State Government

Longtime Montpelier lawmaker dies

Warren Kitzmiller (second from right) began an annual Montpelier coat drive in honor of his late wife, Rep. Karen Kitzmiller. He was appointed to fill her seat in 2001 and was subsequently elected for 10 more terms. Community National Bank photo.

by Guy Page

Warren Kitzmiller, a member of the Vermont House of Representatives since 2001, has died. Kitzmiller, a Democrat, also founded Onion River Sports in Montpelier and a local coat drive in honor of his late wife.

Warren Frederick Kitzmiller was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, according to his State House biography. He moved to Vermont in 1963 and became a resident of Montpelier in 1974, when he founded Onion River Sports from which he was retired. He was appointed to the House in 2001, following the death of his wife, the late State Representative Karen Kitzmiller.

Rep. Warren Kitzmiller

In 2006, he married his childhood friend, Jeanne Cariati. They have four adult children and four grandchildren. He was a member of the Vermont Retail & Grocers Association; Friends of the Vermont State House, trustee; Lost Nation Theater, director. He was a former member of: Montpelier City Council; Planning Commission; Recreation Board; Board of Civil Authority.

In 2001 he was appointed to fill the term of his late wife, Rep. Karen Kitzmiller. In 2002 he was elected to the first of 10 consecutive terms in the House, and was still a member at the time of his death. His committee assignment was House Commerce and Economic Development. He announced earlier this year he was not planning to run for re-election.

Kitzmiller’s final roll call vote was May 12, in which he voted yes on the final reading of the 2022-23 state budget. Kitzmiller was a genial man who was generally considered a reliable “yes” vote for the Democratic caucus. However, he endeared himself to vaccine freedom supporters by being the only Democrat to co-sponsor H322, exemption to immunizations required for attendance at school and child care facilities on the basis of conscientious and personal beliefs.

The date and manner of his passing are unknown to the Vermont Daily Chronicle at this time. He was believed to be in declining health during this year’s session.

Vermont Democratic Party Chair Anne Lezak reportedly stated this morning:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Representative Warren Kitzmiller. He was a kind, honest, hard-working legislator for over 20 years. Rep. Kitzmiller made Montpelier and the Legislature better by his presence, and will be dearly missed. We offer our thoughts and sincere condolences to his family at this difficult time.”

House Speaker Jill Krowinski reportedly issued this statement Sunday:

“I am heartbroken to hear about the passing of Representative Warren Kitzmiller. Representative Kitzmiller was first appointed to represent Montpelier in the House in 2001, following the death of his wife, the late state Representative Karen Kitzmiller. This year, Warren decided to retire and not run for re-election after 22 years of service. His proudest moment was his vote on marriage equality. Many of us will remember Warren not only for that vote but his love for and dedication to his Montpelier community. I will always remember him talking passionately about the annual cold weather coat drive. My thoughts are with his family and the Montpelier community. He will be deeply missed. Warren is survived by his wife, Jeanne Cariati, and daughters Amy and Carrie.”

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