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Governor Phil Scott Appoints Deputy Commissioners at the Department of Liquor and Lottery

For Immediate Release

Friday, April 9, 2021


Jason Maulucci, Press Secretary

Office of the Governor 



Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced the appointments of Sabina Haskell and Wendy Knight as deputy commissioners at the Department of Liquor and Lottery.

“Sabina and Wendy are both innovative, motivated and committed individuals who bring strong leadership experience to these new roles,” said Governor Phil Scott. “I’m confident that they will hit the ground running and be an excellent team as we work to further integrate the Department.”

The Department of Liquor and Lottery was created in 2018 when Governor Scott signed Act 1 of the special session into law, merging the Department of Liquor Control with the Vermont State Lottery.

The appointments come after current deputy commissioner, Gary Kessler, announced his retirement, effective later this month.

“I want to thank Deputy Commissioner Kessler for his years of dedicated public service to the State and the people of Vermont,” said Governor Scott.

About Sabina Haskell

Sabina Haskell has been a member of the Liquor and Lottery Commission since 2018 and was the chair of the Vermont Lottery Commission prior to that.

Haskell’s wide-ranging business background in Vermont includes both the public and private sectors across a variety of industries. Most recently, she was director of public affairs at Vermont Student Assistance Corp., shining the light on VSAC’s mission to drive social equity and justice through access to education for all Vermonters.

Haskell previously served as regional communications director for FairPoint Communications, a telecommunications company that operated in 31 markets across 17 states.

Haskell also brings significant experience in management within state government. She served as deputy secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, appointed by Governor Jim Douglas in 2009.

For over a decade, she was an editor at newspapers in southern Vermont, including the Manchester Journal, Bennington Banner, Rutland Herald and Brattleboro Reformer.

She was president of the Vermont Press Association for three terms, a founding member of the Vermont Coalition for Open Government and has served on school and municipal boards in Sunderland, Montpelier, and Burlington. Appointed by Governor Peter Shumlin in 2014, Haskell also served on the board of directors for SerVermont, the state’s AmeriCorps program.

About Wendy Knight

Wendy Knight is a strategic business and marketing executive who brings creative ideas, critical thinking, and positive energy to solving challenges and growing enterprises. She has over 20 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience in the advertising, marketing, food and beverage, healthcare, media, non-profit, and publishing industries. 

From 2017 to 2019, she served as Vermont’s commissioner of the Department of Tourism and Marketing and vice chair of the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative. She was also part of the senior leadership team at the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and a strategic lead for ThinkVermont, a State economic development initiative.

Knight is a former craft beer store owner who has significant international experience in the hospitality and food and beverage sectors, working with distilled spirits companies, wineries, cider makers, brewers, restaurants, and lodging properties. Most recently, she was a consultant for On the Fly, a collective of experts providing technical assistance to Vermont’s hospitality businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19. She is a former acting executive director and board member of the Vermont Futures Project. 

Wendy is also a former journalist and author who has written 100+ articles for the New York Times and four non-fiction books, two of which won notable awards in their respective fields, and has appeared on ABC News, CNN, and NPR.  

Knight currently serves on the Vermont Commission on Women, and on the board of directors for the Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance, as well as their equity and diversity committee.  

Knight will begin her service on Monday, April 12 and Haskell will begin in May.




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