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WCAX News Director To Serve As Ag Secretary In Scott Administration

The longtime news director at WCAX, Anson Tebbetts, will serve as secretary of the Agency of Agriculture under the incoming administration of Governor-elect Phil Scott.

Tebbetts, who served as deputy secretary of agriculture for two years under former Gov. James Douglas, was among four appointees announced by Scott’s transition team Wednesday.

Joe Flynn, who has been serving as deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Safety under Gov. Peter Shumlin, has been promoted to secretary of the Agency of Transportation by Scott. It isn’t entirely new territory for Flynn, who worked as a director in the Agency of Transportation under Shumlin in 2011 and 2012.

Tebbetts replaces outgoing Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross; Flynn will replace Transportation Secretary Chris Cole.

Scott also announced that Cory Gustafson, director of government and public communications at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, will serve as commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access. The department oversees Vermont’s $1.5 billion Medicaid program, as well as Vermont Health Connect, which serves as a government-run marketplace for private health insurance plans sold by Blue Cross.

And Rep. Alyson Eastman, an independent who’s represented Shoreham, Whiting, Orwell and Benson since 2015, will serve as deputy secretary of agriculture. Eastman, who will be resigning her post in the Legislature, owns her own agriculture consulting business.

Scott said in a news release that he will appoint Eastman’s replacement “as early in the legislative session as the nomination process allows.”

Scott’s appointments Wednesday leave only one secretary-level appointment left for the incoming Republican. And he likely won’t select a pick for that position — the secretary of education — until sometime into the new year, due to the nominating process used to fill that role.

“My goal with each appointment is to identify strong leaders who will work tirelessly on behalf of all Vermonters and who understand the urgent need to grow our workforce and economy and make Vermont more affordable,” Scott said in a written statement. “Anson, Alyson, Joe and Cory share these priorities and each brings unique experience and perspectives that will be a great asset to the state, our team and their individual agencies and departments.”

This post has been edited to correct Tebbetts' role in the Scott administration.

The Vermont Statehouse is often called the people’s house. I am your eyes and ears there. I keep a close eye on how legislation could affect your life; I also regularly speak to the people who write that legislation.
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