The Westminster Democrat says he won't seek re-election this year, after nearly 30 years serving in the Vermont House.
Deen, who was first elected to the House to represent Windham County in 1991, will complete his 13th term this session. Though technically his time in Montpelier starts a few years earlier.
Deen was originally elected to the Senate in 1987. But he lost a close re-election race to an opponent funded by the National Rifle Association after Deen introduced a background check bill.
A long-time fisherman, Deen says it was a sobering experience; being a first-term lawmaker and having the NRA identify him as not being a friend to hunters.
Still, he says the responsibility of serving in the Statehouse encouraged him to run again for a House seat a few years later.
“It amazed me that I could actually pass stuff, or be part of passing stuff, that was really important to me,” he says. “And so the lesson stuck that having your hands on the issues of import to you, and hopefully to your constituents, was worth the fight.”
Debates over water issues used to happen in the Natural Resources and Energy Committee, and about 20 years ago, Deen helped move water resource legislation into the Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee.
He says that helped put more focus on clean water legislation.
Deen served as chairman of the Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee for 14 years and helped write stormwater run-off, municipal water planning, solid waste and stormwater rules, as well as stream protection laws after Tropical Storm Irene.
He also was a leader in challenging Entergy Vermont Yankee on its water discharge into the Connecticut River.
“My fingerprints are on most of the water protection chapters in Vermont Law,” he says. “I either sponsored or provided leadership or provided political organizing around most of the issues, and I’m proud of that.”
Deen is the second longest member currently serving in the Vermont House.
He is a professional fly fishing guide and says he hopes to travel to Alaska and Montana with his free time after his time in Montpelier comes to an end.