier to treat.

“Get the insurance companies out of our exam rooms and get our hard-earned money out of administrative waste and exorbitant CEO compensation,” Cordes said. “A universal publicly funded health care system is the only way to do that.”

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Labor for Bernie Letter for Mari

May 26, 2016
 – 
Labor for Bernie

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

We are writing on behalf of Mari Cordes, a working nurse in Burlington, Vermont and past president of the 2,000-member AFT-affiliated RN union at UVM Medical Center.

.... She was instrumental in securing her state federation’s support for [Bernie Sanders] campaign and joined other members in lobbying the American Federation of Teachers to back Bernie’s presidential bid.

Mari is now running for office herself, as part of the surge of interest in local progressive politics generated by Bernie’s national campaign. She is running for the Vermont State House of Representatives from the Addison-4 District (the towns of Lincoln, Starksboro, Monkton, and Bristol).

She is campaigning, in part, based on her past labor-related work as a statewide leader of the Vermont Progressive Party and [activist] member of the Vermont Workers Center. She has been one of Vermont’s leading advocates for single-payer health care, workers' rights, and other causes, including environmental protection. (She is treasurer of the 350.org Vermont board.)

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Vermont Orders Insurance Companies to End Transgender Exclusions

Transgender Law Center

Mari Cordes co-led the Equal Care Coalition that won this: "Transgender Law Center congratulates the state of Vermont today, as it becomes the fourth state (and DC!) to order insurance companies to end their practice of excluding medically necessary care for transgender people."

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Vermont’s Voice For Nurses–and All of Us!

June 16, 2016
 – 
Suzanne Gordon

On this site in the past, I’ve tried to highlight the work of nurses who have taken their patient advocacy into the arena of public policy making and electoral politics.

Mari Cordes, a nurse of twenty-eight years, the last sixteen at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, has done both. After tireless campaigning for single payer health care in the Green Mountain State and for safer nurse-patient staffing ratios in her own hospital, Mari has become a candidate for the state legislature.

Before taking this plunge into local politics, Mari served as president of a 2,000-member nurses union, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. In that capacity, she both represented her co-workers in contract negotiations and day-to-day grievance handling and served as a constant presence in Montpelier, the Vermont state capitol. There, she helped draft bills and organize community support for paid sick leave, an end to health insurance plan discrimination against transgendered patients, and better regulatory oversight when local hospitals are sold to for-profit operators.

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