About Paul

Paul N. Poirier was born in Lewiston, Maine in 1948 and was educated in the local school system. Upon graduation from Saint Dominic’s High School in 1966, Paul attended Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. At Norwich, Paul was a stand out ice hockey player and won numerous awards while leading Norwich to post season victories. Paul graduating in 1970 earning a Bachelor of Science degree. Following graduation, Paul accepted a teaching position at Spaulding High School in Barre where he became the head coach of the boy’s ice hockey team. While at Spaulding, Paul continued his education at Norwich and received a Master’s degree in History and Government in 1973.

Paul always had an active interest in state and local politics. Shortly after moving to Barre in 1970, Paul joined the Barre City Democratic Party and worked on numerous local and state political races. In 1980, shortly after guiding the Spaulding ice hockey team to a state championship, Paul decided to make his first run for the Vermont General against 16-year political veteran, Lucille Mollinaroli. As was his trademark as a coach, Paul worked very hard and despite being a political rookie, he won his first of many elections to serve the residents of Barre City.

Paul quickly mastered the legislative process and in his first year was singled out by the Burlington Free Press as a person in Vermont politics to watch. Poirier made this prophesy come true as he rose to become Democratic leader in his second term and later became the first democrat to hold the position of House Majority Leader. Paul served in the Legislature until 1988 when he turned his attention to the national level and announced his candidacy for the United States Congress. Paul won a hotly contested Democratic primary election, but failed in his efforts in a three-way November general election.

In 1997, Paul returned to the Legislature and served as Chairman of the House Committee on Health and Human Services. During this legislative tenure, Paul focused on increasing access to health care and developing a new federal welfare system for Vermont that required work as a component for benefits. In 2000, Paul left the legislature to accept a position as patient advocate for Vermont Protection and Advocacy Group. In 2008, Paul returned to the Legislature for a third time and now serves as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Health Care.

Paul has been a fifteen year member of the Barre City Council since first being elected in 1990. Paul’s work as a City Councilor and a State Representative allows him to to see the big picture in terms of what is best for local and state public policy as they affect Barre residents. As an Independent, Paul has been able to work with all three major political parties in the state house, including the successful pursuit of the Department of Education re-location to the City Place building in downtown Barre. Paul is currently working to ensure the successful re-development of the former Lash building in downtown Barre.

Public Service Highlights:

  • Member of the Vermont House of Representatives: 1981-1982, 1983-1984 (Assistant Minority Leader, Member of the House and Joint Rules Committees), 1985-1986 (Majority Leader, Vice-Chair House Rules Committee, Member of Joint Rules Committee), 1987-1988 (Majority Leader, Vice-Chair House Rules Committee, Member ofJoint Rules Committee, Chair of Select House Committee on Economic Growth), 1997-1998 (Chair House Health and Welfare Committee, Member of Health Oversight Committee, Chair of House Select Committee on Health Care Reform), 1999-2000 (Chair of House Health and Welfare Committee, Member of Health Oversight Committee, Member on Eastern States Pharmaceutical Reform Committee), 2009-2010 (Member of the House Committee on Health Care), 2011-2012 (Ranking Member of House Committee on Health Care)
  • Member of the Barre City Council: 1990-1999, 2008-present
  • District 5 Environmental Commission: 1991-1997
  • Aldrich Public Library Trustees: 2008-present
  • Past Executive Director of the Turning Point Center of Central Vermont
  • Past President of the Green Mountain United Way