Political job seekers take note: the Vermont Democratic Party is in the market for a new executive director. Julia Barnes is leaving after 3 1/2 years in a very demanding post.
How demanding? “At 3 1/2 years, I’m the second longest-serving executive director in Vermont Democratic Party history,” she says. (Number 1 is Jon Copans, BTW.)
This is an entirely voluntary decision on her part. “It’s exhausting work,” she says. “We’ve made a ton of progress with the Party, and I’m ready for something new. I’ve loved my time at the Vermont Democratic Party, working with the staff, activists, and elected officials. If I had to go back in time, I’d do it again.”
“Something new” might be pursuit of an advanced degree or something else in politics.
I must observe that this is a good time for an accomplished, successful operative to be on the market. Presidential campaigns are ramping up, and state-level campaigns will be doing so in coming months. With Barnes’ track record, I suspect she’ll have more than one offer. If, that is, she decides to stay in the sausage factory.
And while a superficial reading of the 2014 election might raise questions about her leadership, I think it’s abundantly clear that the Democrats’ fundamental problems were (1) a very unpopular Governor, and (2) a non-Presidential and non-Senatorial year that depressed turnout. A closer reading of the returns would show that the VDP was rowing against some very powerful tides. During Barnes’ time as ED, the party has built and maintained a strong organization.
So yeah, if she wants a job in politics she’ll get one. And her successor will have big shoes to fill.