Deb Markowitz


Harvard University, Kennedy School, Senior Executives in State and Local Government – 2015
Georgetown University Law Center, Juris Doctor, Magna Cum Laude – 1987
University of Vermont, B.A., Philosophy and Political Science, with Honors – 1982


Director of Policy Outreach, University of Vermont Gund Institute of Environment, 2018 – Present

Build strong long-term relationships between the Gund Institute and strategic policy partners at the state, national, and global scales, so that Gund research findings and information can be used to advance understanding, advocacy, policies, and decisions.

Visiting Professor of Environmental Policy and Leadership, University of Vermont Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, 2017 – Present

Provide presentations to UVM faculty and students on environmental leadership, policymaking, equity and action, with a focus on the impact of the new federal administration on national and global efforts to address climate change, and on the intersection between science and environmental policy.

Climate Change Leadership Consultant, 2017 – Present

Assisting the Georgetown Climate Center on efforts to engage state and local government leaders around the country to advance greenhouse gas reduction strategies and to develop innovative approaches to building local resilience to climate change.

Secretary, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, 2011- 2017

Three-term appointment by Governor Peter Shumlin to serve in his Cabinet. Oversaw the operations of all departments of the agency, including managing a $104 million budget, over 600 employees, public communications and legislative and stakeholder relations. Led the agency during one of its most productive times in its history, expanding protections of air and water, supporting the deployment of renewable energy, investing in new state parks, and building resilience to climate change.

Selected Accomplishments
  • Advanced fair and consistent environmental standards grounded in science, developed with transparency and bipartisan stakeholder involvement.
  • Managed organizational change and implemented the LEAN program to engage staff to meet evolving public expectations more efficiently and creatively.
  • Led agency response and recovery after major environmental disasters and public health emergencies –Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, and widespread PFOA contamination of drinking water in 2016.
  • Represented Vermont on the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and on the Steering Committee of the Climate Group’s International States and Regional Alliance.
  • Represented Vermont on the board of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states.
  • Chaired the Governor’s Climate Cabinet, leading Vermont’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preparing Vermont for climate impacts.
  • Developed and implemented statewide strategic land conservation initiatives and significant new policies in response to growing threats to the health of Vermont’s forests.
  • Advanced significant new legislation to clean up Lake Champlain and to protect the water quality of Vermont’s lakes and ponds.
  • Expanded protections for threatened and endangered wildlife and plant species in Vermont.
  • Testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. “Cooperative Federalism: State Perspectives on EPA and the Role of States as Co-Regulators.” April 21, 2016.
  • Represented Vermont at sub-national meetings at the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris and at the 2016 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Morocco.

Vermont Secretary of State, 1999 – 2011

Elected by Vermont voters six times to serve as Vermont’s Secretary of State.  Twice nominated as a candidate of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Prominent national leader in elections, civics education, business services, government transparency and government innovation. Responsible for overseeing Vermont’s elections; ethics laws; corporate registration; professional licensing; public records and state archives and assisting municipalities in governance issues.

Selected Accomplishments
  • Modernized the business practices of the agency, including a transparent budget development process.
  • Instilled a customer-service culture that resulted in lower fees, elimination of unnecessary bureaucratic red tape and streamlined processes to help businesses and professionals get started and grow.
  • Oversaw the development and construction of a multi-million dollar, new State Archives facility.
  • Respected as one of the most knowledgeable resources in Vermont on legal and ethical issues for municipal officials. Wrote and published books and articles on municipal law and practice.
  • Enhanced Vermont’s election laws and administration through a series of legislative initiatives, investments in new technology and focus on voter outreach and education.
  • Testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Forces Committee – The status of military voting programs and the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) – September 28, 2006; the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration – Ballot Integrity Act of 2007– July 25, 2007; the U.S. House Committee on the Administration of Elections Subcommittee – Early Absentee Voting – October 16, 2007; and, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging – Impact of Aging Population on Election Administration – January 31, 2008.
  • Addressed the United Nations and European Union conference on International E-Participation and Local Democracy, Budapest, Hungary, July 2006.
  • Led a delegation of Secretary of States on an official visit to the Republic of China (Taiwan), to share information about the administration of free and fair elections.
  • Appointed to the Executive Committee and to the Standards Board of the United States Elections Assistance Commission.

Director, Vermont League of Cities and Towns Law Center, 1990 – 1997

Established a law center through the state’s municipal association to provide legal services to Vermont’s municipal officials. Led with an entrepreneurial approach and succeeded in making the program financially self-sustaining.  Lectured locally and nationally on municipal law issues; published academic articles and handbooks on topics of municipal law, land use law, personnel law and government ethics.

Associate Attorney, Langrock, Sperry, Parker & Wool, 1988 – 1990

General practice of law.  Represented corporate and individual clients with focus on appellate litigation, land use and permitting, business and corporate planning, estate planning and family law.  Admitted to practice in the State of Vermont and the Federal District Court.

 Vermont Supreme Court, Law Clerk, 1987 – 1988 

Served as a Judicial Law Clerk for Associate Justice Louis Peck of the Vermont Supreme Court.  Assisted in all aspects of his duties, including managing oral arguments and researching and drafting judicial opinions.


Founder and Secretary, Vermont Parks Forever, the Foundation for Vermont State Parks, 2012 – present

Established a 501(c) (3) charitable nonprofit organization to provide support for innovative projects and investments in Vermont State Parks.  Recruited board of directors, developed a budget, raised funds, hired staff and oversaw program initiatives.

Founder and Director, Women’s Leadership Initiative, 2002 – 2010

Established the Women’s Leadership Initiative to identify and cultivate women who have not previously been active in politics to become elected leaders and activists through targeted leadership events. Raised the necessary funds to run the program and engaged contractors to do research and plan event logistics.


EPA Region 1 Lifetime Achievement Award, 2017

Cahn Fellowship in Public Leadership, 2015

Aspen Institute, Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership, 2007-2009

UVM, Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources, Board of Advisors, 2013-present

Trustee, Vermont Chapter, Nature Conservancy

Georgetown University Climate Center, Board of Advisors, 2011 – present

Antioch’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Resilience, Board of Advisors, 2014-present

Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, 2012-2017

United States Elections Assistance Commission, Executive Committee, 2006-2008

Delegate, Congressional Conference on Civic Education, 2006

United States Elections Assistance Commission, Standards Board, 2008-09

Vermont Women’s Business Center, 2003-10


 National Leadership Summit, The Nature Conservancy, Washington, DC – “What’s Your Story? Using Stories to Advocate for Nature” June 20, 2017.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP 22 Marrakech, Morocco, November 14-18. US Climate Action at all Levels; Transportation Strategies for Reaching a Low Carbon Environment; Different Routes, Same Destination – Subnational Approach to Climate Action; US States at the Forefront.

National Conference of Extension Professionals, Burlington, Vermont – “Building Community Resilience, Investing in Nature.” June 2016.

 Climate Prediction Applications Science Workshop, Co-sponsored by NOAA, DOI Northeast Climate Center and USDA Northeast Regional Climate Hub, Burlington, Vermont, Preparing for the Storm: Reflections on Flooding, Community Resilience and the Important Role of Climate Science, March 23, 2016.

Climate Action Summit 2016, Catalyzing a Sustainable Future, Co-hosted by the United Nations, the World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation, Washington, DC, May 4 -6, 2016. Brokering Partnerships and Unlocking Funding to Secure Clean Energy for All.  Delivering the Energy Transition

Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, Strategies for Financing Resilience, April 5, 2016

MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Emissions Trading in North America and Beyond: Taking Stock and Looking Forward, April 4 2016.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP 21 Le Bourget, Paris December 7-10, 2015.  State Leadership on Climate Change; US States at the Forefront of Climate Collaboration and Progress; Subnational Cooperation on Clean, Resilient Transportation Through Zero Emission Vehicles; Innovative State Actions to Achieve Significant GHG Reductions, US Center

National Adaptation Forum, St Louis, Missouri, May 12 – 13, 2015

Continuing the Momentum from the Presidential Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

Environmental Council of the States, Washington DC, Too Hot, Cold, Wet, Dry or Windy: State and Federal Preparedness, Response and Resiliency, March 16, 2015

Georgetown Climate Center, Washington, DC, Federalism and State Action on Climate Change, April 7, 2014

Georgetown Climate Center, Washington, DC, Lessons in Resilience, February 21, 2013.

National Association of Secretaries of State, Washington, DC – The Impact of Mock Elections Programs on the Attitudes and Behavior of Youth, Jan 30, 2009.

National Association of Secretaries of State, Washington, DC – Mobile Polling: Meeting the Needs of Older Voters March, 2008.

National Academies Committee on the Future of State Voter Registration Databases, Washington, D.C. – A report on Vermont’s experience with building a statewide database – August 6, 2007.

Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, Massachusetts – Ballot Integrity and Prevention of Electoral Corruption – April 27, 2007.

Population Resource Center Roundtable, Washington, D.C., Impact of Population Growth on Governance – January 12, 2007.

AEI Brookings Election Reform Project, Washington, D.C., Help America Vote Act – How is it Working? – February 8, 2006.

AEI Brookings Election Reform Project, Washington, D.C., Status of Election Reform Projects – September 22, 2006.

U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, Washington, D.C., Assessment of the 2006 Elections – December 7, 2006.

Rutgers, Center for American Women in Politics, Orange County, California, “Women’s Leadership- the Next Generation” –Oct 24, 2003.

Neglection 2000, A Third Millennium Project, Washington, D.C. – Bringing Young People into the Process – December 5, 2000.

Insurance Women’s Executives, Manchester, New Hampshire –  How Women Will Lead the Economic Recovery – April 9, 2010.

National Civics Summit, Minneapolis, MN – The Impact of Civics Education on the Attitudes and Behaviors of Youth – July 16, 2009.

National Foundation for Women Legislators, Louisville, Kentucky – Women and Minorities in the 2008 Election – October 14, 2007.

National Symposium – Facilitating Voting as People Age: Implications of Cognitive Impairment, Sacramento, California – Voting and Cognitive Impairments:  An Election Administrator’s Perspective – March 23, 2007.

International E-Participation and Local Democracy, Budapest, Hungary – Co-sponsored by the European Union and the United Nations, Democracy after the Election – Using Electronic Technology to Increase Citizen Participation – July 2006.

League of Women Voters, Portsmouth, NH, “Making our Elections Work – Challenges and Opportunities” – May 1, 2004.

International Planned Parenthood, Executive Director Conference, Montreal, Canada, “Women’s Leadership.” March 29, 2003.

National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council’s (NEC3) annual conference, Raleigh, N.C. – Limiting Liability in the Digital Age: Creating Trustworthy Information Systems – November 19, 2003.


“Bridging the Climate Information Gap: A Framework for Engaging Knowledge Brokers and Decision Makers in State Climate Assessments” With authors Gillian L Galford; Julie Nash; Alan K Betts; Samuel Carlson; Sarah Ford; Ann Hoogenboom; Deborah Markowitz; Andrew Nash; Elizabeth Palchak; Sarah Pears; Kristen L. Underwood, Climatic Change, 2016.

Bringing the Vote to Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities: A Study of the Benefits and Challenges of Mobile Polling,” with co-authors Dr. Jason Karlawish and Charlie Sabatino, Esq., Election Law Journal, 2010.

Voting and Cognitive Impairments: An Election Administrator’s Perspective,” McGeorge Law Review, Vol. 39, 2007.

Drafting Personnel Policies to Manage Risk”, Municipal Lawyer, July/August, 1996.

“The Demise of At-Will Employment and the Public Employee Conundrum”, The Urban Lawyer, Spring, 1995, ­reprinted, Municipal Law News, October, 1995.

Municipal Liability for Negligent Inspection and Failure to Enforce Safety Codes”, Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy, Spring, 1994.

Municipal Ordinance Enforcement in Traffic Court”, Vt. Bar J. & L. Digest, December, 1994.

“Unconstitutional Taking”, Vt. Bar J. & L. Digest, December 1994.

Employee Conduct”, Current Municipal Problems, Vol.19, 1992-1993.

“A Crisis in Confidence: Municipal Officials Under Fire”, Vermont Law Review, Winter, 1992.

“Municipal Enforcement Dilemmas and Legislative Relief”, Vt. Bar J. & L. Digest, February, 1992.

“Ruth Bader Ginsberg – In Pursuit of Equality:  One Woman’s Work to Change the Law”, Women’s Rights Law Reporter, Summer, 1989, reprinted, Spring, 1994.

 A full listing of national and international addresses, publications, board appointments and references are available upon request.