U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D) has named John Tracy as his State Director, overseeing his activities and staff in Vermont. Tracy replaces Chuck Ross, Vermont’s new Secretary of Agriculture in the administration of Governor Peter Shumlin.Tracy, a graduate of UVM, is in his fifth year as Field Representative for Leahy, traveling the state and helping Vermonters and their communities in their dealings with federal programs and agencies.Leahy said Tracy brings timely experience and leadership skills to his new post. ‘With health reform topping agendas in both Vermont and the nation, John is perfectly suited to help advance our work in improving health care in Vermont.’Long active also on veterans issues and an Army veteran of Vietnam himself, Tracy is the father of one of the Vermont National Guard members who just returned from a year of service in Afghanistan. Leahy said the Tracy family’s experience was a window on the sacrifices being made by Vermont Guard members and their families. ‘As the father of one of Vermont’s own in Afghanistan, John and his family have been touchstones for us and for others through a difficult and dangerous deployment.’Like Ross, Tracy joined Leahy’s staff after service in the Vermont Legislature. He was Democratic Leader in the House and Democratic Caucus Leader during Vermont’s historic civil unions debate. As chair of the Committee on Health Care Reform, Tracy was at the forefront in designing and negotiating major Vermont health reform initiatives, including Catamount Health.