Gov. Phil Scott on Wednesday appointed Swanton resident Randy Brock to the Vermont Senate seat formerly held by Dustin Degree of St. Albans. Brock will join fellow Republican Carolyn Branagan in representing Franklin County when the legislature reconvenes next week.
Brock is a stalwart of the Vermont Republican Party. He served as state auditor from 2005 to 2007 and spent two terms in the Senate, from 2009 to 2013. He won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2012 but lost the general election to incumbent Peter Shumlin. He ran for lieutenant governor in 2016, losing to Progressive/Democrat David Zuckerman.
Degree, a two-term senator, resigned his seat in November after Scott appointed him to a senior post in his executive office, coordinating workforce development programs.
Brock was one of three men recommended to Scott by the Franklin District Republican Committee earlier this month. The other two were Daniel Pipes of Fairfield and Steve Trahan of St. Albans Town. Trahan is a former chair of the Franklin County Republican Party and a one-time candidate for the state legislature. Pipes is retiring from the Vermont National Guard with the rank of colonel after three decades of service.
In a statement announcing Brock's appointment, Scott cited his "invaluable experience in the private sector and in the legislature, which will allow him to hit the ground running next week when we start the second half of the biennium."
At 74, Brock will bring both experience and age to the Senate and the Republican caucus. The 32-year-old Degree was one of the GOP's most prominent young leaders. If the district party had put a higher priority on replacing youth with youth — and with setting up a young Republican for a future statewide run — it might well have chosen Rep. Corey Parent (R-St. Albans) who, at age 27, has already served three years in the House and is considered a leading figure in the House Republican caucus.
Brock will serve out the remainder of Degree's term, through the end of 2018.