Ben Kinsley

Ben has over a decade of experience in public policy, government relations, and advocacy here in Vermont. He served two tours of duty as a staffer for CFV and then as executive director. After working for several public officials, lobbying firms, and non-profits, Ben started his own public policy research and development consulting firm in 2017. Since then, Imperium Advisors has developed from in-depth policy research outfit to offering a whole suite of products and services around public policy and advocacy from ideation to implementation.

He has worked with dozens of clients across New England and is passionate about taking on intractable challenges with creative solutions – things that impact Vermont like education, health care, energy, public/private investment, and workforce development. Since leaving as Executive Director in 2017, Ben has remained on the CFV Board of Directors and continues to assist with executing on policy initiatives. He also enjoys helping his neighbors and volunteering for community groups.

Enjoying the outdoors is one of Ben’s favorite pastimes; hiking, skiing, and mountain biking are all regular activities. As a native Vermonter, he loves the state and is committed to seeing Vermont’s communities grow and prosper. 

Ben lives with his wife Kayla and their dog Pippa in Burlington, VT.

  • published Summer Newsletter in Blog 2022-08-22 20:05:04 -0400

    Summer Newsletter

    We hope you are enjoying your summer! After catching our breath from the legislative session we are back at it and already starting to prepare for next year.

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  • H.456 Summary - Strategic Goals and Reporting for VSC

    In furthering our vision of an informed and active electorate, we are providing summaries of key bills considered during the 2022 legislative session. H.456 is one of these.

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  • published S.171 Summary - Statewide Code of Ethics in Blog 2022-08-14 10:22:25 -0400

    S.171 Summary - Statewide Code of Ethics

    S.171 was the next step in years of work in moving Vermont towards having a universal code of ethics. This work started in 2018 when the legislature created the Vermont Ethics Commission that could be an educational resource to lawmakers about ethics issues. While this was a critical step forward, the Commission had no real enforcement powers and even their advisory role was somewhat limited because of the lack of a consistent ethical standard across state government.

    This bill created that framework. Campaign for Vermont fought hard to make sure that all three branches of government where covered by this code.

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  • published 2022 Priorities Survey 2022-07-26 19:39:21 -0400

    2022 Priorities Survey

    As you know, CFV engages on a wide variety of topics, to help us meet the needs of middle class Vermonters. What do you think is the most valuable work that CFV does? We do so many things, we started asking ourselves this question. As we start preparing for the 2023 legislative session, we would love to hear from YOU about what aspects of our work are most important. 

    Take the survey

  • H.572 Summary - Retirement Allowance for Interim Educators

    This bill creates a temporary program meant to address the perceived shortage of teachers in the state by allowing school districts to bring retirees back to work for one-year contracts without jeopardizing their retirement benefits. While clever, there are concerns from the Treasurer's office about the financial impacts of this program on the pension should it become widely used.

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  • published S.226 Summary - Safe and Affordable Housing in Blog 2022-06-14 22:49:35 -0400

    S.226 Summary - Safe and Affordable Housing

    Last minute Act 250 changes from S.234 were rolled into S.226 but the underlying bill was meant to address Vermont's housing crisis. Despite making steps towards assisting with housing development, the bill does contain a watered down version of a contractor registration provision that Governor Scott vetoed last year.

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  • published Legislative Update - May 15, 2022 in Blog 2022-05-15 18:35:59 -0400

    Legislative Update - May 15, 2022

    The past few months have been filled with the hustle and bustle of the legislative session. Bills have been proposed, tanked, renewed, rewritten and debated over. Good work has been done and some have been left for another day. This week it all came to an end. The lead up to legislature adjournment on Thursday was filled with the typical last-minute deals, unforeseen circumstances, and passionate speeches on the floor that are to be expected.

    In the end, the legislature passed the first statewide code of ethics for Vermont, took a step towards fixing our pension and housing crises, and invested nearly $100M into workforce development needs. In doing so, we also avoided tax increases on middle-class Vermonters and changes to Act 250 that would actually make our housing problem WORSE. There is a lot to be happy about.

    We applaud legislators for their work and wish them all some much-deserved rest over the summer.

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  • published Legislative Update - May 8, 2022 in Blog 2022-05-08 19:57:02 -0400

    Legislative Update - May 8, 2022

    This week the legislature overrode Governor Scott's veto of the pension bill unanimously. While only addressing less than half of the deficit, the legislature resoundingly chose incremental progress over sweeping reform. Other bills are following this trend, such as the Act 250 bill, shying away from bold reforms and towards minor tweaks to existing laws.

    Other bills moving forward include housing and workforce development, economic development, student weighting (headed for the Governor's desk). Universal school meals were also approved by the Senate this week, setting up a likely slash to the $36M in property tax savings that were offered by the House.

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  • published Legislative Update - May 1, 2022 in Blog 2022-05-01 17:56:05 -0400

    Legislative Update - May 1, 2022

    The pension bill is now in the Governor's hands after the Senate gave final approval on Friday. He will be faced with a choice to approve a bill he has criticized in recent weeks as not going far enough to address the pension deficit or accept the incremental progress that the bill offers.

    We are also, by the way, waiting for the Governor to sign the ethics bill which passed over a week ago...

    After the House more or less accepted Governor Scotts plan to return half of the $95M property tax surplus to taxpayers, the Senate may not be so quick to jump on the bandwagon. After testimony this week they seem inclined to reject the 20 cent decrease to property taxes in favor of providing funding for both PCB remediation and universal school meals.

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  • published Legislative Update - April 24, 2022 in Blog 2022-04-24 17:50:57 -0400

    Legislative Update - April 24, 2022

    This week Campaign for Vermont introduced an extensive list of workforce development recommendations to the legislature covering a number of bills in motion, including H.703, H.159, S.226, and S.234. As a state we must recognize the issues before us and view them with clarity. Economic vitality is critically linked to workforce participation, recruitment, and housing. Our businesses are starving for workers and those that can move elsewhere will if the problems become worse – hampering the long-term prospects of our state. We cannot practically solve the housing crisis quickly enough to correct some of these issues, however, moves we make now will have profound impacts on that outcome and the equity of our housing system and even the broader economy in years to come.

    The public pension reform bill is headed to the House Floor next week after the state treasurer poo-pooed a defined contribution plan for new hires. The current solution being offered only addresses less than half of the pension deficit and disproportionately impacts taxpayers. The legislature will need to come back for more in future years. At the same time, the legislature is considering pension divestment of fossil fuels, benefits for interim educators, new pension groups, and other measures that could actually have a negative impact on the deficit.

    Two education initiatives - Student Weighting Factors and Universal School Meals - also passed key committee votes this week and are anticipated to hit the House Floor in short order.

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  • CFV Introduces Recommendations to the Legislature Around Workforce Development

    The following is a letter sent to the Senate Economic Development and House Commerce Committees on Friday April 22nd, 2022.

  • published Legislative Update - April 17, 2022 in Blog 2022-04-18 12:06:27 -0400

    Legislative Update - April 17, 2022

    There was lots of action this week as the legislature heads into its final month of the session. The ethics bill passed the House unanimously this week and is now headed back to the Senate where we expect final approval before being sent to the Governor.

    In a surprise turn of events, the House is now considering the pursuit of defined contribution plans for new hires. This has the potential to address the remaining $2.3B in unfunded liability that will remain in our public pension funds if S.286 passes (the bill currently only addresses about $2B of the $4.3B overall liability).

    Workforce, housing, and economic development bills are all progressing towards final passage but there are concerns around "poison pills" added by environmental advocates that could draw a gubernatorial veto. All three of these bills are critical to addressing Vermont's short and long-term economic challenges.

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  • published Legislative Update - April 10, 2022 in Blog 2022-04-18 10:52:32 -0400

    Legislative Update - April 10, 2022

    The bill creating a statewide code of ethics is headed to the House floor this coming week after the Government Operations Committee agreed with most of the provisions we and others asked for.

    Pensions are heating up again, on multiple fronts. The "benefits overhaul bill" is being worked on in the House and there are two bills in the Senate that could negatively impact pension liabilities. One that would divest fossil fuels from the investment portfolios and another that would potentially allow retired teachers to temporarily come back to work while retaining their pension benefits.

    Other bills, such as workforce development and housing are also gaining steam in the House and Senate. We are likely to see those bills move to the floor in the next week or two.

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  • published Legislative Update - April 4, 2022 in Blog 2022-04-03 19:32:06 -0400

    Legislative Update - April 4, 2022

    While we are still wrapping our arms around it, the Senate passed the pension bill this week. The ethics bill is off to a good start in the House. Workforce development and housing efforts are making progress in both the House and the Senate. All in all, it was a pretty good week.

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  • published LETTER: House Government Operations on S.171 in Blog 2022-04-03 19:24:37 -0400

    LETTER: House Government Operations on S.171

    Members of the House Government Operations Committee,

    Through Campaign for Vermont, I have been working with the Administration and Legislature since 2015 to encourage the passage and strengthening of ethics laws in Vermont. Today I am writing because you are beginning to take testimony on S.171. I know this bill may be confusing in how it interrelates with existing rules, policies, and practices across different branches of government. It is not always easy to step back and see the broader picture of how these all tie together.

    Read more

  • published Legislative Update - March 27, 2022 in Blog 2022-03-27 17:38:26 -0400

    Legislative Update - March 27, 2022

    Legislators found out this week that the Vermont child tax credit bill may need a haircut. The workforce development bill received such a large haircut that we may have a headless horseman situation.

    In case we scared you, the economic development bill passed out of committee this week and is headed to the Senate floor (mostly intact). Some provisions in the bill received push-back around what business would have access to funds and whether or not revenue replacement is the role of government (that question as largely been decided by ARPA). The workforce bill was passed by the House this week as the House and Senate exchange their flagship bills.

    Also, the ethics bill received a warm welcome in the House and we are looking forward to testifying on that legislation next week.

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  • published Legislative Update - March 20, 2022 in Blog 2022-03-20 16:27:06 -0400

    Legislative Update - March 20, 2022

    The legislature was busy this week moving bills onto the floor in both chambers to meet the looming cross-over deadline (all bills must pass from one chamber to the other before crossover in order to be acted upon this year). Many last-minute requests were denied and a number of bills saw floor action. This includes the ethics bill we have been working on, which was passed by the Senate this week.

    Other bills we have been following, including the workforce development, housing, and economic development are all slated for the floor of the House and Senate early next week.

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  • published Legislative Update - March 13, 2022 in Blog 2022-03-13 18:12:35 -0400

    Legislative Update - March 13, 2022

    There was progress on several fronts this week with the ethics bill moving to the Senate Floor and the workforce development bill appears to be ready to move by Wednesday.

    A bill that steers the state towards divestment of fossil fuels from our public pension systems is also headed to the Senate Floor. This bill is concerning for several reasons, read more below!

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  • published Spring 2022 Update in Blog 2022-03-10 21:55:30 -0500

    Spring 2022 Update

    We have been busy here at the Campaign! Here is our Spring update on all the activities we are engaged on.

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  • published 2022 Legislative Survey Results in Blog 2022-03-05 09:46:39 -0500

    2022 Legislative Survey Results

    The 2022 legislative season is in full swing. As the legislature transitions back to in-person meetings and start to advance larger policy issues, we launched our annual survey to gather Vermonter's thoughts on what our priorities should be.

    In order to further our goal of advocating for issues that boost working class Vermonters, we surveyed Campaign for Vermont followers about what issues impact their daily lives to most, what is most likely to improve the social and financial situation of a family, and what issues people would most like to see the legislature tackle. Here are the results!

    Read more

Public policy aficionado. Outdoor enthusiast. Lover of all things Vermont.
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