Abbey Duke Replaces Emma Mulvaney-Stanak in Legislature | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice


Abbey Duke Replaces Emma Mulvaney-Stanak in Legislature


Published May 6, 2024 at 2:21 p.m.

Abbey Duke - COURTESY
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  • Abbey Duke
Updated at 4:36 p.m.

Gov. Phil Scott has appointed the owner of a prominent catering company to fill the Burlington legislative seat left vacant when Emma Mulvaney-Stanak resigned last month after becoming mayor of the Queen City.

Abbey Duke, the founder and chief executive officer of South Burlington-based Sugarsnap, will represent the residents of the Chittenden-17 district, which includes parts of the Old North End and New North End. She was sworn in at the Statehouse on Monday and voted on bills to try to make oil companies pay for climate change costs and to expand workers’ organizing rights.

Duke will serve the remainder of Mulvaney-Stanak’s term, which isn’t long. The General Assembly could adjourn as soon as this week, with a likely return on June 17 to try to override any vetoes.

“I appreciate Abbey for her willingness to get involved and serve the people of Burlington,” Scott said in a statement. “Her experience as a successful small business owner will add a valuable perspective to the House.”

Because Mulvaney-Stanak was elected as a Progressive-Democrat, both parties submitted lists to the governor with potential replacements. Duke was on the Democrats' list.

Scott's pick was a disappointment to Progressives. Sen. Tanya Vyhovsky (P/D-Chittenden-Central) called it "concerning" that Scott "did not respect the will of the voters" by appointing a Progressive to the seat.

"I know there is not a rule that he has to do this," Vyhovsky wrote in an email. "However, I know that is the long followed precedent."

In an interview on Monday, Duke defended her selection, noting that Mulvaney-Stanak also ran in the Democratic primary.

Duke founded Sugarsnap in 2002, selling prepared meals from vegetables grown on her farm in the Intervale. At its peak, the company ran three cafés, the farm and a catering business but in recent years has focused on its catering business.

Duke told Seven Days that she’s interested in running for a full term but hasn’t committed to it yet.

“I’m spreading my wings a little, I guess,” she said.

Duke also serves as chair of the Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Commission.

While in the legislature, Mulvaney-Stanak was a proponent of a bill that would allow overdose-prevention sites to open in Vermont, something Gov. Phil Scott has said he would veto.

Duke told Seven Days that she would vote to override a potential veto.

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