Minter named CEO of Special Olympics Vermont

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Nearly a year after losing her bid for governor, Sue Minter has been named the new president and CEO of Special Olympics Vermont.

Minter will succeed Lisa DeNatale, who is retiring after running the South Burlington-based nonprofit organization for six years.

"I don't have any plans to run for governor," Minter said in an interview Thursday. "I am 100 percent focused on taking on this new, wonderful job opportunity."

Special Olympics Vermont is part of the larger, global organization that fosters acceptance and inclusion by encouraging people with intellectual disabilities to participate in competitive sports.

Minter, who lost her 2016 race for governor to Gov. Phil Scott, is the former secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the former chief recovery officer who helped the state rebuild from Tropical Storm Irene, and a former state representative.

Before moving to Vermont in 1991, Minter went to Harvard University and received a master's degree in urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was a competitive figure skater in high school and a U.S. Figure Skating Association gold medalist.

Since losing her election, Minter said she had been "testing a lot of waters," including working for the High Meadows Fund, a nonprofit organization in Middlebury that works on environmental issues.

"I'm just super impressed with the board and the staff, but, most importantly, really inspired by the mission," Minter said. "Having seen what happens for folks who really find their joy through sports and teamwork is something that really kind of speaks to me."

Minter, of Waterbury, coached a figure skating team in Stowe for 12 years and a local soccer team for 13 years. While the job at Special Olympics Vermont mostly entails management and fundraising, she said she wants to coach one of the organization's teams.

She said being part of the Special Olympics movement also helps shine a light on the struggles people with disabilities are facing right now. She said many are "feeling really vulnerable" as the federal government continues to look at cutting funding for Medicaid, a major insurer for people with disabilities.

Special Olympics Vermont serves about 1,300 children and adults throughout the state, according to Liza Reed, the marketing and partnerships director for Special Olympics Vermont. Athletes participate can participate in four different seasons of competitive sports, and a total of nine different statewide competitions.

As part of her new job, Minter has volunteered to participate in the Penguin Plunge, an annual fundraiser in which participants jump into Lake Champlain in February, according to Reed.

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