Like so many who come to Vermont to attend college, Ed never left (except for a brief 1-year stay in Oregon). In the Fall of 1988, Ed enrolled in the University of Vermont School of Natural Resources. After dabbling in a variety of curriculum areas, Ed discovered that his strengths and passions were stimulated by the liberal arts. During his junior year, he spent a semester in Geneva, Switzerland studying International Relations under the auspices of Brattleboro-based School for International Training. He also worked with an environmental awareness program in Järvenpää, Finland through the Vermont-based Volunteers for Peace. He worked at the Inn at Shelburne Farms in the summers of 1992 and 1994 just as the Farm’s sustainability programs were getting off the ground. In 1992, Ed graduated from UVM with a double major in Political Science and Philosophy and a minor in Environmental Studies.
After graduation, Ed heeded the call to “go west young man”. He landed in Portland, Oregon, where he alternated between backpacking in the remotest areas of the Pacific Northwest he could find and working as a legal assistant in a large Environmental Law firm. Realizing how much he loved both the law and Vermont, Ed headed back east, enrolling in Vermont Law School in the Fall of 1993. During his studies, he served as a student law clerk in the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, in Washington Superior Court and in a environmental law firm in Burlington. Ed graduated from VLS in 1996 with a Juris Doctor and a Masters in Studies of Environmental Law and Policy.
Following graduation from VLS, Ed moved to Burlington once again and began his career in public service serving as a Deputy State’s Attorney in the Franklin County State’s Attorney’s Office where he successfully prosecuted hundreds of criminal cases ranging from Fish and Game offenses to serious violent felonies. This experience provided Ed with a solid understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in our criminal justice system. In 2001 Ed became an associate at a Burlington Law Firm specializing in Municipal and Education Law. In this new role Ed represented municipal and school entities throughout Vermont providing both general counsel and litigation services.
In 2003 Ed accepted the opportunity to work for Secretary of State Deb Markowitz as a prosecutor in the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office of Professional Regulation where he is responsible for oversight of nearly 45 unique professions from dentists to tattooists, clinical social workers to architects. During this time, Ed served as Chair of the Young Lawyers Division of the Vermont Bar Association Board of Managers and from 2004-2006 represented Vermont and Maine as the District representative to the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association.
Although Ed traces the roots of his political career to an unsuccessful run for his High School Board of Education in 1988, his first successful venture into elected public office was in 2004 with a successful run for Justice of the Peace in Burlington. Now smitten, Ed ran for the Burlington City Council in 2005, taking on a 19 year incumbent. He lost that race in a close vote. In 2007, Ed was asked to run again for City Council, to fill the unexpired term of City Councilor and then State Party Democratic Chair, Ian Carleton. This time he had two opponents and won with a 47% plurality. Ed was re-elected three times in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
Ed chaired the City Council’s Public Safety, Charter Change and Community and Economic Development Committees. He also served on the Parks, Arts and Culture, and Human Resources and Institutions Committees. Ed’s accomplishments on the City Council include:
- taking the lead to bring accountability and transparency back to Burlington when the prior Mayoral Administration failed to take responsibility for its Burlington Telecom missteps;
- holding UVM accountable for its impacts on the Burlington neighborhoods surrounding it; and
- advocating for excellence and equity in the Burlington School District.
Ed gained “notoriety” as the “twittering councilor” using social media to bring active, transparent and meaningful communication to the people. For his efforts he was selected to receive the 2011 Burlington Social Media Day “Politician” Award for excellent use of social networks to share, engage and participate.
Ed currently serves as Of Counsel to the Burlington law firm of Monaghan Safar Ducham PLLC. He lives in Burlington with his wife of fifteen years, Jen, a graphic designer; his daughter, Elsa, age 12, an aspiring artist; his son Henry, age 9, who is already polishing his stump speeches.