Fuel industry leader Matt Cota seeking South Burlington Council seat

Michael Bielawski/TNR

FUEL EXPERT: As the executive director of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, Matt Cota, left, represents thousands of Vermont employees who work in the transportation and heating sectors.

Matt Cota, executive director of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, is running for a two-year seat on the South Burlington City Council.

Cota is best known for his work in energy policy and news media, and he participates on numerous public service boards.

During his years in media, Cota worked as a reporter in New York for WPTZ-TV Channel 5, and in California he covered politics and the environment for KSBY in Santa Barbara. That experience has proved effective in his early campaign videos, including this one about South Burlington’s parking policy. Parking restrictions have been a hot-button issue in the city.

In 2007 Cota returned to Vermont to work with the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, where he represents the interests of hundreds of companies and thousands of employees. The VFDA also operates a technical trades school.

A frequent visitor to the House and Senate energy committees, Cota has been a vocal critic of the carbon tax, an oft-proposed initiative to put a higher cost on carbon-based fuels. He has frequently advocated for the expanded use of biofuels for home heating, arguing it’s an effective way to reduce carbon emissions while continuing to use existing fuel infrastructure.

Cota’s other public experience includes work with the Vermont Climate Action Commission, the Vermont Petroleum Cleanup Fund Advisory Committee, the New England Fuel Institute, and the Vermont Home Energy Assistance Task Force. He is currently on the South Burlington Development Review Board.

According to his campaign website, the main issues he is running on include the school bond, affordability and taxes, interim zoning and open space, minimum parking ban, the indoor active recreational center and energy.

Cota has a master’s degree in public policy from California State University, and he got his Bachelor of Arts in political communication from George Washington University.

In 2012, he received the Vermont Environmental Excellence Award for his promotion of cleaner fuels. In 2009 he received the Financial Services Champion of the Year award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Cota and his wife, Sarah Cota, an elementary teacher, hail from southern Vermont. The couple have two children who attend South Burlington High School.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Matt Cota/Facebook and Michael Bielawski/TNR

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