Kesha Ram Hinsdale has a proven track record of building consensus with conviction in the Vermont Legislature. As a State Senator for Chittenden County, she works to strengthen the economy for working families, expand access to comprehensive early and higher education, advance civil rights and social justice, and ensure that all Vermonters have a strong advocate in Montpelier.
Kesha was raised on hard work and the American Dream in her family’s Irish pub run by her Indian immigrant father and Jewish American mother. They raised her to understand the value of giving back to the community, ensuring access to capital for small businesses, and pitching in to help with the family business. Kesha attended the University of Vermont, where she was elected Student Body President and graduated with honors with degrees in Natural Resource Planning and Political Science.
In 2006, Kesha got her start in politics when introducing Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama at Ira Allen Chapel in Burlington. Then-Senator Barack Obama encouraged her to run for office, and two years later, they shared a ballot. He became the 44th President of the United States and she became the youngest legislator in the country.
Kesha's Legislative Career
When Kesha was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 2008, she became the first person of color in history to represent Burlington. During her time in the legislature, Kesha served on several committees, including Ways & Means; General, Housing & Military Affairs; and as Vice Chair of Natural Resources & Energy. Kesha has passionately championed affordable homeownership, green job creation, paid family leave, expansion of early and higher education opportunities, criminal justice reform, and civil rights. She spearheaded tax relief to first-time homebuyers, worked to protect victims of domestic and sexual violence, and sought to ensure that Vermonters are not forced to choose between a paycheck and taking care of a sick child.
Through all of these initiatives, Kesha has focused her energy on building an economy that moves Vermont forward.
In 2020, she rewrote the history of Vermont once more. Kesha now serves as the first woman of color in history elected to Vermont State Senate. She is proud to serve on the Committee on Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs and the Committee on Government Operations. She is using her role to advance economic, social, racial, and environmental justice for Vermonters. She also co-chairs the joint Social Equity Caucus where she collaborates with legislators and community leaders to dismantle systems of oppression within Vermont.
Outside of the legislature, Kesha has dedicated her career to improving civic engagement opportunities for Vermonters and helping vulnerable populations access needed services. She currently works as a consultant for towns, school districts, and organizations seeking to improve equity and inclusion in their organizations and policies. Kesha also recently served on the boards of Emerge Vermont, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council.
Previously, Kesha was the Civic Engagement Specialist for the City of Burlington, empowering residents to engage in city governance. She was also the Legal Advocacy Director for Steps to End Domestic Violence, where she supported victims of violence in the courtroom and throughout family and criminal legal proceedings.
Kesha lives with her husband, Jacob Hinsdale, and their dog Miso in Shelburne. Jacob grew up working on a dairy farm in Charlotte, Vermont.