Diane Snelling has served as a Vermont State Senator for 14 years. She is one of six Senators that represent Chittenden County, the largest District in a small state of 650,000. Senator Snelling has earned a reputation for being informed, non-partisan, and focused on creating good public policy.
She has distinguished herself in diverse policy areas including, accountability, mental health and substance abuse treatment and recovery, the environment, planning, and water quality, A thoughtful legislator, Diane believes in the process of democracy. An effective communicator, especially in the difficult arena of public policy, her ability to share ideas and find common sense solutions, makes her a valued team member. She serves on the Appropriations Committee and the Natural Resources and Energy Committee(Vice Chair). In addition, Diane serves on the, Joint Fiscal Committee, the Government Accountability Committee, (Co-Chair), the Legislative Committee for Administrative Rules, and the Corrections Oversight Committee.
A leader in Vermont’s efforts to achieve better outcomes, Diane worked with colleagues in 2008 to create a committee dedicated to understanding and tracking data to achieve accountability.The Government Accountability Committee has been the focus of support for using RBA in the legislature, and in collaboration with the executive branch and community partners. RBA found an early home in Vermont, in the 1990s, when Mark Friedman worked with Con Hogan, the Secretary of Human Services, to create outcomes for the Agency.
In 2009/2010, Senator Snelling, as Chair of the Government Accountability Committee, worked with consultants, to lead a process of bi-partisan, bi-branch education and support of the need for measurable results. Legislation passed that tried to establish a basis for agreement between the Legislature and the Governor. Ultimately, the efforts faltered because the language lacked the clarity of RBA, and the performance measures became punitive. The Committee persevered and continued to advocate for a system of accountability.
In May, 2014, S-293, groundbreaking legislation, was signed into law by Governor Shumlin. The law puts RBA’s approach to accountability into state law. The listed outcomes will be refined through ongoing stakeholder conversations. A process is defined to develop agreement on indicators. Senator Snelling was the lead sponsor, and facilitator of the efforts that involved significant contributions from diverse leaders in the legislature, Governor’s office, Agency of Human Services, non-profits and the funding community. The success of the legislation was greatly enhanced by the RBA work with non-profits, and the programs of Marlboro College, Better Benchmarks Vermont, and Common Good Vermont.
A “local”, Diane grew up in Shelburne, Vermont, a part of the District she now represents. In 1976, her father, Richard A. Snelling, was elected Governor of Vermont and served four consecutive terms. In 1990 he ran again for Governor and was elected to an historic fifth term. In 1991, while serving as Governor, he suddenly died. Howard Dean, the Lt. Governor, became Governor. In 1992, Diane’s mother, Barbara W. Snelling, was elected Lieutenant Governor, and she served two terms. In January, 2002, Barbara Snelling was serving in the Senate and had to resign due to illness. Governor Dean appointed Diane to complete her mother’s term. She was elected in November 2002, and re-elected in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012.
Prior to serving in the Senate, Diane worked in NYC and Vermont, in Marketing and Advertising as a Designer, Art Director, and Account Executive.
She has participated on many Community Boards and is currently a Board member for, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Richard A. and Barbara W. Snelling Center for Government and serves as Chair of the Vermont State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Diane graduated from Harvard University in 1974, with an A.B., magna cum laude, in Visual and Environmental Studies. She received her MA in Studio Art from New York University in 1994.
A lifelong painter/drawer/sculptor, Diane’s skills of observation, and sense of humor, inform all her activities.
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