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From SMC to Vermont Senate: The Journey of Caroline Bright

On Caroline Bright’s personal blog, she describes herself as “A Vermonter who loves politics, pearls, obsessively reading newspapers online, Chi Omega, Apple products, science fiction, and just happened to be Miss Vermont 2010.” At the young age of twenty two, Caroline is simply a go-getter and is a recent notable alum from Saint Michael’s. A winner of Miss Vermont and a candidate for Vermont Senate, Caroline has soared from her days at Saint Michael’s to be a role model for many.

 Saint Michael’s wasn’t always home for Caroline, and her experience here wasn’t a typical one. Caroline transferred in as a junior then took a year off to be Miss Vermont. However, she thanks all of the staff at Saint Michael’s – from her advisor, Professor Ayres, to David in the Registrar’s office, to Caroline in Marketing – for making her goals possible. One of Caroline’s favorite memories at Saint Mike’s was her trip to Ottawa for her Canadian Government and Politics class with Professor Ayres.

 The beginning of Caroline’s adventure started with her competition in the Miss Vermont pageant. Caroline was involved in the Miss Vermont’s Outstanding Teen in her senior year of high school, and surprisingly, won by accident! Caroline says this “accident changed my life, because I had a front row seat for what it was like to be Miss Vermont and it became clear that it was a job I wanted in the future. I competed for Miss Vermont in 2009 and came in first runner up and then again in 2010 when I won”. By competing and winning Miss Vermont, Caroline earned enough scholarship money to pay for the rest of her time at Saint Michael’s without financial assistance from her parents. However, she says the relationships she gained through the experience were the most valuable. Caroline actually met her fiancé at the pageant, which she calls her “best trophy!”

Caroline always imagined herself as a member within legislature since she was a little girl. Since she was ten, Caroline knew that government was a great interest of hers. When Caroline was thirteen, she served as a Page in the Vermont State Legislature, and found value in the work made on behalf of everyday people. During her Miss Vermont days, Caroline’s platform was “Rock the World-Run for Office” – which she created at her work study in the Saint Michael’s Admissions Office. Miss Vermont embraces female confidence and grace, and Caroline’s run for Vermont Senate represents just that. She is the only female representing a major party in the Franklin County Senate race.

Why is Caroline running for Vermont Senate? She explains she is running because she loves the “county that has always been my home, [and] I know that I can be a strong and energetic voice for my neighbors in Montpelier… and because it’s critically important that women make up 50% of our elected officials. Currently, women are 51% of the population but only 16% of elected officials.”

Many students worry about life after college; Burlington is a college-centered city, catering to a vast array of students. Caroline’s goal is to make sure young adults return to Franklin County, specifically, to live and to work. She explains, “I will work tirelessly in the Senate to try to improve Internet access and cell phone service throughout the region. Having access to technology will make opening small businesses easier and it will be easier for people in their 20’s and 30’s to live their lives in Franklin County”. Speaking to her personal character, Caroline wants to be a responsive and accessible senator. After spending years doing outreach for other elected officials, she understands the importance of listening to her voters.

Caroline’s motto is “Solve the Problem.” Using an example from her own life, she explains “whenever I was unhappy about something when I was growing up, my mom would tell me to solve the problem instead of complaining or feeling bad about it. Whatever is wrong, do what you can to fix it”. Therefore, her advice to all college-age girls is to be flexible. She explains that, while it’s important to have solid goals, we should be open to changing and evolving them. Caroline never envisioned herself being a woman wearing a crown or a white wedding dress, but rather in a seat in legislature. She says, even though goals may change, they usually turn out better than imagined. From Saint Michael’s to Vermont Senate, I’d say Caroline’s goals are well on their way.

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