|Member of the Vermont House of Representatives
from the Rutland-5-3 district
January 5, 2011
|Preceded by||Steven Howard|
|Born||March 23, 1953|
|Residence||Rutland City, Vermont, U.S.|
|Alma mater||University of Kentucky|
|Profession||Flight attendant (ret.)|
Herb Russell is an American politician from Rutland City, Vermont. A member of the Democratic Party, he was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 2010, representing the Rutland-5-3 district. He took office on January 5, 2011.
In his first term Russell successfully sponsored legislation to tighten copper theft penalties as well as worked on Rutland issues of the Western Rail Corridor, the Dorr & Ripley bridges, senior housing in Watkins School, sponsored John Deere historic birthplace sign and sponsored resolution for intercity bus service for Rutland.
A former flight attendant, Russell spent almost 30 years with American Airlines until retiring in 2004. He joined American in 1976, after spending a year with Allegheny Airlines and two years with Northwest Orient Airlines. He had previously attended two colleges, the State University of New York and the University of Kentucky, graduating from neither. Since retiring from American Airlines in 2004, he has worked for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in Atlantic City, followed by South Jersey Transportation Authority, then after moving to Vermont at the Equinox Hotel in Manchester, Vermont and currently is a Conductor on the Green Mountain Railroad.
In 2008 Russell was a leader in the successful effort to keep Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express train in Rutland, founding Friends of Rutland Rail. He has served on the board of the Vermont Rail Action Network and of Sustainable Rutland, both since 2009.
He ran for state representative in 2010, one of three candidates seeking one seat in the Rutland-5-3 district. The incumbent state representative, Democrat Steven Howard was vacating the seat to run for Lieutenant Governor. In the Democratic primary election held on August 24, Russell defeated Daniel P. White by 165 votes to 60. In the general election held on November 2, Russell was elected, defeating Republican nominee Carl J. Haas by 454 votes to 437. He took office on January 5, 2011. Russell announced he would not seek a third term, retiring in 2016. Russell returned to his beloved Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to retire among LGBTQ friends, where he remains active in CAMP Rehoboth as well as Epworth UMC.
While living in West Virginia in the 1990s, he ran twice for the West Virginia Senate, winning the 1992 primary, but did not appear on the general election ballot. He lost a subsequent 1996 primary race. He moved to Vermont in 2007.
Russell is openly gay; he married long-time partner Roberto Font-Russell in 2009 but divorced in 2011 changing his name from Font-Russell back to Russell. He is one of six openly gay members of the Vermont Legislature, alongside representatives Bill Lippert (D–Hinesburg), Matt Trieber (D–Bellows Falls) and Joanna E. Cole (D–Burlington), as well as senators Brian Campion (D–Bennington) and Becca Balint (D–Windham).
- "Font-Russell gets nod for Vt. House seat". Rutland Herald. August 25, 2010.
- "Vermont Secretary of State: 2010 general election results" (PDF).
- "Project Vote Smart: Rep. Herb Font-Russell".
- "Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute: Herb Font-Russell". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28.
- "Biographical Sketches of State Officers and Members of the General Assembly of 2011-2012" (PDF).