Scott Taps Colston to Fill Winooski Seat in Vermont House | Off Message

Scott Taps Colston to Fill Winooski Seat in Vermont House


  • Courtesy of Hal Colston
  • Hal Colston
It's decided.

Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday that he will appoint Winooski City Councilor Hal Colston to fill the vacant Chittenden 6-7 House seat.

Colston will be sworn in Wednesday to represent all of Winooski and a small portion of Burlington. He'll replace Clem Bissonnette, who announced his resignation last month.

"Hal has dedicated much of his life to public service and improving the lives of people in his community,” Scott said in a statement. “As a city councilor and executive director of SerVermont, Hal has made it his mission to advocate for equity and justice for all, and I look forward to working with him in the Legislature.”

Colston, in his own statement, thanked supporters and made note of the racial barrier that his appointment transcends.

"It’s an honor to receive this historic appointment from Governor Scott to serve the people of Winooski in the House of Representatives as the first African American man from Chittenden County to be seated,” Colston said. “I’m excited to get to work and I believe my experience and perspective will be an asset in the General Assembly.”

The fate of the seat has been a topic of debate for several months. Bissonnette, a Democrat, initially planned to run in 2018. But he announced last September that he was retiring and moving out of Winooski. At that point, it was too late to get his name off the ballot, and he won reelection, even though Colston ran a write-in campaign.

After his November win, Bissonnette vowed to serve after all. He changed his mind again on Christmas Eve and announced he was, indeed, resigning from the House.

Colston, a Democrat, told Seven Days last week that he would continue to serve on the city council even if appointed to the legislature.