Jim Douglas

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Jim Douglas
80th Governor of Vermont
Former officeholder
In office
January 9, 2003 – January 6, 2011
PredecessorHoward Dean
Bachelor'sMiddlebury College
BirthdayJune 21, 1951
James H. "Jim" Douglas (born June 21, 1951 in Springfield, Massachusetts) is a Republican politician from the U.S. state of Vermont, and a former Governor of Vermont. The governor's principal workplace is at The Pavilion, and during the legislative session the governor often works at a ceremonial office at the Vermont State House.

Douglas was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, where he had been active in the College Republicans. At Middlebury College, Douglas was a Russian Studies major, and still speaks Russian, even using these skills in establishing a sister-city relationship with Karelia, Russia.[1]

Initial political career

In November 1972, Douglas was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives, where he became the House Majority Leader during his third two-year term at the age of 25. He left the Vermont General Assembly in 1979, afterwards serving as a top aide to Governor Richard A. Snelling. Douglas was elected Secretary of State in November 1980, a post which he held until 1992. That year he sought election to the U.S. Senate, but was defeated by Democratic incumbent Patrick Leahy. In November 1994 he was elected State Treasurer, after receiving the endorsement of both major parties.

Governor of Vermont

In the 2002 gubernatorial election to succeed five-term Governor Howard Dean, Douglas narrowly defeated Democratic Lieutenant Governor Doug Racine, 45 to 42 percent. Although the Vermont constitution requires that the state legislature select the governor if no candidate receives over 50% of the votes, both Douglas and Racine had agreed to bow out in the case gaining less votes than the other and neither candidate gaining the 50% majority. Racine honored his pledge and conceded to after which Douglas was officially selected by the legislature as required by the state constitution.

Douglas won re-election to a second two-year term in 2004, defeating Democrat Peter Clavelle, 59 to 38 percent.

2006 election

In early 2005, Douglas announced that he would not run against Democratic-leaning Independent Jim Jeffords in the 2006 Senate race. In April 2005, Jeffords announced that he would not seek re-election, which led to speculation that Douglas would throw his hat into the ring against Vermont independent socialist Congressman Bernie Sanders, who had announced his candidacy for the seat. On April 30, Douglas announced again that he would not seek Jeffords' seat, and simultaneously announced that he would run for re-election for governor in 2006. Many pundits believed that Douglas was the only Republican who could possibly defeat Sanders, and his decision to run for governor effectively handed the open Senate seat to Sanders.

Douglas was re-elected governor on Nov. 7th, 2006 with 57% of the vote.

Third term

On May 22, 2007, Governor Douglas signed a landmark civil rights bill banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity by employers, financial institutions, housing, public accommodations, and other contexts.[2] Douglas had previously vetoed a similar bill in 2006.[3]

2008 election

Douglas decided to stand for re-election, and is expected to run unopposed in the Republican primary on September 9, 2008. His Democratic challenger is Vermont Representative and House Speaker Gaye Symington.

Electoral History

  • 2006 Vermont Gubernatorial Election
    • James H. Douglas (R) (inc.), 56.3%
    • Scudder Parker (D), 41.1%
    • Cris Ericson (I), 0.9%
  • 2004 Vermont Gubernatorial Election
    • James H. Douglas (R) (inc.), 58.7%
    • Peter Clavelle (D), 37.9%
  • 2002 Vermont Gubernatorial Election
    • James H. Douglas (R), 44.9%
    • Doug Racine (D), 42.4%
    • Cornelius Hogan (I), 9.7%

External links


  1. http://www.vermont.gov/tools/whatsnew2/index.php?topic=GovPressReleases&id=776&v=Article
  2. Acts and Resolves of the 2007-2008 session of the Vermont General Assembly, Act 41 (S.51). The text of this act is available here.
  3. H.865 from the 2005-2006 legislative session. The text of the bill as passed by the General Assembly is available here.