Ayer takes pass on majority leader

ADDISON COUNTY — Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, considered running for Senate majority leader this year but ultimately decided against such a move in order to remain actively involved in ongoing health care reform legislation.
Ayer acknowledged in a recent Burlington Free Press report that she had considered running for Senate majority leader at the Democrats’ leadership caucus that was held this past Saturday, Jan. 5. But Ayer confirmed on Thursday, Jan. 3, that she had decided to remove herself from consideration for the post in view of her expected time commitments as chairwoman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. That panel will play a lead role this biennium in helping Vermont implement provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act and put the state on a path to a single-payer health care system.
“That was my dilemma,” said Ayer, the former assistant majority leader of the Senate.
“I ended up deciding that health care was more important.”
As the Addison Independent went to press, only Sen. Philip Baruth, D-Chittenden County, had declared interest in serving in the Senate majority leader position. Former Sen. Bill Carris, D-Rutland, most recently held the job.
Ayer said she hoped a senator “with experience” lands the majority leader position. The Senate drew scrutiny during the last biennium for the sometimes discordant way in which business was conducted. But ultimately, Ayer believes, it will take many to keep the Senate on track.
“We are going to have to be good bees together,” Ayer said. “Keeping an organized and productive Senate is not just one person’s responsibility.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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