rebecca silbernagel photo illustration

Staff Snapshots | Rebecca Silbernagel

April 25, 2022 | State Legislatures News | Print

Rebecca Silbernagel

Hometown: Fayston, Vt.

Role: Journal clerk, Vermont House of Representatives

Years of legislative service: Five

One thing she loves about her state: “Vermont maple everything, but especially maple creemees.”

 

Why did you choose to work at the legislature?

I like to think that I’m helping the Legislature work to make life better for all Vermonters.

My career has circled back, in a way. In college, I served as an intern for a U.S. senator as part of my coursework for a government major. I went on to law school, then worked in legal publishing in New York. When my son was school age, I worked in nonprofit fundraising, communications and management. We moved to Vermont in 2010 but didn’t intend to stay, so I didn’t sit for the Vermont bar. In late 2016, I joined the Vermont House Clerk’s Office as second assistant clerk, for which a law degree was required, but not bar admission. I became first assistant clerk in 2019, then journal clerk in 2021 when our office was reorganized.

What skill or talent are you most proud of?

Photography is something I’m known for in my community. I have images in a local gallery, my greeting cards are carried in a few shops, and my work has been published as well as chosen for juried shows. Most of my photos feature my dogs, but I also shoot landscapes and portraits. Since 2018, I’ve been working on a personal project of our House members called “The Happy Place Project,” for which I take environmental portraits of members doing an activity that grounds them. The first installment hung in the Vermont State House in January 2020, and the next group is slated to show in May 2022. Read more on the project’s Facebook page.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

“Go outside and play. And take the dog with you.”

Who or what inspires you?

This morning, I felt fortunate to wake up to a spectacular sunrise over Mount Ellen, which is the third-highest peak in Vermont. I watched the sky’s pinks, oranges and purples give way to brilliant blue. For a moment, I didn’t think about anything except color.

What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?

Anything I can knit to! When it’s snowing sideways, I watch golf on TV as I work with fluffy yarn and fantasize about putting my bare feet on soft grass.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

For its “Staff Snapshots” series, State Legislatures News is asking legislative staff about their role in the legislature. If you’d like to suggest a staffer for this series, please email Holly South at NCSL.

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