Copeland Hanzas Enters the Race for Secretary of State | Education | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Copeland Hanzas Enters the Race for Secretary of State


Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas (D-Bradford) - COLIN FLANDERS ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Colin Flanders ©️ Seven Days
  • Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas (D-Bradford)
Longtime Democratic lawmaker Sarah Copeland Hanzas (D-Bradford) is joining the race to succeed outgoing Secretary of State Jim Condos.

Copeland Hanzas (D-Bradford), chair of the House Government Operations Committee, confirmed her candidacy to Seven Days Thursday.

"I have a history of 18 years of public service of taking on really complicated and complex topics and leading on them, and I want to be the next defender of democracy in Vermont," Copeland Hanzas said.

She said she expected to release more details about her ideas for the office on May 3.

Copeland Hanzas will face two previously declared candidates in the primary.

Deputy secretary of state Chris Winters made his intentions clear in February after his boss announced his retirement plans. Condos heaped praise on his top lieutenant, who lives in Williamstown and has worked in state government for 25 years.

Last month, Montpelier City Clerk John Odum announced he would run for the post, citing concerns about election security. Odum has been clerk in the capital city for a decade.

Copeland Hanzas was first elected in 2004. She served a term as majority leader under Speaker Shap Smith and ran to replace him as speaker 2016, losing to Mitzi Johnson.

She ran for speaker again in 2020 after Johnson lost her reelection bid, but dropped out and threw her support behind Rep. Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington), who assumed the role.

As the chair of the Government Operations committee, she regularly deals with the complexities of  state election law. Her committee helped draft the changes to election rules required by the pandemic, including allowing universal vote-by-mail.

Her committee also painstakingly redrew the House districts during the recent redistricting effort and has tackled racial justice in policing and pension reform. She is co-chair of the Climate Solutions Caucus.

She is married, has three adult daughters and owned a Bradford coffee shop, The Local Buzz, for 11 years until it closed last year. She studied history and geology at the University of Vermont.