Vermont House Speaker

Vermont House chamber
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The leader of majority Democrats in the Vermont House is dropping her bid to become the state's next speaker.

The Democratic Caucus plans to elect a nominee for speaker on Saturday. The entire House will then vote on that nominee in January.

Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas tells The Burlington Free Press she's no longer seeking the position because Rep. Mitzi Johnson has more support among Democratic lawmakers.
Johnson, a Democrat from South Hero, is now unopposed in the election.

Vermont State Representative Paul Poirier says he will run for speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives.

The Barre Democrat says he will announce his plans formally Wednesday during an event at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier.

Poirier was first elected to the Legislature in 1980. Over the years he has served 16 years. He will start his 9th term in January.

There's no word on whether current speaker Representative Shap Smith of Morristown will seek re-election to the post he's held since 2009.