MONTPELIER — Newly elected member Lauren Hierl will bring a social and environmental justice agenda to City Council when she takes her seat on Wednesday.
Hierl ran unopposed on Town Meeting Day and replaces former District 1 Councilor Rosie Krueger who stepped down after one term to allow for more personal time.
For the past five years, Hierl has been the executive director of Vermont Conservation Voters which works to make environmental protection a top priority for elected officials, candidates and voters. Her office is based within the Vermont Natural Resources Council in Montpelier.
Hierl previously worked for the Vermont Public Interest Group in Montpelier for two years, and in Washington D.C., for three years, running a campaign for the Alaska Wilderness League to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and for the National Audubon Society, also working on Alaskan conservation issues and education and outreach programs around the country. She has spent time in the Krueger National Park in South Africa, doing a research project on the impact of climate change on the savanna.
Hierl has lived in Vermont for the past eight years, seven of them in Montpelier. She chose to run for City Council because of its goals to address a variety of social and environmental issues.
“There’s a real opportunity for cities and states to chart a different path,” Hierl said. “The City of Montpelier is pursuing some really interesting policies, and I was excited to get involved in policies that helps everybody thrive.
“Some of the policies include climate change and clean water. I’m really excited by the city’s net-zero carbon emissions goals, and l want to look at how do we actually implement and achieve that,” she added.
Hierl is also interested in addressing economic inequality and racial justice in the city, calling the issues “huge challenges sweeping across the country.”
She also cited the “perennial problem” of affordable housing in the city, rural transportation needs and infrastructure upgrades for the city’s sewer and water lines as issues to address.
Mierl was born in Avon, Connecticut and graduated from Dartmouth College in 2001 with a degree in environmental studies and ecology, and she has two master’s degrees from Duke University in public policy and environmental management.
She is married to Shane Heath, a high school teacher in Northfield, and they have two children, Elias, 7, and Isaac, 4. She enjoys spending time with family, coaching her older son’s soccer team and playing soccer herself, and hiking, camping, travel and reading.