by Rob Roper
Floyd Nease (D-Johnson), who served as the Majority Leader in the Vermont House of Representatives for the past four years, officially resigned his seat on January 11, 2011 to pursue a job as Executive Director of the Vermont Association for Mental Health. It now falls upon Governor Peter Shumlin to appoint a replacement to fill the seat representing Johnson and Eden.
Nease submitted a letter to the clerk of the House and did not speak, “Because of my tendency to shed tears and be unable to speak at moments like this (something I have found to my great satisfaction that I share with our new
congress’ Speaker of the House).”
Nease received bipartisan words of praise from Speaker of the House, Shap Smith (D-Morrisville), and Assistant Minority Leader, Patti Komline (R-Dorset), who served as Minority Leader at the time of Nease’ term as majority leader. Komline drew laughter when she said Nease had always dealt honestly with her, “…to my knowledge.”
Nease’ resignation was not a surprise. The Vermont Association of Mental Heath formally announced that they had hired Nease on November 8, 2010, less than a week after the election. From this date, it is clear that Nease knew he would not be serving when he stood for election on November 2.
Nease was known to play hardball politics, even within his own caucus, displaying a sign on his desk instructing his fellow Democrats how to vote on important issues (see video HERE). When in 2008 the Vermont Chamber of Commerce gave Nease a meager 28% voting record for his support of businesses and economic growth, Nease replied, “I’m very disappointed. I was hoping for a zero.”
Lucy Leriche (D-Hardwick) was elected by the Democratic caucus to replace Nease as Majority Leader for the 2011-2012 term.