Martine is the product of French Canadian immigrants who came to the United States via the mills of New Hampshire on her father’s side and directly from Montreal on her mother’s side. When her parents met they would often drive down Route 7 to get from Canada to New Hampshire, as Interstate 89 had not been built. On those drives they both fell in love
with this beautiful state and knew that one day they would settle down in Vermont. Martine’s father was an enlisted man in the United States Air Force, so there were many years of travel and frequent moves before her parents were finally able to purchase a home near the airport in South Burlington, which is where they raised their family.
Martine and her three siblings attended public schools in South Burlington, while her dad worked at IBM. Her mother stayed home for many years but eventually became a library assistant in the South Burlington schools. Neither of her parents went to college, but they valued education above all. With scholarships, grants and loans the four Larocque children were all able to attend college. Today, this would be impossible for a family at their socio-economic level, but in the 70s and 80s college was a fraction of what it is now.
Martine attended UVM and with the help of an astute professor was offered a graduate teaching fellowship. This was her first experience as an educator, and she
loved it. She would go on to teach French and English and eventually become a school librarian both in Vermont public schools, at the college level and overseas.
Martine and her husband eventually settled in the North End of Burlington where their kids attended the Burlington public schools. Burlington was the right place to live and raise a family, because it reflected many of the values that Martine holds dear. It is a refugee resettlement community that offers a home to people who have suffered persecution, who have been victims of violence and racism and who simply want to live and work in a free and open society. Next to Winooski it is the most diverse city in Vermont.
Martine’s first steps into politics came about when she decided to run for the Burlington School Board. She is currently serving in her third term on the Burlington Board of School Commissioners, and carries out the duties of board clerk. As many folks know, the past few years have been an immense challenge with a global pandemic temporarily closing schools, followed by the discovery of PCBs on the high school and technical center campus. Burlington students were forced into isolation a second time. Thanks to the superintendent, his team and with some assistance from Governor Scott, the district was able to open Downtown BHS after three months of renovation. The Superintendent and Burlington Technical Center Director acted fast to find locations for all of the technical programs.
The newly drawn Chittenden Central district encompasses most of Burlington, most of Essex, Winooski and a small slice of Colchester, and although Martine lives in Burlington, a large part of her professional life was in Essex where she taught at Essex High School and Essex Technical Center for 15 years. It was a great place to work, and she is grateful for her time there. Her connections to Winooski stem from her connections with French Canadian heritage and with French-speaking New Americans. Martine also worked with Winooski as part of the Coalition for Vermont Student Equity.
When not working, you can find Martine gardening, walking, hiking, or riding on the Burlington Greenway!