Middlebury honors Betty Nuovo for decades of service

MIDDLEBURY — More than 50 people turned out at the Middlebury municipal building on Tuesday to celebrate Rep. Betty Nuovo, D-Middlebury, for a public service career that has included a combined total of three decades in the Vermont House and many additional years of service to other municipal and Addison County causes.
The Middlebury selectboard — of which she was once a member — hosted Tuesday’s gathering and presented her with a resolution honoring her contributions to the town and state. Sharing anecdotes and praise for Nuovo were former Rep. Paul Ralston, D-Middlebury; Nuovo’s current seatmate, Rep. Amy Sheldon, D-Middlebury; selectboard Chairman Brian Carpenter; and state Sen. Chris Bray, D-New Haven.
Bray shared a letter of congratulations from his colleague Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, who could not attend the function. He also offered some comments of his own, describing the day when he saw Nuovo chastise Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly, who visited the Statehouse during the same-sex marriage debate.
“Betty gave Bill O’Reilly a piece of her mind,” Bray recalled. “I think he ran out of the building.”
Sheldon recognized Nuovo as a leader, and mentor of newly minted lawmakers, such as herself.
“I want to thank her for adopting me over the last biennium and showing me the way, sharing with me her pearls of wisdom and the direct style we have already recognized,” said Sheldon, who is seeking re-election this year.
Ralston called Nuovo a friend and former colleague who helped him learn the ropes in the Statehouse. He also joked about riding in Nuovo’s car for occasional trips to Montpelier. Nuovo’s car, he recalled, had a special feature:
“When it reached a certain speed — I think it was 80 — an alarm would go off,” Ralston said, eliciting laughs from the crowd.
Nuovo, 84, was clearly moved by the outpouring of appreciation and affection.
“I enjoyed all of it,” she said of the many bills she worked on as a legislator and the campaigning prior to elections.
“People can’t believe it, but I liked knocking on doors,” Nuovo said. “You meet the whole town and some places I never knew existed … It was fun.”
Along with serving in the Legislature Nuovo served stints on the Middlebury Planning Commission, selectboard, town charter committee and as the town’s delegate to the Addison County Regional Planning Commission. She was also active on the boards of the Addison County League of Women Voters, Chamber of Commerce, Addison County Economic Development Corp., Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op and Addison County Garden Club.
The Independent wrote an extensive story on Nuovo’s retirement when she made her announcement last January. That article appeared in the Jan. 21 issue of the paper and will appear with this story online at addisonindependent.com.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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