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An interview with Vermont’s Racial Equity Director

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by Joseph Gresser

During its 2018 session the Legislature passed a law creating the post of Executive Director of Racial Equity.  Governor Phil Scott first vetoed the bill saying it didn’t allow him to fire whoever took the job.  That, he maintained, was an unconstitutional limit on his ability to direct members of his administration.

Once that dispute was ironed out, Governor Scott signed the bill into law.

Xusana Davis, who was then working for the New York City Department of Health as director of health and housing strategic initiatives, was watching what was happening in Montpelier.

In a telephone interview Friday, Ms. Davis said she was already thinking about moving to Vermont.  When a post seeking candidates for the new position went up online, she sent in her resumé.

Just about a year ago she was hired.

Even though state officials were already aware of, and concerned about, differences in the way people of color were faring in the state’s healthcare system, no one could have foreseen how well Ms. Davis’ background would fit in with the needs of a state dealing with a pandemic.


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