CLAIRE D. AYER was raised and educated in the Champlain Valley.
She graduated from Champlain Valley Union High School, Jeanne
Mance School of Nursing (RN, 1969), and Middlebury College (BA,
Environmental Studies, Cum Laude, 1992). Senator Ayer is
currently the chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
Following Nursing School, she married Alan Ayer, and they have
two daughters and a son. After four years in the U.S. Air Force,
they became residents of Weybridge in 1979.
Senator Ayer was a founding member of the Middlebury River
Watershed Partnership and served as an advisor to the UVM
Extension Natural Resources Board. She served six years on the
Weybridge School Board, all but the first as Chair.
She also served on the Middlebury Area Land Trust, the Weybridge
Conservation Commission, and the Lake Champlain Sea Grant
Committee. Ayer is a Justice of the Peace, as well as a member
of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing
and the American Legion Auxiliary. In addition, she served as a
member of the Electoral College in 2008.
After graduating from Middlebury College at age 44, Ayer served
as a director on the board of the Otter Creek Natural Resources
Conservation District and worked with local farmers and land
users, state and federal agencies, and non-profit organizations
to help landowners conserve resources while protecting water
quality. She worked to develop new, cooperative relationships
between Vermont agencies dealing with the environment and
agriculture. Senator Ayer represented twelve Northeastern states
as she led several national committees dealing with natural
resource conservation policy and funding.
During her first three terms in the Vermont Senate, Ayer served
on the following Senate committees: Agriculture, Transportation,
Finance, Government Operations, and as Vice Chair of Natural
Resources and Energy. She also served on the Judicial Retention
and Health Access Oversight committees. She was elected to serve
on the UVM Board of Trustees for six years.
Update, Summer 2010
My priorities remain the same as they were eight years ago:
health care, the economy and the environment. While we’ve made
progress in each area, we still have a long way to go. This past
session was mostly about the economy. I supported and promoted
legislation that used stimulus money to create and retain jobs
in Vermont, as well as to retrain Vermont workers for our 21st
century economy. When faced with tough budget choices, I worked
to make budget cuts that spared our most important programs. I
did not support programs for which we had inadequate funding or
were financed with deferred spending. In the end, every part of
state government contributed to balancing this year’s budget.
Although the legislative session is just five months long, I
continue to represent and serve myconstituents twelve months of
the year. I visit people in every town in Addison County and
Brandon and participate in local and county events. In addition
to my legislative work and community advocacy, I have taken on
more responsibility in and out of the State House.
For four years, I’ve been Vice-Chair of the Senate’s Finance
Committee, which deals with the state’s budget. I represent the
Senate on the Lake Champlain Basin Committee, which works to
improve water quality, the economy, and the environment for
Addison County and other towns surrounding the lake. As a member
of UVM’s Board of Trustees, I work to shape higher education
policy for the state.
At UVM, I served a year as Chair of the College of Agriculture
Board and moved on to serve as Chair of Educational Programs and
Institutional Resources Committee, which enables me to influence
academic quality and direction at UVM, as well as ensure the
transfer of knowledge gained from our research to Vermonters who
can put it to work.
In 2009, I was appointed to represent the Senate on the Building
Bright Futures (BBF) Council and was recently elected to the
board of the Champlain Valley Area Health Education Center (AHEC),
both exciting opportunities to learn and serve. The mission of
AHEC is to improve access to high quality health care for
Vermonters. In a nutshell, we do that by promoting health
careers, supporting healthcare students, and supporting
healthcare professionals in under-served areas of Vermont.
The BBF is a statewide effort of private industry, state
agencies, educators, physicians, and child care professionals to
organize what is currently a “patch work” of services for young
children to avoid overlaps, cover the holes, and give Vermont
kids the care they need when their brains are developing faster
than at any other point in their lives. As a new grandmother,
I’m a believer in the importance of this effort and the
necessity of coordinating resources to provide optimal
opportunities and growth for our children.
I was also re-elected by my Senate peers to continue as
Assistant Majority Leader, which enables me to influence what
bills come up for a vote in the Senate. Finally, I was appointed
to the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules in 2009.
While it sounds a bit dry and bureaucratic, it’s the committee
that ensures state agencies make rules that accurately meet the
legislature’s intent. It’s demanding, but it gives me a wider
view of legislative issues than I would otherwise have and, as a
result, I can serve my constituents and colleagues better.
I look forward to serving Addison County and Brandon in the
Vermont Senate for another two years and will appreciate your
vote. Please call me if you have questions or comments.
504 Thompson Hill Road, Weybridge, VT 05753
My home number is 545-2142. Montpelier number: 800-322-5616
(during the session)