Democrats Vote To Keep Campbell At Helm Of Vt. Senate

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Democrats in the Vermont Senate have nominated John Campbell from Windsor County to again lead the chamber in the next legislative session.

Campbell faced strong criticism in the last session for his leadership style and for the sometimes chaotic way the Senate functioned.

In a speech to his caucus, Campbell acknowledged the problems and pledged to correct them.

"There were a lot of shortcomings in my first term here as pro tem. I won’t back away from them; I’m not going to make excuses for them," he said. "But I can tell you this, I certainly learned from them."

Campbell faced a challenge from Washington Senator Ann Cummings, who chairs the Finance Committee. Cummings told the caucus she was saddened by the way the Senate worked last session. In a reference to Campbell’s promise to do better, Cummings said she didn’t need to change in order to be an effective leader.

"It wasn’t just last year. Things were not the smoothest the first year (of the biennium)," she said.  "And there was no reassessment until there was a challenge. And I’m challenging because I think we can do things better. I’ve listened to the other candidate and he’s given us an impressive list of what he did wrong and a promise that he’ll change. But to change almost requires a personality change."

Campbell received 15 votes and Cummings got six.

The full Senate will elect its President Pro Tem in January. But since Democrats hold a strong majority, Campbell’s election is assured.

Democrats also picked Grand Isle Senator Dick Mazza to be on a committee that makes committee assignments.

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