|Attorney General of Vermont|
|Chittenden County State's Attorney|
|Birthday||January 15, 1974|
Donovan was one of six children born in Burlington, Vermont to parents Thomas and Johannah Leddy. A product of the Burlington public school system, Donovan went on to earn his bachelor's degree from Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. He remained in Massachusetts after graduation to attend law school at Suffolk University in Boston.
He launched his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ultimately, Donovan settled back in his hometown of Burlington and took a job as Deputy State’s Attorney for Chittenden County. He served in that position until 2006, when he was first elected to the office's top position of Chittenden County State's Attorney.
- B.A. from Merrimack College
- J.D. from Suffolk University
Chittenden County State's Attorney 2006-present
Donovan was first elected Chittenden County state’s attorney in 2006. He won his re-election bid in 2010.
Attorney General Candidacy
He officially launched his campaign for attorney general on May 10, 2012 at the St. John’s Club in Burlington. He kicked-off the event with a declaration of his intent to be an "Attorney General who creates partnerships that’s not only tough on crime, but smart on crime.”
On June 13, 2012, one day before Vermont's 2012 primary candidate filing deadline, The Seven Days weekly newspaper published a story revealing that at age 18 - over 20 years ago - Donovan was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after a drunken bar brawl. The story stemmed from a letter the newspaper received from an anonymous informant early in the week, the contents of which were verified by the current Chittenden County Attorney and 2012 attorney general challenger. Donovan followed the story's release with a statement of admission about his previously unknown criminal history. He elaborated on why that charge, which was reduced to a misdemeanor and ultimately expunged from his record, should not undermine his suitability to serve as the state's top law enforcement officer. Donovan told the paper that while he was "ashamed" of this run in with the law, along with other youthful indiscretions, the experiences provided him with an understanding about the legal and personal struggles substance abusers face which has benefited him as a prosecutor- in particular, the value of giving first time offenders a second chance. "I would say this gives me great insight into what we can do differently in the criminal justice system. I’ve lived it and I’ve tried to give back through the work I’ve done as a prosecutor," he said, citing examples of when he has used his personal history as a teachable moment for teens he has dealt with in court. When probed for comment on the revelation that his primary challenger has a criminal record, Incumbent attorney general Bill Sorrell said “I’m sure that whatever happened, he regrets, and it’s in the past and that’s where I’m going to leave it.”  Donovan, who refers to himself as a "social drinker" said he was not surprised to encounter a report of this nature surfacing only months before an election.
Addiction statistic gaff
Donovan's 2012 attorney general campaign centers on a pledge to tackle Vermont's rising prescription drug abuse problem. In late June, he participated in an interview on Vermont Public Radio, in which he addressed the state's drug crisis by citing, among other items to support his message, a false statistic that 1 in 7 babies in Vermont are born addicted to opiates. Almost immediately after the interview, he was pounced on by Health Department authorities for the mistake. In fact, the figure spoke to the number of pregnant women suffering from addiction. “About 1 in 7 obstetric patients in the Rutland Community has an addiction issue,” was the original statistic. Donovan released a statement of retraction days later, on June 29, admitting that he incorrectly relied on, and then relayed, the statistic, which he got from a WCAX report. Donovan hoped, however, that the blunder would not distract from the overarching issue of pregnant woman suffering from addiction. “I thought we did our due diligence,” Donovan said. “It’s since been corrected. We’re moving on.”
- See also: Vermont attorney general election, 2012
Donovan was narrowly defeated by seven-term incumbent Bill Sorrell in the Democratic party primary contest on August 28, 2012. Sorrell will face Republican Jack McMullen in the general election on November 6, 2012.
|Vermont Attorney General Democratic Primary, 2012|
|Bill Sorrell Incumbent||50.8%||21,124|
|Election Results Via: Vermont Secretary of State|
- Prescription Drug Abuse
Donovan's headline campaign platform is tackling the state's opiate-addiction epidemic. He cites the number of deaths due to overdose in Vermont as having outstripped traffic-accident fatalities. He plans to "support a 'Good Samaritan' law that would permit friends and relatives of prescription drug addicts to get them into treatment, without fear of prosecution." He also said he would partner with the Governor on his “War on Recidivism.”
Donovan wants to soften the state's marijuana enforcement laws. He supports a three-strike possession policy wherein a person cannot be charged with a crime until the third bust. Donovan differs from Sorrell on this issue insofar as Sorrell - who is personally in favor of outright decriminalization - claims that it is not the capacity of the state's chief law enforcement officer to pass a statue violating federal law.
- Public engagement
On his campaign website, Donovan said he wants to exploit newly available technologies to help Vermonters access legal information such as pending suits which may impact their rights and daily lives. Donovan pledged to "join the ranks of Attorneys General across the country who are effectively utilizing the web, social media and other communication tools to aid in preventing crime, protecting consumers and safeguarding our communities."
Donovan said that as attorney general he would work with the state legislature on solid laws underlining his philosophy that every Vermonter has a fundamental right to affordable healthcare.
- Elder abuse
In a July campaign speech, Donovan proposed how he would use the office to address the growing issue of physical and financial exploitation of the elderly: ”As attorney general, I will prioritize the creation of a new unit that will focus on investigating and prosecuting abuse suffered by seniors and vulnerable Vermonters and work to prevent such activities by aggressively increasing public awareness of theses (sic) issues.”
Before officially launching his campaign, Donovan had already received endorsements from more than 100 Vermont lawyers and several endorsements from the right, including a prominent boost from Republican Mayor of Rutland, Chris Louras, who issued her statement of "wholehearted" support on May 9. In the statement, Mayor Louras said, "To me, T.J. represents an opportunity for new energy, new ideas, and greater engagement on the issues Rutland’s citizens care about most," citing her trust in his capability to reform the state's criminal justice system to focus more on prevention than arrests. He received another key endorsement on June 28 from The Vermont State Employees Association, an influential union comprised of about 6,400 state workers. Donovan credits his status as a “middle class guy” for gaining the VSEA's and other major unions' support.
|Full Endorsement List (click "show"):|
Donovan currently resides in Burlington, Vermont with his wife, Jessica McCloud, a mental health counselor. The couple has one son, named Jack.
Tel: (802) 488-4800
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- Donovan sounds like a candidate, but for what office? - BurlingtonFreePress.com
- Voice of the Free Press: Moving beyond just opposition - vt.Buzz (blog)
- Obama Nominates Former NAACP Official To Top Civil Rights Post - Huffington Post
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- Attorney General of Vermont
- Current Vermont Attorney General Bob Sorrell
- Vermont attorney general election, 2012
- Filing deadline report: Vermont's one state executive primary could end record streak for Sorrell June 15
- Donovan 2012 Official Campaign Website
- Donovan on Facebook
- Follow Donovan's campaign on Twitter
- VT Digger article about Donovan's AG bid, March 19, 2012
- Burlington Free Press
- TJ Donovan Campaign Press Release April 3, 2012
- ↑ Burlington Free Press, "Sorrell claims victory says Donovan concedes," August 29, 2012
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 TJ Donovan for Attorney General Official Campaign Website, "About TJ," accessed June 14, 2012
- ↑ VT Digger, "In official campaign launch for AG Donovan says he'll 'be smart on crime'," May 11, 2012
- ↑ Bennington Banner, "AG takes challenge seriously," June 14, 2012
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Seven Days- Vermont's Independent Voice,, "Vermont AG candidate TJ Donovan had criminal record of his own," June 13, 2012
- ↑ The Burlington Free Press, "Attorney general candidate Donovan missteps with addiction stats," July 1, 2012
- ↑ Burlington Free Press, "Sorrell claims victory says Donovan concedes," August 29, 2012
- ↑ Burlington Free Press "T.J. Donovan announces bid for Attorney General," March 19, 2012
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 TJ Donovan for Attorney General, "Issues," accessed June 14, 2012
- ↑ Seven Days-Vermont's Independent Voice, "Come Judgment Day," August 1, 2012
- ↑ Burlington Free Press, "Donovan proposes unit to focus on elderly exploitation," July 11, 2012
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Democratic AG candidate picks up Republican mayor's endorsement," May 9, 2012
- ↑ VT Digger, "Donovan picks up VSEA endorsement," June 28, 2012
- ↑ Donovan for Attorney General 2012, "Endorsements," accessed July 23, 2012
- ↑ Vt.Digger, "Burlington Free Press, St. Albans Messenger endorse Donovan for Vermont attorney General," August 24, 2012