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Selectwoman Fills Vt. House Seat

Randolph — Randolph Selectwoman Marjorie Ryerson has been chosen to fill the seat in the Vermont House of Representatives formerly held by late Rep. Larry Townsend.

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced he had appointed Ryerson, a Democrat, in a news release this week.

“It was a difficult choice because there were three exceptional candidates,” Shumlin said in the release. “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.”

Townsend died in June following a battle with cancer. A Democrat, he had served in the House since 2008.

Ryerson’s appointment means that women outnumber men in either body of the Vermont legislature for the first time in state history. In a statement, Democratic Speaker of the House Shap Smith said reaching the milestone “only now in 2013” was “amazing and sobering.

“(I)t 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,” he said.

Smith said Ryerson’s roots in Randolph and experience in municipal government would help her serve as an effective representative.

Ryerson, a poet, writer and editor, has lived in Randolph Village for 40 years, according to the release. She has also served as a professor at two of Vermont’s state colleges.