Governor of Vermont

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Vermont Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2010 FY Budget:  $1,603,815
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   2 years
Authority:  Vermont Constitution, Chapter II, Sections 1
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Peter Shumlin.jpg
Name:  Peter Shumlin
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 6, 2011
Compensation:  $145,538
Next election:  November 8, 2016
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Vermont Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Board
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Vermont is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch and the highest state office in Vermont. The governor is popularly elected every two years by a plurality and has no term limit.[1]

As of April 2015, Vermont is one of 7 Democratic state government trifectas.

See also: Vermont State Legislature, Vermont House of Representatives, Vermont State Senate

Current officeholder

The 81st and current governor is Peter Shumlin, a Democrat first elected in 2010.[2]

The 2014 race between Shumlin and Scott Milne (R) took an intriguing turn on November 4, when neither candidate received 50 percent of the vote total. The state constitution required the Vermont State Legislature to select the next governor because no candidate earned a majority of the vote.[3] Shumlin was favored to receive the appointment as the legislature had not appointed a second-place finisher in a deadlocked race since 1853.[4] Learn more about past deadlocked elections in the elections section.

Milne considered pursuing a recount of all votes cast in the gubernatorial race but ultimately declined that option on November 12.[5] State law allows candidates to request recounts if the margin of victory is less than 2 percent.[6] Milne announced on December 8 that he would not concede the election, leading to a January 8, 2015, vote by state legislators to decide the election.[7] Former Gov. Jim Douglas (R) appealed to Milne not to pursue a legislative vote, claiming that he would lose the good will earned following the election.[6] Shumlin won the election following a 110-69 vote in the legislature to decide the election.[8]


The state Constitution addresses the office of the governor in both Chapter II, Sections 1-5, the Delegations and Distribution of Powers and Chapter II, Sections 20-27, Executive Department.

Under Section I:

The Commonwealth or State of Vermont shall be governed by a Governor...

Additionally, under Section I:

The Supreme Executive power shall be exercised by a Governor...


A candidate for governor must be:

  • a resident of Vermont for at least four years on the day of the election

Governors may not hold any legislative office or any other Constitutional office. Excepting positions in military reserves, they also may not hold any office under the federal government. Nor is the governor eligible for any appointed position made by any branch of the Vermont government.


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Chapter II, Section 24

The lieutenant governor becomes governor anytime the elected governor is absent or unable to discharge the office and anytime the office is vacant.

The Vermont General Assembly is constitutionally required to draft laws providing for the line of succession if the lieutenant governor's office is also vacant.



The Governor of Vermont is charged to uphold and execute all laws, expedite legislative business as needed (§ 20).

According to the state constitution, the governor has limited powers to grant pardons and reprieves and the power to call special sessions of the Vermont General Assembly when necessary (§ 20).

The governor is the commander-in-chief of the naval and militia forces, but may directly command those forced unless permitted to do so by the Vermont State Senate (§ 20).

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Commissioning all officers of the state (§ 20)
  • Making all appointments not otherwise provided for and making interim appointments to all vacant offices until the legal procedure for filling the office is performed (§ 20)
  • Granting reprieves in all cases except treason and granting pardons in all cases except impeachment (§ 200
  • Granting licenses as permitted by law (§ 20)
  • Laying embargoes for up to 30 days when the legislature is in recess (§ 20)
  • Commissioning a Secretary of Military and Civil Affairs at her pleasure. Such an officer serves at the governor's pleasure (§ 21)
  • Sealing and signing all commissions made by the state of Vermont (§ 22)
  • Keeping and using "The Great Seal of the State of Vermont" (§ 22)


Vermont's constitution address gubernatorial elections not in the section on the Executive but in Chapter II, Section 43-55, Elections; Officers; Terms of Office.

Vermont is one of only two states that elects governors biennially, that is, each even-numbered year. For Vermont, 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2022 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the first Thursday following the first Tuesday in the January following an election.

If the office of the governor is not filled in the election, a joint session of the legislature shall cast ballots to choose among three candidates.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

Vermont governors do not face any term limits.

Partisan composition

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Vermont from 1992-2013.

Governor of Vermont Partisanship.PNG

Full history


See also: Vermont gubernatorial election, 2014
Governor of Vermont, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Peter Shumlin Incumbent 46.4% 89,509
     Republican Scott Milne 45.1% 87,075
     Libertarian Dan Feliciano 4.4% 8,428
     Liberty Union Emily Peyton 1.6% 3,157
     Independent Pete Diamondstone 0.9% 1,673
     Independent Bernard Peters 0.7% 1,434
     Independent Cris Ericson 0.6% 1,089
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.4% 722
Total Votes 193,087
Election Results via Vermont Secretary of State.

History of deadlocked races

The Vermont State Constitution requires winning candidates in gubernatorial, lieutenant gubernatorial and treasurer elections to receive majorities in their respective races. If a gubernatorial election fails to meet this requirement, the Vermont State Legislature convenes the following January to select the next governor. Since 1789, there have been 23 gubernatorial elections that failed to meet the majority threshold including the 2014 election. The legislature selected the top vote recipients in 20 out of the past 23 deadlocked races and have not selected a second-place finisher as governor since 1853.[9]

Note: In the following table, a bolded name indicates a second-place finisher who was selected as governor by the legislature.

Vermont gubernatorial elections without majority winner, 1789-Present
Year First-place candidate  % of vote Second-place candidate  % of vote Margin Winner in legislative vote
1789 Thomas Chittenden 44.1 Moses Robinson 26 18.1 Moses Robinson
1813 Jonas Galusha 49.5 Martin Chittenden 48.7 0.8 Martin Chittenden
1814 Martin Chittenden 49.4 Jonas Galusha 49.3 0.1 Martin Chittenden
1830 Samuel C. Crafts 43.9 William A. Palmer 35.6 8.3 Samuel C. Crafts
1831 William A. Palmer 44 Heman Allen 37.5 6.5 William A. Palmer
1832 William A. Palmer 42.2 Samuel C. Crafts 37.7 4.5 William A. Palmer
1834 William A. Palmer 45.4 William C. Bradley 27.5 17.9 William A. Palmer
1835 William A. Palmer 46.4 William C. Bradley 37.9 8.5 No governor selected
1841 Charles Payne 48.7 Nathan Smilie 44.4 4.3 Charles Payne
1843 John Mattocks 48.7 Daniel Kellogg 43.8 4.9 John Mattocks
1845 William Slade 47.2 Daniel Kellogg 38.5 8.7 William Slade
1846 Horace Eaton 48.5 John Smith 36.7 11.8 Horace Eaton
1847 Horace Eaton 46.7 Paul Dillingham Jr. 38.7 8 Horace Eaton
1848 Carlos Coolidge 43.7 Oscar L. Shafter 29.6 14.1 Carlos Coolidge
1849 Carlos Coolidge 49.6 Horatio Needham 44 5.6 Carlos Coolidge
1852 Erastus Fairbanks 49.4 John S. Robinson 31 18.4 Erastus Fairbanks
1853 Erastus Fairbanks 43.9 John S. Robinson 38.3 5.6 John S. Robinson
1902 John G. McCullough 45.6 Percival W. Clement 40.3 5.3 John G. McCullough
1912 Allen M. Fletcher 40.5 Harland B. Howe 30.8 9.7 Allen M. Fletcher
1986 Madeleine M. Kunin 47 Peter Smith 38.2 9.2 Madeleine M. Kunin
2002 Jim Douglas 44.9 Doug Racine 42.4 2.5 Jim Douglas
2010 Peter Shumlin 49.5 Brian Dubie 47.7 1.8 Peter Shumlin
2014 Peter Shumlin 46.4 Scott Milne 45.1 1.3 Peter Shumlin


Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for information that describes the divisions (if any exist) of a state executive office. That information for the Governor of Vermont has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

State budget

Role in state budget

See also: Vermont state budget and finances

The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[10][11]

  1. Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in September of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
  2. Agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in October.
  3. Agency hearings are held from October through December.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in January.
  5. The legislature typically a budget in May. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.

In Vermont, the governor cannot exercise veto authority over the budget.[11]

The governor is not legally required to submit, and the legislature is not legally required to pass, a balanced budget.[11]

Governor's office budget

The budget for the Governor's Office in Fiscal Year 2010 was $1,603,815.[12]


See also: Comparison of gubernatorial salaries and Compensation of state executive officers

The governor, along with the rest of Vermont's elected executives, is legally entitled to an annual salary in accordance with Title 32, Chapter 15 of the Vermont Statutes (32 V.S.A. § 1003). Taking into account value adjustments, the statute contains compensation figures for the previous and current year only.[13]


In 2014, the governor received a salary of $145,538, according to the Council of State Governments.[14]


In 2013, the governor's salary remained at $142,542. Gov. Peter Shumlin took a voluntary 5 percent reduction in his annual salary set in statute.[15]


In 2012, the governor was paid an estimated $142,542. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.


In 2010, the governor was paid $142,542 a year, the 15th highest gubernatorial salary in America.

Historical officeholders

There have been 81 governors of Vermont since 1791. (The first two officeholders listed in the chart below served as governor prior to statehood.) Of the 81 officeholders, 53 were Republican, nine were Whigs, seven were Democrats, four were Democratic-Republicans, three were Federalists, two had no party, one was a Jeffersonian Republican, one was Anti-Masonic and one was Whig/Republican.[16]


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Vermont
Partisan breakdown of the Vermont governorship from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, in Vermont there were Democratic governors in office for 14 years, including the last three, while there were Republican governors in office for eight years. Vermont was under Democratic trifectas for the last three years of the study period.

Across the country, there were 493 years of Democratic governors (44.82%) and 586 years of Republican governors (53.27%) from 1992-2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Vermont, the Vermont State Senate and the Vermont House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

Partisan composition of Vermont state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Vermont state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. During the course of the study, Vermont had Democratic trifectas from 1997-2000 and from 2011-2013. Its lowest ranking, finishing 33rd, occurred in 2008 during a divided government. Its highest ranking, finishing 15th, also occurred during a divided government from 2003-2004.

Chart displaying the partisanship of the Vermont government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term Vermont + Governor

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Vermont Governor News Feed

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Contact information

Mailing address:[17]
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101
Phone: 802-828-3333
Fax: 802-828-3339

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Office of the Vermont Governor, " Homepage," accessed April 10, 2013
  2. Governor of Vermont, "About the Governor" accessed February 4, 2013
  3. Vermont Public Radio, "Live Blog: VPR's 2014 Election Coverage," November 5, 2014
  4. WPTZ, "Legislature to decide Vermont governor's race," November 5, 2014
  5. NECN, "Milne Won't Seek Recount in Vermont Governor's Race," November 12, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 Vermont Public Radio, "Douglas To Milne: Don't Wage Legislative Campaign For Governor," November 10, 2014
  7. Portland Press Herald, "Vermont gubernatorial challenger won't concede," December 8, 2014
  8. Vermont Public Radio, "LIVE BLOG: Lawmakers Elect Shumlin to Third Term," January 8, 2015
  9. Vermont Secretary of State, "General Election Results: Governor, 1789-2012," accessed November 13, 2014
  10. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  12. Vermont Department of Finance and Management, "FY10 Appropriations Act (2009, Act 1 special session)," accessed April 5, 2013
  13. Vermont General Assembly, "The Vermont Statutes Online Title 32 : Taxation And Finance Chapter 015 : Salaries And Fees, Subchapter 001 : State Officers," accessed February 11, 2015
  14. Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed December 8, 2014
  15. Council of State Governments, "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries," June 25, 2013
  16. National Governors Association, " Former Governors of Vermont," accessed June 14, 2013
  17. Governor of Vermont, "Contact Us" accessed February 4, 2013