Shumlin names Ryerson to open House seat
Staff Report | November 09,2013
In this Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2013, photo, Marjorie Ryerson is interviewed after learning that she was appointed to the Vermont Legislature by Gov. Peter Shumlin in Randolph, Vt. Ryerson a 40-year resident of Randolph Village and a select board member, is a poet, writer and editor, and has been a professor at two of Vermont's state colleges. The appointment of the Democrat means that for the first time, a majority caucus in the Vermont Legislature has more women than men.(AP Photo/ The Herald of Randolph / Bob Eddy)
MONTPELIER — For the first time in the history of the state, women will outnumber men in a major-party caucus of the Legislature.
Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Friday that he’ll appoint Marjorie Ryerson, a former Castleton State College professor, to the House seat formerly held by Rep. Larry Townsend, a Democrat who died after an illness earlier this year.
Ryerson, a 40-year Randolph resident and a Select Board member who is a poet, writer and editor, beat out two other candidates forwarded to Shumlin by the local Democratic committee.
“It was a difficult choice because there were three exceptional candidates,” Shumlin said. “I am excited to make this appointment, and I look forward to working with Marjorie in the upcoming legislative session. I know she will do a great job representing the district and working for all Vermonters.”
Ryerson’s appointment means women will hold a majority of the 96 House seats occupied by Democrats, the first time that’s happened in a caucus of either major party in either body of the Legislature, according to the administration.
“It is both amazing and sobering that we should celebrate such a milestone only now in 2013,” said House Speaker Shap Smith. “But it is a reflection of the tremendous strides that women have made in the last 30 years and is something that all Vermonters can and should celebrate.”
Ryerson taught writing and photography at Castleton State College from 1991 to 2005. She has been a writer and editor for a number of Vermont publications, including Vermont Life, The Times Argus and the Burlington Free Press.