State News

New biennium is full of ‘pomp and circumstance’

By Sen. Alison Clarkson

It is always exciting to begin a new biennium in the Vermont State House. And, the 2019 launch of the first year of that two year legislative period was no exception.  While our leadership remained unchanged – returning Gov. Phil Scott; Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman; Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe and House Speaker Mitzi Johnson – we saw an unusually large class of freshling House members and five new senators.

The first week of a new biennium is full of pomp and circumstance, all of which Vermont does very well.  And while there was an enthusiastic buzz on our first day together – it had as its centerpiece real solemnity as we all take the oath of office, swearing to uphold both the U.S. and Vermont constitutions and represent Vermonters to the best of our ability.  It is an important moment in which we publically embrace our public service and accept the responsibilities of public office.  After all, 180 Vermont Legislators are sworn in – the respective bodies elect a Speaker and President Pro Tem –after which, both gave good speeches to their respective bodies addressing the continuing challenges poverty and an increasingly divided Vermont present to our communities, families and state budget, and expressing the hope that, as we work together, we embrace civility, inclusivity, and respect.

During the course of the first week, the Legislature holds a number of Joint Assemblies – one of which hears the report from the Joint Canvassing Committee whose job is to affirm that the vote count for the state-wide officers: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, Auditor of Accounts, and Attorney General is correct.  And, the second is to hear the Inaugural Address of the Governor – which focused on working productively together, affordability, continuing our work in growing our economy and our population, developing a more highly skilled workforce and living up to Senator Jeffords’ expectations that we work to solve problems and help people on a daily basis.

By Friday all the Legislative Committees had been appointed. I am delighted to have been appointed vice chair of Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs and elected to be clerk of Senate Government Operations.  I am grateful to the people of the Windsor County District for re-electing me, and giving me the opportunity to serve you in this remarkable time and in this wonderful state.  I am honoured, and look forward to working together.

I appreciate hearing from you.  I can be reached by email: or by phone at the Statehouse (Tuesday-Friday) 828-2228 or at home (Saturday-Monday) 457-4627.  To get more information on the Vermont Legislature, and the bills which have been proposed and passed, visit the legislative website:

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