Governor of Vermont
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2010 FY Budget:||$1,603,815|
|Length of term:||2 years|
|Authority:||Vermont Constitution, Chapter II, Sections 1|
|Assumed office:||January 6, 2011|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016|
|Last election:||November 4, 2014|
|Other Vermont Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Superintendent of Education • Agriculture Commissioner • Insurance Commissioner • Natural Resources Commissioner • Labor Commissioner • Public Service Board|
- 1 Current officeholder
- 2 Authority
- 3 Qualifications
- 4 Vacancies
- 5 Duties
- 6 Elections
- 7 Divisions
- 8 State budget
- 9 Compensation
- 10 Historical officeholders
- 11 History
- 12 Recent news
- 13 Contact information
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
As of March 2015, Vermont is one of 7 Democratic state government trifectas.
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. Shumlin was favored to receive the appointment as the legislature had not appointed a second-place finisher in a deadlocked race since 1853. 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. State law allows candidates to request recounts if the margin of victory is less than 2 percent. 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. 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. Shumlin won the election following a 110-69 vote in the legislature to decide the election.
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).
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)
- Drawing upon the Treasury for sums already appropriated by the Vermont General Assembly (§ 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)
- Appointing a state treasurer when the office become vacant (§ 24)
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.
- See also: States with gubernatorial term limits
Vermont governors do not face any term limits.
The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Vermont from 1992-2013.
- See also: Vermont gubernatorial election, 2014
|Governor of Vermont, 2014|
|Democratic||Peter Shumlin Incumbent||46.4%||89,509|
|Liberty Union||Emily Peyton||1.6%||3,157|
|Election Results via Vermont Secretary of State.|
To view the electoral history dating back to 2000 for the office of Governor of Vermont, Click [show] to expand the section.
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.
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.
Role in state budget
- See also: Vermont state budget and finances
- Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in September of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
- Agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in October.
- Agency hearings are held from October through December.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in January.
- 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.
The governor is not legally required to submit, and the legislature is not legally required to pass, a balanced budget.
Governor's office budget
The budget for the Governor's Office in Fiscal Year 2010 was $1,603,815.
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.
In 2010, the governor was paid $142,542 a year, the 15th highest gubernatorial salary in America.
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.
|List of Former Officeholders from 1778-Present|
|-||Thomas Chittenden||1778 - 1789||No Party|
|-||Moses Robinson||1789 - 1790||No Party|
|1||Thomas Chittenden||1790 – 1797||No Party|
|2||Paul Brigham||1797 - 1797||No Party|
|3||Isaac Tichenor||1797 - 1807||Federalist|
|4||Israel Smith||1807 - 1808||Jeffersonian Republican|
|5||Isaac Tichenor||1808 – 1809||Federalist|
|6||Jonas Galusha||1809 - 1813||Democratic-Republican|
|7||Martin Chittenden||1813 - 1815||Federalist|
|8||Jonas Galusha||1815 – 1820||Democratic-Republican|
|9||Richard Skinner||1820 - 1823||Democratic-Republican|
|10||Cornelius P. Van Ness||1823 - 1826||Democratic-Republican|
|11||Ezra Butler||1826 - 1828||Democratic|
|12||Samuel C. Crafts||1828 - 1831||Whig|
|13||William A. Palmer||1831 - 1835||Anti-Masonic|
|14||Silas H. Jension||1835 - 1841||Whig|
|15||Charles Paine||1841 - 1843||Whig|
|16||John Mattocks||1843 - 1844||Whig|
|17||William Slade||1844 - 1846||Whig|
|18||Horace Eaton||1846 - 1848||Whig|
|19||Carlos Coolidge||1848 - 1850||Whig|
|20||Charles Kilborn Williams||1850 - 1852||Whig|
|21||Erastus Fairbanks||1852 - 1853||Whig|
|22||John Staniford Robinson||1853 - 1854||Democratic|
|23||Stephen Royce||1854 - 1856||Whig/Republican|
|24||Ryland Fletcher||1856 - 1858||Republican|
|25||Hiland Hall||1858 - 1860||Republican|
|26||Erastus Fairbanks||1860 – 1861||Republican|
|27||Frederick Holbrook||1861 - 1863||Republican|
|28||John Gregory Smith||1863 - 1865||Republican|
|29||Paul Dillingham||1865 - 1867||Republican|
|30||John B. Page||1867 - 1869||Republican|
|31||Peter T. Washburn||1869 - 1870||Republican|
|32||George Whitman Hendee||1870 - 1870||Republican|
|33||John Wolcott Stewart||1870 - 1872||Republican|
|34||Julius Converse||1872 - 1874||Republican|
|35||Asahel Peck||1874 - 1876||Republican|
|36||Horace Fairbanks||1876 - 1878||Republican|
|37||Redfield Proctor||1878 - 1880||Republican|
|38||Roswell Farnham||1880 - 1882||Republican|
|39||John Lester Barstow||1882 - 1884||Republican|
|40||Samuel E. Pingree||1884 - 1886||Republican|
|41||Ebenezer Jolls Ormsbee||1886 - 1888||Republican|
|42||William Paul Dillingham||1888 - 1890||Republican|
|43||Carroll Smalley Page||1890 - 1892||Republican|
|44||Levi Knight Fuller||1892 - 1894||Republican|
|45||Urban Andrain Woodbury||1894 - 1896||Republican|
|46||Josiah Grout||1896 - 1898||Republican|
|47||Edward Curtis Smith||1898 - 1900||Republican|
|48||William W. Stickney||1900 - 1902||Republican|
|49||John Griffith McCullough||1902 - 1904||Republican|
|50||Charles James Bell||1904 - 1906||Republican|
|51||Fletcher Dutton Proctor||1906 - 1908||Republican|
|52||George Prouty||1908 - 1910||Republican|
|53||John Abner Mead||1910 - 1912||Republican|
|54||Allen M. Fletcher||1912 - 1915||Republican|
|55||Charles W. Gates||1915 - 1917||Republican|
|56||Horace French Graham||1917 - 1919||Republican|
|57||Percival W. Clement||1919 - 1921||Republican|
|58||James Hartness||1921 - 1923||Republican|
|59||Redfield Proctor||1923 - 1925||Republican|
|60||Franklin Swift Billings||1925 - 1927||Republican|
|61||John Eliakim Weeks||1927 - 1931||Republican|
|62||Stanley Calef Wilson||1931 - 1935||Republican|
|63||Charles Manley Smith||1935 - 1937||Republican|
|64||George D. Aiken||1937 - 1941||Republican|
|65||William H. Wills||1941 - 1945||Republican|
|66||Mortimer R. Proctor||1945 - 1947||Republican|
|67||Ernest William Gibson||1947 - 1950||Republican|
|68||Harold John Arthur||1950 - 1951||Republican|
|69||Lee Emerson||1951 - 1955||Republican|
|70||Joseph Blaine Johnson||1955 - 1959||Republican|
|71||Robert T. Stafford||1959 - 1961||Republican|
|72||F. Ray Keyser||1961 - 1963||Republican|
|73||Philip Henderson Hoff||1963 - 1969||Democratic|
|74||Reane C. Davis||1969 - 1973||Republican|
|75||Thomas P. Salmon||1973 - 1977||Democratic|
|76||Richard A. Snelling||1977 - 1985||Republican|
|77||Madeleine M. Kunin||1985 - 1991||Democratic|
|78||Richard A. Snelling||1991 – 1991||Republican|
|79||Howard Dean||1991 - 2003||Democratic|
|80||Jim Douglas||2003 - 2011||Republican|
|81||Peter Shumlin||2011 - present||Democratic|
Partisan balance 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.
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.
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.
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101
- Office of the Vermont Governor, " Homepage," accessed April 10, 2013
- Governor of Vermont, "About the Governor" accessed February 4, 2013
- Vermont Public Radio, "Live Blog: VPR's 2014 Election Coverage," November 5, 2014
- WPTZ, "Legislature to decide Vermont governor's race," November 5, 2014
- NECN, "Milne Won't Seek Recount in Vermont Governor's Race," November 12, 2014
- Vermont Public Radio, "Douglas To Milne: Don't Wage Legislative Campaign For Governor," November 10, 2014
- Portland Press Herald, "Vermont gubernatorial challenger won't concede," December 8, 2014
- Vermont Public Radio, "LIVE BLOG: Lawmakers Elect Shumlin to Third Term," January 8, 2015
- Vermont Secretary of State, "General Election Results: Governor, 1789-2012," accessed November 13, 2014
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Vermont Department of Finance and Management, "FY10 Appropriations Act (2009, Act 1 special session)," accessed April 5, 2013
- 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
- Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed December 8, 2014
- Council of State Governments, "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries," June 25, 2013
- National Governors Association, " Former Governors of Vermont," accessed June 14, 2013
- Governor of Vermont, "Contact Us" accessed February 4, 2013
State of Vermont
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Secretary of Agriculture, Food & Markets | Secretary of Natural Resources | Commissioner of Labor | Chairman of Public Service Board |