Sirotkin ‘welcomes opportunity’ to take his wife’s seat in the Vermont Senate

Michael Sirotkin

Michael Sirotkin

Michael Sirotkin, the widower of Sen. Sally Fox, has asked the Chittenden County Democratic Committee to consider him for his wife’s seat in the state Senate. Fox died on Jan. 10.

Sirotkin, founder of Sirotkin and Necrason and a longtime lobbyist in the Vermont Statehouse, sent an email to committee members Tuesday night. The story was first reported Wednesday morning in Seven Days. The committee is set to make a decision Wednesday evening about who to recommend for the seat.

Sirotkin told the committee that Fox had wanted him to take her seat.

“After much soul searching and encouragement from others, I decided I would welcome the opportunity if given such honor by your Committee and the Governor,” Sirotkin wrote. “It is hard to imagine anyone filling Sally’s shoes with the grace, dignity and enthusiasm she displayed throughout her lifetime.”

He apologized for the “lateness of this request.”

“As I am sure you can imagine, the last 3 weeks have been extremely difficult for those closest to Sally,” Sirotkin wrote.

Six candidates were vying for the committee’s recommendation to the governor.

As of Wednesday night, four of the candidates had dropped out — Shelburne philanthropist Crea Lintilhac, Rep. Kesha Ram, D-Burlington, Rep. Tim Jerman, D-Essex, and Jake Perkinson, the former chair of the Vermont Democratic Party.

Paul Heintz of Seven Days reported that the committee put three names forward on Wednesday night: Sirotkin, Debbie Ingram, who took 7th place for the 2012 election for the six seat district, and educator Dawn Ellis. Sixty votes were cast, and each member of the committee voted for up to three people. Sirotkin came in first with 48 votes, Ingram got 33 and Ellis received 20, according to the committee chair, David Scherr.

In an email, Perkinson encouraged the committee to unanimously endorse Sirotkin “as the single choice of the committee.”

Sirotkin started practicing law in Vermont in the mid-1970s when he took a job with Vermont Legal Aid, specializing in legal issues that have an effect on senior citizens. Over the last 30 years, he has developed a lobbying practice focused on labor issues, civil justice, affordable housing, land conservation and consumer issues.

He and Adam Necrason founded Sirotkin and Necrason in 1998.

According to the lobbying firm’s website, Sirotkin has been an advocate for “hundreds of affirmative legislative changes.” He cites the creation of the “nation’s first” health care ombudsman, the nation’s first statewide clean indoor air act and a constitutional amendment barring age discrimination against judges.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 10 a.m. Jan. 22 and 5:38 a.m. on Jan. 23.

Anne Galloway

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