|80th Governor of Vermont|
January 9, 2003 – January 6, 2011
|Preceded by||Howard Dean|
|Succeeded by||Peter Shumlin|
|Vermont State Treasurer|
|Preceded by||Paul Ruse|
|Succeeded by||Jeb Spaulding|
|Secretary of State of Vermont|
|Preceded by||James Guest|
|Succeeded by||Donald Hooper|
|Born||James Holley Douglas
June 21, 1951
Springfield, Massachusetts, United States
|Alma mater||Middlebury College|
|Religion||United Church of Christ|
James Holley "Jim" Douglas (born June 21, 1951) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Vermont. A Republican, he was elected the 80th Governor of Vermont in 2002 and was reelected three times with a majority of the vote. On August 27, 2009, Douglas announced that he would not seek re-election for a fifth term in 2010. He left the office in January 2011.
Douglas was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1968, he graduated from East Longmeadow High School, East Longmeadow, 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. Vermont maintains a sister-state relationship with Karelia, Russia, though this relationship was started in 1991 under the governorship of Madeline Kunin.
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 Vermont 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 defeated Democratic Lieutenant Governor Doug Racine, 45 to 42 percent. The Vermont constitution requires that the state legislature select who is to become governor if no candidate receives over 50% of the votes. Because neither candidate won 50% of the vote, Douglas was officially selected by the legislature as required by the state constitution. Douglas won reelection to a second two-year term in 2004, defeating Democrat Peter Clavelle, 59 to 38 percent.
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 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 with 57% of the vote over Democrat Scudder Parker.
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. This bill had already passed both chambers of the legislature by a veto-proof majority, so a veto would not have been able to prevent this bill from becoming law. Douglas had previously vetoed a similar bill in 2006.
Douglas decided to stand for re-election in 2008 and ran unopposed in the Republican primary on September 9, 2008. His principal challengers in the general election were Independent/Progressive Anthony Pollina, and Democrat Gaye Symington. Douglas won a fourth term, although with his lowest percentage since his initial narrow victory over Doug Racine.
On April 6, 2009 Douglas vetoed the bill allowing marriage for same-sex couples in Vermont. Democrats in the Vermont House and Senate, overrode the veto with Supermajority the next day, marking the first time Douglas had been overridden during his tenure.
On June 2, 2009, Democrats in the Vermont House and Senate voted to override Douglas's veto of the Vermont state budget.
On August 27, 2009, Douglas announced that he would not seek re-election in 2010.
In early 2010, Douglas became the first American political leader to receive the National Order of Quebec from the government of Quebec and Premier Jean Charest at a ceremony at the Quebec National Assembly. He was recognized for strengthening Vermont's historical bonds with Quebec and making improved relations with the province a priority of his governorship.
Douglas remains popular among Vermonters. As of June 17, 2010 his approval rating stood at 65 percent.
Cabinet and administration
|The Douglas Cabinet|
|Lt. Governor||Brian Dubie||2003–2011|
|Secretary of Administration||Michael K. Smith
Charles Plympton Smith
Michael K. Smith
Neale F. Lunderville
|Secretary of Commerce & Community Development||Kevin Dorn||2003–2011|
|Secretary of Natural Resources||Elizabeth "Wibs" McLain
|Secretary of Agriculture||Steve Kerr
|Secretary of Human Services||Charles Plympton Smith
Michael K. Smith
|Secretary of Transportation||Patricia MacDonald
Neale F. Lunderville
|Commissioner of Labor||Michael Bertrand
Patricia Moulton Powden
|Commissioner of Public Service||David O'Brien||2003–2011|
|Commissioner of Public Safety||Kerry Sleeper
|Commissioner of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration||John Crowley
|Chief Recovery Officer||Tom Evslin||2009–2010|
Douglas was succeeded as Governor by Democrat Peter Shumlin.
After leaving office Douglas became an Executive in Residence at Middlebury College and authored a memoir, which will be published in late 2012.
|Vermont Gubernatorial Election 2008|
|Republican||Jim Douglas (incumbent)||170,492||53.43|
|Vermont Gubernatorial Election 2006|
|Republican||Jim Douglas (incumbent)||148,014||56.38|
|Vermont Gubernatorial Election 2004|
|Republican||Jim Douglas (incumbent)||181,540||58.70|
|Vermont Gubernatorial Election 2002|
|Vermont U.S. Senate Election 1992|
|Democratic||Patrick Leahy (incumbent)||154,762||54.16|
- Executive Order No. 100-91 ("Vermont-Karelia Sister-State Relationship") (January 7, 1991). The text of this Executive Order is available on leg.state.vt.us.
- Acts and Resolves of the 2007–2008 session of the Vermont General Assembly, Act 41 (S.51). This bill had already passed both chambers of the legislature by a veto-proof majority, so a veto would not have been able to prevent this bill from becoming law. The text of this act is available on leg.state.vt.us
- H.865 from the 2005–2006 legislative session. The text of the bill as passed by the General Assembly is available on leg.state.vt.us.
- Wcax.com, "Douglas Meets with President Obama"
- Wmur.com Vermont Legislature Legalizes Gay Marriage
- Wptz.com "Vermont House, Senate Override Douglas Veto," (June 2, 2009)
- Wcax.com "Douglas Will Not Seek Re-Election," (August 27, 2009)
- Communiques.gov.qc.ca "Ordre national du Québec – The Premier honours the Governor of the State of Vermont" (March 11, 2010
- Rasmussenreports.com Rasmussen Reports "Toplines 2010 Vermont Governor" (June 17, 2010)
- John Flowers, Gov. Douglas pens autobiography, Addison Independent, May 24, 2012
- Vermont Governor Jim Douglas official state website
|Secretary of State of Vermont
|Vermont State Treasurer
|Governor of Vermont
|Chairperson of National Governors Association