by Kevin Joseph Ryan
Representative Jason Lorber (D – Burlington), a progressive liberal lawmaker for the Downtown Burlington district for the past eight years, has decided to step down and will not be a candidate in the November 6th elections. Lorber stated in an e-mail that “exciting opportunities” have presented themselves, but did not elaborate.
Mr. Lorber has worked as a professional comedian, having produced the Vermont based programs, Moo Jew, and Jew Live in Vermont. First elected to the Legislature in 2004 , Mr. Lorber had advocated for the closure of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant and passage of single-payer health care, among other measures. This past year, Lorber strongly advocated for a resolution allowing the American Red Cross to life the Federal ban on donation of blood by homosexual men and voted to raise the Vermont cigarette tax, both of which passed.
Curt McCormick, former State Representative from Rutland 1982-1996 and brother of Windsor Senator Dick McCormick (D-Windsor), plans to run for Lorber’s seat, having moved back to Burlington in 2008 after a stint in the Peace Corps. In the Vermont State House, McCormick focused on environmental issues and creating regulations to end climate change. During his time in the Peace Corps, Mr. McCormick worked in Senegal, where he pioneered recycling programs. McCormick had tried for an appointment to the House seat vacated by Rachel Weston in February this year, but was not successful.
Lorber’s district, Chittenden 3-2, is a two member district with the other seat held by Jill Krowinski, the Democrat who did get the appointment by Governor Shumlin to finish the term of Rachel Weston. Krowinski will be defending the seat for the first time.
Don Turner (R-Milton), the Republican House Minority Leader, said that he is actively looking for candidates to run for the two essentially open seats, but no one has committed as of yet. “We’re reaching out to people in the district,” said Turner. “With just a week left until the filing deadline, I would encourage anyone interested to reach out to us as well.”