By Erin Mansfield
Former Democratic nominee for governor Sue Minter has landed a new role as president and CEO of Special Olympics Vermont.
Minter will succeed Lisa DeNatale, who is retiring after running the South Burlington-based nonprofit for six years.
Minter, who nearly a year ago lost her bid for governor to Republican Gov. Phil Scott, previously worked in state government as secretary of the Agency of Transportation, a chief recovery officer after Tropical Storm Irene, a state representative for Waterbury and Duxbury, and a planner in the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
Minter said she is impressed by the board, staff, and mission at Special Olympics. “Having seen what happens for folks who really find their joy through sports and teamwork is something that really kind of speaks to me,” she said.
Special Olympics Vermont is part of the global organization that fosters acceptance and inclusion by encouraging people with intellectual disabilities to participate in competitive sports.
Being part of the Special Olympics organization will also allow Minter to shine a light on the struggles that people with disabilities face. Minter said many are “feeling really vulnerable” as the federal government looks to cut funding for Medicaid, a major insurer for people with disabilities.
Minter moved to Vermont in 1991 after studying at Harvard University and receiving a master’s degree in urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
An avid runner and skier, Minter was a competitive figure skater growing up in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island and was a U.S. Figure Skating Association gold medalist. In Vermont, she has worked with young people coaching figure skating in Stowe and recreational soccer in Waterbury for more than a decade each.
“As a lifelong athlete, I know the rewards of sports and the power of a team,” she said.
Minter said she hopes to coach a Special Olympics team and participate in the Penguin Plunge, the annual fundraiser where participants jump into Lake Champlain in February.
Special Olympics Vermont serves about 1,300 children and adults throughout the state with four seasons of competitive sports, and up to nine statewide competitions.