She has been active in New York City local government as a member of the Manhattan Citizens' Solid Waste Advisory Board from 1994 to 1999 and as Chair of that board 1997 to 1999. Concurrently, she served as a member of the steering committee of the She is also a past chair of both the Solid Waste Committee of the NYC Sierra Club and the International Working Group of the Green Party USA.
Willebrand has several higher degrees including an Ed.D in English as a Second Language and an MA in Adult Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a BA in American Studies from the City College of New York. As a public school teacher in the 1960s she was a delegate in her union, the United Federation of Teachers and was active in bringing the UFT to an anti-war position against the war in Vietnam. She subsequently taught as an Assistant Professor of English studies in the Empire State College, Center for Labor Studies, and as a Fulbright Professor to Hungary.
2006 Comptroller campaign Edit
- Main article: New York Comptroller election, 2006
In 2006, Willebrand was nominated by the Green Party as their candidate for Comptroller. In the race for Comptroller, she is once again opposed by Hevesi, as the incumbent. Hevesi's admission of some wrongdoing in using state employees for family and personal services has resulted in a loss of support and stimulated interest in Willebrand's campaign. Critics of Hevesi and past Comptrollers hold that the historical mismanagement of these investments has garnered pollution, looting of regions, pension losses and even wars.
Willibrand campaigned on sustainable investments. Willebrand believes that turning the direction of those investments toward wise-growth can translate to positive economic change nationally and internationally. Willebrand has said that she will look to the Government Pension Fund of Norway as a model of sustainable socially responsible investment, stating that she "...will use the power of the Comptroller as sole trustee of $115 billion in retirement investments as an instrument of peace, joining other states efforts to end the genocide in Darfur by divesting from companies doing business in Sudan."