Retirements and Candidates Seeking Higher Office Spell State House Shakeup

With Senator Leahy announcing his intention to retire at the end of his term, many in the Vermont political landscape saw an opportunity to move up. State Senator Becca Balint is leaving the upper chamber and her position as Senate Pro Tempore to run for Congress against Lt. Governor Molly Gray, prompting State Senator Joe Benning, Representative Charlie Kimbell, former Representative Kitty Toll, and former Lt. Governor David Zuckerman to announce their candidacies for Lt. Governor. In addition, the end of the “COVID biennium” brought a wave of retirements, which will leave more than half of Vermont House committee chairs up for grabs, and bring turnover to more than a third of Vermont Senate seats. But this all means more than just political intrigue. The shakeup in the State House will mean an infusion of new blood, and more junior members taking over leadership roles in key committees, including on the Senate Economic Development Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.

The Vermont Chamber’s advocacy team will be hitting the road this summer, meeting with member businesses and legislators in their districts, as well as candidates of all political stripes to get a jump on forming the critical relationships necessary to fight effectively for the business community’s legislative agenda next session. To read more about the races to watch, check out this write-up by VTDigger, and stay tuned later this summer for more insight from the Vermont Chamber.