Windsor’s Sweaney Won’t Seek Re-Election

  • Donna Sweaney, a Windsor representative, leads a comittee meeting as the Chair of the House Committee of Government Operations at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier, Vt., on January 24, 2013. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/6/2016 12:21:41 AM
Modified: 5/6/2016 12:21:50 AM

Windsor — State Rep. Donna Sweaney this week said she won’t seek another term in Montpelier, ending a two-decade career in the Vermont House, including 12 years as chairwoman of the House Committee on Government Operations.

“I think it’s time for new blood, new ideas,” said Sweaney, a former elementary school counselor who turns 73 next month. “I enjoyed working on making laws and making life better for Vermonters.”

Sweaney, an Ohio native and former Windsor Selectboard member, said she is most proud of being involved in passage of Vermont’s civil unions law in 2000, a landmark at the time for same-sex couples.

“One that will stick in my mind is the civil unions (bill) and the civil unions debate and to be part of that to take the country, and even the world, forward and giving people equality for life,” Sweaney said.

She said she also was proud that her committee work included reapportioning Vermont’s House districts following the 2010 Census in a way that didn’t provoke any legal challenges.

Sweaney’s two-seat Windsor 1 represents Windsor, Hartland and West Windsor, and fellow incumbent John Bartholomew, D-Hartland, is expected to seek re-election. Sweaney said Windsor native Paul Belaski, head of the Windsor Democratic Town Committee, may be interested in running for her seat.

House Majority Leader Sarah Copeland Hanzas, D-Bradford, said she was sad to see Sweaney departing, but also glad her colleague was doing so on her own terms.

“I have very much admired Donna and her composure, her fairness, her sense of the right way to maintain the respectul customs of the building,” Copeland Hanzas said. “She’s been a mentor to everyone.”

Sweaney said she was looking foward to spending more time with her husband, working on some projects around Windsor, and perhaps spending a couple of weeks “someplace warm” in the winter, as opposed to making a regular 70-mile trek to Montpelier.

“I have winter to not be worrying about where I’m driving in the snow,” she said.

John Gregg can be reached at

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