Sirotkin assumes Senate seat of late wife, Sally Fox
By Neal P. Goswami
VERMONT PRESS BUREAU | February 12,2014
MONTPELIER — Michael Sirotkin was sworn in Tuesday morning as the newest member of the Vermont Senate, claiming the seat held by his late wife, Sen. Sally Fox.
Sirotkin, a former lobbyist with Sirotkin & Necrason, spent the past few weeks divesting his interest in his former firm after being appointed by Gov. Peter Shumlin. Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell administered the oath of office inside the Senate chamber.
Fox, 62, a Democrat from South Burlington, was in her second term in the Senate when she died Jan. 10 after a battle with lung cancer. She was serving on the Senate Health and Welfare and Appropriations committees at the time of her death. Fox previously served 14 years in the House.
“There is no seat in this chamber or in this state that I would rather sit in than the seat of my lovely and beautiful wife, Sally,” Sirotkin said in his first remarks as a senator.
Several candidates had stepped forward and announced their interest in being appointed to Fox’s seat. Most backed out, however, when Sirotkin made it known he would seek the seat to honor his late wife’s wishes that he fulfill her term.
Sirotkin will serve out the current term through the end of the year and will need to win election in November if he wishes to continue holding one of the six Chittenden County Senate seats.
Sirotkin thanked his colleagues and the Senate staff “for the very warm and supportive welcome I’ve gotten since my appointment was announced two weeks ago.”
He also noted the support extended to him since Fox’s death.
“I want to thank the people in this chamber for all the love and support extended to Sally over the last month. I want you all to know it’s made a difference to me and my family,” he said.
Sirotkin cast his first vote just minutes later when the Senate passed a bill allowing bars and restaurants to serve beer tasting flights.
The appointment led to changes in committee assignments that were announced Tuesday. Sirotkin was assigned to the Agriculture and Institutions committees.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ann Cummings, a Democrat from Washington County, moved to Appropriations from Institutions and to Health and Welfare from Economic Development. Addison County Democratic Sen. Chris Bray was moved from Agriculture to Economic Development. Sen. John Rodgers, a Democrat from Orleans County, was appointed vice chairman of Institutions, and Chittenden County Sen. Ginny Lyons was made vice chairwoman of Health and Welfare.