Dr. Vergarie Sanford was born and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Vergarie graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School and attended Iowa Western. She recently received her doctorate in Higher Education and Administration from Oral Roberts University.
Vergarie is an ordained minister and has long served as a youth pastor and mentor at Mount Zion Refuge Center Church in Council Bluffs, focusing particularly on mentorship for middle school and high school age girls and bullying prevention. She is also currently an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska in Omaha.
She has been a board member with the Iowa West Foundation since 2020 and presently serves on the Governance Committee. The Iowa West Foundation is a nonprofit that has helped secure more than $500 million in grants and initiative funding for southwest Iowa through education and economic development. Vergarie has also served on the Board for the Wing of Hope Cancer Support Center, as the vice chair on the Board for Directors for Centro Latino in Council Bluffs, and has volunteered with the Pottawattamie County Democrats. In 2020, she was honored in the United States House of Representatives as Representative Cindy Axne’s Iowan of the Week in recognition of her service to her community.
As of 2022, Vergarie is a breast cancer survivor who has been cancer free for ten years. She is also a proud mother and grandmother with a large extended family that resides mostly in Council Bluffs and House District 19.