Kilmartin won’t seek re-election

Duncan Kilmartin.

Duncan Kilmartin.

copyright the Chronicle May 14, 2014

by Paul Lefebvre

Duncan Kilmartin will not seek re-election to the Vermont House.

In a farewell address to members of the House last week, Mr. Kilmartin did not explain his decision to step down, preferring instead to thank legislators for their prayers and thoughts for his wife, Gail, who is known to be ill.

Mr. Kilmartin, a Newport attorney, was known for his biting wit and his elocution skills.

“He was never at a loss for words,” recalled his friend and running mate, Michael Marcotte of Coventry.

Mr. Kilmartin served seven terms representing Newport, Newport Center and Coventry — a two-member district that he initially represented with John Hall of Newport.

The two were elected in 2000 as members of a conservative coalition that was strongly opposed to the state’s new civil union law, which extended the same rights and privileges to gay and lesbian couples that married couples enjoyed.

Around the county, and eventually around the state, the coalition became known as the Six-Pack. Each member won a seat to the House in the 2000 election.

In the 2004 election Mr. Marcotte defeated Mr. Hall in a Republican primary and joined Mr. Kilmartin in representing Orleans District 2 in the House. The two have been district mates ever since.

In an interview Tuesday, Mr. Marcotte said he believes that Mr. Kilmartin has mellowed over the years.

“He started out on the right side of the aisle but was closer to the middle when he left,” Mr. Marcotte said.

The two of them worked well together, he said, as he described Mr. Kilmartin as first a friend and secondly a colleague, a man who legislated with passion and cared for people.

For his constituents, it may have been difficult to separate Mr. Kilmartin the legislator from Mr. Kilmartin the lawyer. Mr. Marcotte said it troubled his district mate that people often failed to distinguish between the two public roles Mr. Kilmartin played.

“People often looked at him as if he had a conflict,” said Mr. Marcotte.

No name has yet surfaced to fill Mr. Kilmartin’s spot on the Republican ticket. Finding a candidate may be the last and most difficult political errand left for Mr. Kilmartin and Mr. Marcotte.

“Michael and I are looking for someone with common sense to send to a place where it is commonly lacking,” Mr. Kilmartin said Tuesday.

contact Paul Lefebvre at paul@bartonchronicle.com

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