MONTPELIER -- Gov. Peter Shumlin today announced two key staff appointments integral to his efforts to strengthen Vermont’s economy by growing jobs, helping to contain rising health care costs and reform health care delivery, and ushering in a universal, publicly-financed health care system in Vermont.
Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) Secretary Lawrence Miller will become Senior Advisor to the Governor and Chief of Health Care Reform. In this capacity, Miller will be tasked with overseeing the state’s health care reform efforts and transition to Green Mountain Care. He will report directly to the Governor.
To replace Miller as Commerce Secretary, the Governor is appointing Patricia Moulton who served as Deputy Secretary at ACCD until February 2013. During her long career in economic development, Moulton has held several key posts in and out of state government, including Labor Commissioner under Gov. Jim Douglas.
“The most important thing we can do for Vermont’s economy and our ability to grow jobs is to get health care and economic development right. Lawrence and Pat will help us do that. I could not ask for two more able, well-respected people to help us build a stronger, more prosperous economic future for Vermont,” Shumlin said.
Miller has an extensive private sector background, as founder and CEO of Otter Creek Brewing, CEO of Danforth Pewter, Director of the National Bank of Middlebury, and as an independent business advisor. Miller also demonstrated a commitment to public service throughout his career with appointments to the Vermont Economic Progress Council, the Clean Energy Development Fund, and several non-profit boards before joining the Administration.
“I am convinced that the single biggest thing we can do for the long term benefit of Vermont’s economy is providing all Vermonters coverage, getting a handle on the costs of health care, and breaking the link between employment status and health coverage,” said Miller.
“We know that concern about health benefits holds people back from striking out on their own and starting new businesses, and it keeps people locked in jobs for the wrong reasons,” he added. “Health insurance is also a huge cost factor for all enterprises, including our schools. We obviously have to do something different. I am encouraged that Vermont’s efforts at cost containment are beginning to bear fruit, and I am ready to help move us forward.”
Moulton had served as Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development until stepping down in February 2013 to head workforce development for the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC), and then as Executive Director. The BDCC is the Regional Development Corporation for southeastern Vermont. She has held several economic development posts at the state, regional and local levels, including in State government.
“I am excited to come back to ACCD and lead the agency's work: helping improve the quality of life of all Vermonters,” Moulton said. “ACCD has a great staff, and strong partners, and I know we can still do much more to reach our goals. One of the things that I believe is critical is working across all agencies to ensure our economic future is considered in major policy decisions. Education, including workforce development and lifelong learning, is particularly important to our future and I am passionate about improving opportunities in these areas.”
The Boards of the BDCC and the Southeast Vermont Economic Development Strategies commented on the choice of Pat Moulton as the Secretary.
“We would like to congratulate the Governor on his excellent choice for Secretary of the Agency of Commerce,” the Boards said. “It should come as no surprise that we view the Governor’s announcement with mixed feelings. We will miss having Pat here on a daily basis, but we look forward to continuing to work closely with her and her agency on developing the regional and state economy.”
Miller will transition to his new role at the beginning of June, when Moulton will become Commerce Secretary. Miller will lead the team of Administration officials working across agencies and departments, and with the private health care, insurance and business sectors, to improve health care costs, delivery, and access in Vermont, including Robin Lunge, who serves as policy lead as the Director of Health Care Reform, Secretary Doug Racine and Commissioner Mark Larson at the Agency of Human Services, Secretary Jeb Spaulding and Commissioners Richard Boes and Kate Duffy at the Agency of Administration, and the independent Green Mountain Care Board chaired by Al Gobeille, among others.