Rep. Martha Heath, chair of House Appropriations, steps down

Rep. Martha Heath, D-Westford, chair of the House Committee on Appropriations. Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDigger

Rep. Martha Heath, D-Westford, chair of the House Committee on Appropriations. Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDigger

Rep. Martha Heath, chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, will not seek re-election to a 12th term.

Heath, a Westford Democrat, served 22 years in the House, including 10 as chair of the budget-writing committee.

“The reasons for leaving are many but in the end they boil down to the fact that my head and my heart are telling me that it is time to step aside,” Heath wrote in an email that said she was currently traveling out of state. “I have been honored by the trust the voters in my districts have placed in me.”

As of 5 p.m. Monday, only one person had filed a petition with the Secretary of State’s Office to run in Heath’s Chittenden 8-3 district — Republican Robert Bancroft.

Heath, 67, said she did not have any immediate plans and thanked her constituents, fellow lawmakers and Statehouse staff for their support.

“One of the joys of serving in the legislature is all the wonderful people you meet and work with,” Heath wrote in the email. “The people who staff the Joint Fiscal Office and Legislative Council are incredible resources to legislators and I feel privileged to have worked with them. The people who staff the legislature and its committees are all great assets. Most of all, my fellow legislators are all people who come to the job with varied perspectives and ideas about how to move the state forward. In the end I have found every one of them to be people who care deeply about Vermont and its people. It has been a true pleasure to work with them.”

Tom BrownTom Brown

Comments

  1. Paul Lorenzini :

    Because of Climate Change, not Global Warming?

    Aye it will be much warmer south when the globe cools.

    Man’s fault.

  2. Vanessa Mills :

    It seems as if even the Dems are getting frustrated with the gridlock resulting from
    Shumlin’s super-majority. Are even the ruling party Dems feeling hamstrung?! So it would seem. The question that roils: What will happen to Vermont from here?!

    Somehow, some “balance” must be restored. And, on SO many levels, in so many layers, we cannot afford the path Vermont is on.

  3. Walter Carpenter :

    “And, on SO many levels, in so many layers, we cannot afford the path Vermont is on.”

    I suppose we should go back to what we could not afford either.

    • Vanessa Mills :

      You made that point, Mr. Stannard, not I. That’s not what I’m saying. Balance and diverse voices are indicators of the health of any system. If a super majority of ANY persusasion rules the day, there’s not enough balance.

      • Vanessa Mills :

        Correction! (here’s where I laugh at myself defending my comments typically with Mr. Stannard! Apologies, Mr. Stannard, for even bringing you up here!)
        The above should read: “You made that point, Mr Carpenter, not I.”

      • John Greenberg :

        So Vermont was unhealthy for the 100 years following the Civil War? All of the South likewise? That’s a pretty significant generalization you’re making, which could use a bit more evidence than you’ve provided to be credible.

  4. Wayne Andrews :

    Another liberal voting for huge tax increases in stages with no sure way of paying for it is now electing not to run again.

    • David Tucker :

      I realize it takes some level of effort to make cogent responses to the stories on Digger, but if this is not an example of someone relying on tired right wing rhetoric to demean otherwise good people (and Rep. Heath is one of those good people) I don’t know what is. Just because you are a right wing hammer doesn’t make everyone you disagree with a left wing nail.

      • Vanessa Mills :

        Mr. Tucker writes: “I realize it takes some level of effort to make cogent responses to the stories on Digger, but if this is not an example of someone relying on tired right wing rhetoric to demean otherwise good people (and Rep. Heath is one of those good people) I don’t know what is. Just because you are a right wing hammer doesn’t make everyone you disagree with a left wing nail.”

        Wow. Do you know me, Mr. Tucker. I don’t believe you do. I don’t know you. And I’m no “right wing hammer,” sir. I vote all over the ballot, partisan-wise. My comment (and last I checked this was a free country and the comment board is open forum) was simply based on the fact that recently several long-standing Dems have decided to step down.

        Martha Heath has served long and with dedication.

        And if my comment was off-base, yours was certainly baseless. Or perhaps simply opinion-based. As perhaps was mine that you refer to here. In ANY case, the point I perhaps made less than well is that balance and diverse voices are indicators of the health of any system. If a super majority of ANY persuasion rules the day, there’s not enough balance.

        • Jason Farrell :

          I imagine that if Mr. Tucker had felt the need to respond to you, or your posts Ms. Mills, that Mr. Tucker would have hit “Reply” on your thread. Instead it appears that his “right wing hammer” reply was placed below a comment Mr. Andrews made, which I took to mean he was “replying” to Mr. Andrews, not you.

          Best wishes.

          • Vanessa Mills :

            If you are correct, Mr. Farrell, I acknowledge my error. And apologies to Mr. Tucker as well, if you are correct.

            My point about a super-majority and balance still stands.

            Thanks for the opportunity, Vt. Digger, to express opinions and points of view.
            And best wishes to you, too, Mr. Farrell.

  5. John Perry :

    Martha Heath has been a voice of calm and reason on spending in Vermont for many, many years. She will be sorely missed.

  6. Walter Carpenter :

    “Martha Heath has been a voice of calm and reason on spending in Vermont for many, many years. ”

    I agree. She will be sorely missed.

  7. Jamie Carter :

    A pick up seat for republicans

    • Jason Farrell :

      Robert L. Bancroft is the only current candidate for this newly vacated seat, though I suspect others will emerge before tomorrow’s deadline, so it’s a possible pick-up seat for Republicans. Do you know Dr. Bancroft? Would you endorse him?

      • Jason Farrell :

        Liz Subin, Democrat, is also running for this open seat. It’s a pick-up opportunity for the Republicans, but it will be a contested race.

  8. Julie Tessler :

    Martha has worked dutifully and successful for years on the state budget. Her expertise and skill are immense. All Vermonters have benefited from her leadership. It has been a pleasure for all of us that work with her, because she knows the budget inside and out and always gives you a straight story. She will be sorely missed, but our gratitude and the impact of her years of service will be lasting.

  9. Moshe Braner :

    Thank you, Martha, for your service to my district and to the state as a whole!

  10. Jim Christiansen :

    Thank you for your service to Vermonters.

    On a separate note, 22 consecutive years for any elected official is 12 too many.

    • Will Adams :

      Apparently the voters in her district disagree.

  11. Yes, turn that one out to pasture – no one is happy with the state of the State. I don’t care what accolades you want to give a departing career politician, if you’re part of a system that’s broke, well, you just can’t function freely within that system.

    She is obviously leaving because she is SICK of the system! And everyone and I mean everyone she worked with are the greatest most caring people on earth!

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