“After 14 years of service, Rep. Tony Klein, D-Montpelier, the influential chairman of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee, says he won’t seek reelection to his seat in 2016. Klein’s decision is the latest in a string of high-profile legislative retirements.
“People need to know that this is not an easy job,” Klein said. “It is draining. It’s also wonderful, it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life, an incredible experience. But it really takes a toll on your life.” “It will be nice to just be Tony Klein, resident of East Montpelier,” he added.
Klein, 69, said that he won’t seek any future political posts, and that he plans to spend more time with his wife, children and grandkids once the session ends. He added a slight caveat, saying “I would like to, on some level, remain involved in the energy field and the solid waste field.” The legislator said he made the decision to retire shortly after the legislature adjourned last May, and added that he almost didn’t run for reelection in 2014.
Klein said a number of factors spurred his retirement, among them the end of House Speaker Shap Smith’s service. Smith and Klein are close friends. Klein also said the amount of time he served felt like enough, and that his district deserved fresh blood.
“I made the decision when I first got elected that I’d only serve for 10 years,” he said. “I’m four years beyond that.” Klein chaired the House Committee on Natural Resources and Energy for eight years, and said some of his greatest accomplishments involved renewable energy legislation.
“When I look back over the series of energy policy bills that have passed, we have moved this state in 15 years to the forefront of renewable energy generation and efficiency,” Klein said. “We are worldwide leaders, I’m certainly proud of that effort.”
Klein also cited his work helping constituents and the legislature’s work on marriage equality as other highlights in his political career. Klein has been the only representative from Washington County’s relatively new fifth district, and he said he expects a number of candidates to vie for his seat.
He wouldn’t name any potential candidates but said “I plan on strongly supporting and ensuring the victory of whoever the Democratic candidate is.” Klein’s announcement comes a day after Rep. Tim Jerman, D-Essex Junction, said he won’t seek reelection. Other legislators leaving the dome after the session include House Speaker Shap Smith and Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell. Longtime Sen. Diane Snelling stepped down in late March to serve to take a key state environmental job.”
Awards and Endorsements:
Certificate of Appreciation from the Vermont Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar
Certificate of Appreciation for lecturing in the UVM class “What is Vermont’s Energy Future”
In January, Bill MckKibben spoke to the Vermont Legislature and he singled out several legislators, including myself, calling me “one of our most devoted environmental legislators”. This is quite an honor, given Bill McKibben’s background and hard work on the environmental front.
Here’s a link to that inspiring speech:
“BossLift” Veteran Certificate from the Vermont Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve
Vermont Natural Resources Council Legislator of the Year
Vermont Veterinary Medical Assoc Legislator of the Year
US Humane Society Humane State Legislator of the Year
VT Businesses for Social Responsibility Legislator of the Year Award
Vermont League of Conservation Voters Environmental Champion Award – Vermont House
Renewable Energy Vermont Legislative Champion Award
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility Legislator of the Year
Named by the Burlington Free Press one of six Legislature “Standouts” for work on energy efficiency
Letter of Appreciation for lecturing at Hazen Union High School After School Reach Program
Vermont State Employees Association Leadership Award
Rural Vermont Award for supporting Vermont Farmers
Vermont Trooper’s Foundation
National Rifle Association of America
National Association of Social Workers
Vermont Renewable Energy Political Action Committee