Welch Loses Second Senior Staffer | Off Message

Welch Loses Second Senior Staffer


  • Terri Hallenbeck
  • Jon Copans
Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) is losing a second key Vermont staffer in two weeks. Deputy state director and campaign manager Jon Copans is taking a new job with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Last week, the Vermont State Colleges announced they'd hired Welch's state director, Tricia Coates, as their new director of external affairs. On Tuesday, Secretary of Natural Resources Deb Markowitz introduced Copans to legislators as DEC's new senior policy adviser. He sat in as the House Fish, Wildlife & Water Resources Committee heard from various ANR officials.

Copans replaces Trey Martin, who was promoted last month to deputy ANR secretary. Martin, in turn, replaced Justin Johnson, who is Gov. Peter Shumlin's new secretary of administration.

Coates and Copans are among the last remaining staffers who have worked with Welch since he took office in 2007. Copans, a Brattleboro native, also managed Welch's last three campaigns.

"It's honestly not easy to decide to go," said Copans, who previously served as executive director of the Vermont Democratic Party.

Welch spokesman Ryan Nickel says the dual departures are no indication that anything's amiss. He says Welch has no announcement yet on replacements.

In a statement, Welch wished both of them well.

“Tricia and Jon have been extraordinary members of our team from the start and they will be sorely missed," he said. "They each, in their own ways, brought a strong sense of professionalism, public service and humility to their jobs and a deep devotion to improving the lives of Vermonters. We wish them well and look forward to watching them excel in their new jobs, as they did in our office.”

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