Rep. Bill Botzow introduces Kesha Ram at her October 2015 lieutenant gubernatorial campaign kickoff in Burlington
Yet another committee chair is leaving the Vermont House.
Rep. Bill Botzow (D-Pownal), who runs the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee, announced in a letter to constituents that he will not seek a ninth term this fall. The Bennington Bannerfirst reported his decision.
"I thought hard about it. I'm at peace with the decision," Botzow told Seven Days. "Sixteen years. I've got a life. I have responsibilities and hopefully opportunities. I thought hard about it." He added that former representative Martha Heath once told him about retirement, "You just know when you know."
Botzow is the fifth House chair to announce his departure this year, following Rep. Helen Head (D-South Burlington) of the General, Housing and Military Affairs Committee; Rep. David Sharpe (D-Bristol) of the Education Committee; Rep. David Deen (D-Westminster) of the Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife Committee; and Rep. Stephen Carr (D-Brandon) of the Energy and Technology Committee.
Two Senate committee chairs are also stepping down: Sen. Peg Flory (R-Rutland) of the Institutions Committee and Sen. Claire Ayer (D-Addison) of the Health and Welfare Committee.
A visual artist, Botzow is opening an exhibition of his paintings and sculptures June 2 at the Bennington Museum.
Of his work in the legislature, he said, "I think it's another art form ... Your job is to put marks on paper that hopefully [make] a contribution. The lessons I've learned from one go into the other, and vice versa."
Botzow has served in the legislature since 2003. He is in his eighth year as chair of the Commerce Committee. He said that Nelson Brownell, chair of the Pownal Select Board, will be a Democratic candidate to succeed him in the legislature.