|81st Governor of Vermont|
January 6, 2011
|Preceded by||Jim Douglas|
|President pro tempore of the Vermont Senate|
January 2007 – January 2011
|Preceded by||Peter Welch|
|Succeeded by||John Campbell|
January 1997 – January 2003
|Preceded by||Stephen Webster|
|Succeeded by||Peter Welch|
|Born||Peter Elliott Shumlin
March 24, 1956
Brattleboro, Vermont, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Deborah Holway (1989–2013)|
|Alma mater||Wesleyan University|
Peter Elliott Shumlin (born March 24, 1956) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who serves as the 81st and current Governor of Vermont and has served as chair of the Democratic Governors Association since December 2012. First elected Governor in 2010, he was re-elected by a large margin in 2012. In 2014 he received a narrow plurality in his race for re-election, but did not attain the 50 percent threshold required by the Vermont Constitution, requiring the Vermont General Assembly to select the winner in January 2015. He was subsequently re-elected to a third term by the legislature by a vote of 110-69.
He previously served in the Vermont House of Representatives from 1990 to 1993 and represented the Windham District in the Vermont Senate from 1993 to 2003 and 2007 to 2011. He was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Vermont in 2002.
- 1 Personal life, education and career
- 2 Early political career
- 3 Governor of Vermont
- 4 Political positions
- 5 Controversy
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Personal life, education and career
Shumlin was born in Brattleboro, Vermont. He went to high school at the Buxton School, and graduated from Wesleyan University in 1979. Shumlin served on the Putney Selectboard in the 1980s and helped found Landmark College, which was created to help people with learning disabilities gain a college education. Shumlin's father, George J. Shumlin, a third generation American, was Jewish, and descended from Russian immigrants; Shumlin's mother, Kitty A. (Prins) Shumlin, was from The Hague, Netherlands.
Early political career
Shumlin was appointed by Governor Madeleine M. Kunin to fill a vacancy in the Vermont House of Representatives. He served part of one term plus one full term, and represented Putney from 1990 through 1993. In 1992 he was elected to the Vermont Senate, and he soon became Minority Leader. In the 1996 elections, Shumlin led his Senate Democrats to win back control of the chamber and in 1997 he became Senate President Pro Tempore.
Campaign for Lieutenant Governor
In 2002, Shumlin won the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor, and lost the general election to Republican Brian Dubie of Essex in a three-way race that included Progressive Anthony Pollina of Middlesex.
From 2003 to 2006, Shumlin returned to the family business, Putney Student Travel, an educational firm that allows students in middle and high school to travel to foreign countries, learn about different cultures and prepare for college.
Return to the Vermont Senate
In 2006, Shumlin ran successfully for his old seat in the State Senate upon the retirement of Rod Gander, who served from 2003 to 2007. Upon his return, Shumlin was once again elected President Pro Tempore.
Governor of Vermont
Vermont and New Hampshire are the only states whose governors do not serve four-year terms; rather, their governors are elected every two years, always in even-numbered years.
On November 16, 2009, Shumlin announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Vermont. Shumlin placed first in the five-way August 24, 2010 Democratic primary with 18,276 votes (24.48%). The close election saw three other candidates come within 3,000 votes of Shumlin. Former Lieutenant Governor Doug Racine came in second with 18,079 votes (24.22%), Secretary of State of Vermont Deborah Markowitz came in third with 17,579 votes (23.9%) and former State Senator Matt Dunne was fourth with 15,323 votes (20.8%). State Senator Susan Bartlett came in a distant fifth with 3,759 votes (5.1%). Racine requested a recount, which confirmed Shumlin as the winner.
Shumlin was not opposed by a Progressive candidate for Governor. The Party had promised not to play a "spoiler" role in the election if he supported single-payer health care, which he did. Vermont Progressive Party Chair Martha Abbott won the primary election, then withdrew from the race, so the party did not have a candidate on the ballot.
In the general election on November 2, 2010, Shumlin received the most votes, 119,543 (49.44%) to Republican Brian Dubie's 115,212 (47.69%). Vermont requires candidates for Governor and some other statewide offices to obtain a majority of popular votes, otherwise the winner is chosen by the Vermont General Assembly. Dubie did not contest the vote in the General Assembly, which almost always chooses the candidate who obtained a plurality in the general election, and on January 6, 2011 the General Assembly elected Shumlin by 145 votes (80.6%) to 28 (15.6%).
Summary of term
After Shumlin's election in 2010, all of his primary opponents except Dunne subsequently joined his administration. Racine became Secretary of Human Services, Markowitz became Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources and Bartlett became Shumlin's Special Assistant, with responsibility for oversight of education and other policy initiatives.
The defining event of Shumlin's first term was Tropical Storm Irene, which caused almost every river and stream in in the state to flood, resulting in at least three deaths and one missing. The storm decimated multiple sections of U.S. Route 4 between Rutland and Quechee, making east/west travel through the southern part of state nearly impossible. Several towns were completely isolated from travel in and out for two weeks. Statewide, the cost of repairs for road and bridge damage alone was estimated to exceed $700 million. This required a substantial re-assessment of Vermont's budget.
- April 26: Shumlin appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show via telephone where he discussed health care reform in his state, his belief in health care for all and that "health care is a right, not a privilege".
- May 26: Shumlin signed a bill to establish a state health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act and to develop future universal insurance coverage for all residents, making Vermont the first state to initiate a plan for single-payer health care.
- August 17: Shumlin became the first sitting governor in the United States to preside over a same-sex wedding ceremony.
- August 27: Shumlin declared a state of emergency, in preparation for the arrival of Tropical Storm Irene. In a joint statement, Vermont electric utilities announced that they planned to have extra staff on hand. The National Weather Service had forecast between 2–7 inches (51–178 mm) of rain in the state, with the risk of flooding near streams and rivers and an anticipated sustained wind speeds of 30–45 miles per hour (48–72 km/h) and gusts of up to 45–65 miles per hour (72–105 km/h), with expected significant tree damage and damage to power lines.
- January 5: In his state of the state address, Shumlin touted Vermont's policies to promote job growth, claiming a 62% increase over the previous year to bring the state's unemployment rate down to 5.3% from a recession peak of 7.3%—both cited as low numbers in his speech.
- April 11: Shumlin was almost mauled by bears when he attempted to chase them away from raiding bird feeders on his property. Shumlin joked that Vermont "almost lost the governor," and added that he was within "three feet of getting 'arrrh."
- May 16: Shumlin signed a bill banning hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), the breaking of underground rock formations by using pressurized chemical-laced fluid in order to access natural gas deposits. The bill made Vermont became the first state to pass a such a ban, and was signed in front of group of high school students who pushed for it.
- December 4: Shumlin was unanimously elected to serve as the chair of the Democratic Governors Association for the year, 2013.
The 2012 election took place on November 6, 2012. Shumlin, who again was endorsed by organized labor and the major environmental organizations, was unopposed in the Democratic primary and easily won re-election, defeating Republican Randy Brock by 170,767 votes (58%) to 110,953 votes (37.7%).
Summary of term
Shumlin has been an opponent of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. His administration advocated its closure. However, on January 19, 2012, Judge J. Garvan Murtha of United States District Court in Brattleboro ruled that the state of Vermont could not force Vermont Yankee to close down, as the legislation that attempted to do so was based on radiological safety arguments that are the exclusive concern of the NRC. The judge also held that the state cannot force the plant’s owner, Entergy, to sell electricity from the reactor to in-state utilities at reduced rates as a condition of continued operation. However, on August 27, 2013, Entergy announced in a press release that it would close Vermont Yankee by the end of 2014.
Shumlin has also been an advocate of single-payer health care. In 2011, the Vermont Legislature created a single-payer plan, called Green Mountain Care, which caused Vermont to become the first state to explore this concept. While the bill also allows private insurers to operate in the state indefinitely As of January, 2014, Shumlin remained committed to full implementation of single-payer health care, starting in 2017. In the interim, Vermont has been a willing participant in the Affordable Care Act. As was the case with the federal health-exchange website, Vermont's website, VermontHealthConnect.gov, also experienced difficulties as the deadline for implementation approached in late 2013; it was the product of the same software vendor.
In his January, 2014 state of the state address, Shumlin emphasized a single theme: the rise of opiate addiction in Vermont. He framed the challenge of opiate abuse as greater in scope than the recovery from Tropical Storm Irene. He offered a four-point plan to address opiate growth:
- Fund more treatment to shorten wait-times for those willing to accept help.
- Allow drug offenders to quickly enter treatment programs when they are ready to change their behavior, bypassing the normal judicial process to allow rapid treatment.
- Tougher punishments for drug-runners and armed burglars.
- Crowdsourcing new ideas to prevent addiction.
Shumlin observed that, “It’s when the blue lights are flashing and cold reality sets in that we have our best shot [at persuading opiate users to seek treatment]”.
- January 10: Shumlin gave a state of the state address that emphasized improving education from kindergarten through college in Vermont in order to make the Vermont labor force more appealing to prospective employers.
- May 22: Shumlin signed a bill making physician assisted suicide legal throughout Vermont.
- June 6: Vermont became the 17th state to decriminalize marijuana. Shumlin signed a bill that made possession of less than an ounce of the drug punishable by a small fine rather than arrest and possible jail time.
- December 9: He was re-elected in December 2013 to be chair of the Democratic Governors Association for the year, 2014.
- January 8: Shumlin gave a state of the state address with a single theme—the rising rate of opiate abuse in Vermont.
- January 15: A Shumlin administration official, Mark Larson, announced that the Vermont Health Connect website implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act was unavailable to small businesses enrollments, requiring direct enrollments with insurance companies until further notice.
Shumlin was the Democratic nominee for a third term. Republicans nominated businessman Scott Milne, whose mother Marion Carson Milne served in the Vermont House of Representatives, and father Donald is the longtime Assistant Clerk and Clerk of the Vermont House.
In the November 4 election, Shumlin took 46.4% to Milne's 45.1%, with Libertarian nominee Don Feliciano taking 4.36%. The rest of the votes were scattered among other minor candidates. The Constitution of Vermont requires that the 180-member Vermont General Assembly choose the winner when no candidate receives over 50% of the popular vote. On January 8, 2015, the Assembly chose Shumlin over Milne by 110 votes to 69.
Shumlin is adamantly pro-choice, and drew a contrast between himself and his 2010 Republican gubernatorial opponent Brian Dubie, who would not answer the question of whether or not he would cut funding for low-income abortions when pressed by Shumlin during the two candidates' televised debates. Shumlin held a pro-choice rally two days prior to the election, prompting his opponent to host a pro-jobs rally on the same day to draw a contrast between the two candidates' priorities.
On May 8, 2015, Shumlin signed a genetically modified food (GMO) labeling bill. The legislation would mean that some products that are sold within the state of Vermont must have labeling that says that the product "may be partially produced with genetic engineering.”
In May, 2013 Shumlin was involved in a real estate transaction, which generated controversy. A neighbor, who owned a house and land adjacent to Shumlin's East Montpelier home, owed back taxes and risked losing the property in a tax sale, asked Shumlin to consider buying the property. Shumlin bought the property, had the assessed value reduced because the house was in disrepair, paid the back taxes, paid the neighbor's back child support, and allowed the neighbor to continue living in the house for several months. The neighbor then had second thoughts about the transaction. After some criticism in the press,  Shumlin agreed for the neighbor to repurchase the property.
- Ken Herman, Cox News Service, Marshall News-Messenger, "The People who are Not Included in Gov. Perry’s Houston Prayer Fest", June 10, 2011. "Peter Shumlin is of unknown, if any, religion. "He has never declared a religion publicly," Sue Allen, his communications director, told me Monday."
- Town Hall, 2010 candidate profile, Peter Shumlin
- Hallenbeck, Terri (November 5, 2014). "AP: Shumlin up 2,088 votes with all precincts reporting". Burlington Free Press.
- Gram, Dave (January 8, 2015). "Vermont Governor Re-Elected After Failing to Win Majority". Associated Press.
- Burlington Free Press, The Shumlin Era Dawns This Week in Montpelier, January 2, 2011
- Remsen, Nancy; Hallenbeck, Terri (November 3, 2010). "Dubie concedes in Vermont governor's race". The Burlington Free Press. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- Paul Anthony Theis, Edmund Lee Henshaw, Who's Who in American Politics, Volume 2, 1991
- Peter Shumlin, Project Vote Smart
- Phil Baruth, Vermont Daily Briefing, Shumlin Returns: The VDB Sit-Down, March 20, 2007
- Shumlin for Governor, Meet Peter
- Burlington Free Press, Shumlin Divorce Finalized, April 3, 2013
- VT Digger, Shumlin to Speak at Marlboro College Commencement Sunday, May 16, 2013
- National Journal, Almanac entry, Peter Shumlin, accessed July 19, 2013
- Vermont Secretary of State, Legislator's Biography, Peter Shumlin, 2007
- Jack Hoffman, Vermont Press Bureau, Rutland Herald, No Shortage of Candidates, September 6, 2001
- Darren M. Allen, Vermont Press Bureau, Rutland Herald, Hingtgen Enters Race for Lieutenant Governor, May 10, 2004
- Chris Garofolo, Brattleboro Reformer, Gov. Shumlin: Victorious Shumlin Ready to Lead, November 4, 2010
- Louis Porter, Vermont Press Bureau, Barre-Montpelier Times-Argus, Senate Dems. Pick Shumlin, November 14, 2006
- "Peter Shumlin to run for governor". Burlington (Vt.) Free Press. November 16, 2009.
- Dave Gram and John Curran, Associated Press, Boston Globe, A top Vt. senator claims victory in governor race, August 25, 2010
- "Shumlin wins; Racine calls for recount". Burlington (Vt.) Free Press. August 27, 2010.
- Molly Worthen (April 5, 2014). "As Vermont Goes, So Goes the Nation?". The New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- "Abbott drops out of governor's race". The Burlington Free Press. August 28, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2010.[dead link]
- John Curran, Associated Press, Huffington Post, Vermont Election Results: Brian Dubie Concedes To Peter Shumlin In 2010 Governor's Race, November 3, 2010
- David Gram, Associated Press, Rutland Herald, 3-Way Race Raises Prospect of Lawmakers Picking Governor, May 26, 2008
- "Dubie concedes to Shumlin in Vermont governor race". burlingtonfreepress.com. 2010-11-03.
- David Gram, Associated Press, Boston Globe, Vt. Gov. Takes Office After Lawmakers Elect Him, January 6, 2011
- Vermont General Assembly, Journal of the Joint Assembly, January 6, 2011, page 5
- Peter Hirschfeld, Vermont Press Bureau, Rutland Herald, Shumlin Taps Former Campaign Rival for High-Profile Post, December 1, 2010
- David Gram, Associated Press, Boston Globe, Vt. Gov.-Elect Shumlin Fills 2 Environmental Jobs, December 6, 2010
- Neal P.Goswami, Bennington Banner, Shumlin Names Four to his Team, November 24, 2010
- CNN, Wire staff (August 31, 2011). "Irene inundates Vermont, washing out bridges, killing one". CNN. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
- Henson, Matt (August 28, 2011). "WCAX viewers document deadly storm in Vt". WCAX News. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
- Kinzel, Bob (September 27, 2011). "Road Repairs Will Top $700 Million, But Federal Aid Uncertain". Vermont Public Radio. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
- Editors (12 December 2011). "Tropical Storm Irene: Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin Giving Recovery Budget Estimate". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2014-01-07.
- Wing, Nicholas (May 26, 2011). "Vermont Single-Payer Health Care Law Signed By Governor". Huffington Post.
- Curran, John (August 17, 2011). "Vermont governor presides over lesbians' marriage". The Boston Globe.
- "VT Governor declares State of Emergency" (August 27, 2011). WCAX-TV.
- Dave Gram, "Vermont braces for hurricane due Sunday" (August 26, 2011). Associated Press.
- "Updated forecast for Vermont on Hurricane Irene" (August 26, 2011). Burlington Free Press.
- Editors. "Vermont unemployment rate, 5.3%, is among lowest in America". Peter Shumlin on Jobs. On the Issues. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
- Vt. Governor Chased by 4 Bears in Backyard
- Gerken, James (May 17, 2012). "VT Becomes First State To Ban Fracking". Huffington Post.
- Politico.com, Shumlin Elected to Lead DGA, December 4, 2012
- "Judge Rules Vermont Can’t Shut Nuclear Plant". New York Times. January 19, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- "Entergy to Close, Decommission Vermont Yankee" (Press release). August 27, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
- "Vt. Senate approves single-payer plan – WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports". Wcax.com. April 26, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
- "Gov. Shumlin issued the following statement on health care rules". Governor.vermont.gov. March 14, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
- Estes, Adam Clark (May 26, 2011). "Vermont Becomes First State to Enact Single-Payer Health Care". The Atlantic. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
- Wing, Nicholas (May 26, 2011). "Vermont Single-Payer Health Care Law Signed By Governor". The Huffington Post.
- Politico: Vermont could be first in line for single payer. September 17, 2012.
- American Medical News: Vermont approves universal health program. May 16, 2011.
- Ring, Wilson (January 7, 2014). "Shumlin renews Vt. universal health care pledge". Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Associated Press). Retrieved 2014-01-07.
- Website for VermontHealthConnect.gov
- Fleisher, Chris (7 January 2014). "Many in Vt. Await Insurance Cards". Valley News (White River Junction, Vermont). Retrieved 2014-01-07.
- Fleisher, Chris (8 January 2014). "Shumlin Won't Be Deterred On Single-Payer Health Care". Valley News (White River Junction, Vermont): A1, A3. Retrieved 2014-01-08.
- Midura, Kyle; Melissa Howell (8 January 2014). "Gov. Shumlin's State of the State focuses on opiate abuse". WCAX.com. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
- Ring, Wilson (9 January 2014). "Shumlin: Heroin A Scourge in Vt.". Associated Press. Valley News. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
- Midura, Kyle; Melissa Howell (2014-01-14). "Gov. Shumlin pushes education in State of the State address". WCAX.com. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
- wcax.com, Shumlin to Sign Aid in Dying Bill, May 20, 2012
- "Vermont becomes 17th state to decriminalize marijuana, making possession of less than an ounce of pot punishable by fine". NY Daily News. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- Burns, Alexander. "DGA appoints leaders for 2014". Politico. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
- Gram, Dave; Associated Press (14 January 2014). "Vt. Health Connect: New delay for small businesses". Washington Times. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- Flowers, John (October 23, 2014). "Scott Milne offers himself as GOP alternative for governor". Addison Independent.
- Krantz, Laura (October 27, 2014). "In Profile: Scott Milne, a survivor who wants to win". VT Digger.
- Donoghue, Mike (November 8, 2014). "Shumlin's lead grows after unofficial tally". Burlington Free Press.
- "Close election recalls recent recounts". The Burlington Free Press. November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
- Anne Galloway (December 8, 2014). "Trail Mix: Milne concedes he won't concede". VTDigger. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
- Free Press Staff (January 8, 2015). "Shumlin defeats Milne in Legislature governor vote". Retrieved January 8, 2015.
- Vermont Digger, Shumlin Campaign: Dubie Can't Give a Straight Answer, October 25, 2010
- Burlington Free Press, Rallies Coincide in Burlington for Peter Shumlin, Brian Dubie, October 24, 2010
- "Shumlin applauds "Team Kale"". December 5, 2011.
- Shumlin, Peter (April 15, 2009). "Vermont's brave stand for gay marriage". Guardian (London). Retrieved December 21, 2010.
- has vowed to sign a GMO labeling bill on May 8, saying on Twitter that residents deserve to know what’s in their food. The legislation will require certain products sold in the state to note that they “may be partially produced with genetic engineering.”
- Jennifer Reading, WCAX-TV, Vt. Man Claims Governor Took Advantage of Him in Land Deal, May 22, 2013
- Peter Hirschfeld, Rutland Herald, Shumlin Land Buy Questioned, May 24, 2013
- Paul Heniotz, Seven Days, A Neighbor in Need: Jeremy Dodge Hopes to Stay Put on Shumlin's Land, May 24, 2013
- Peter Hirschfeld, Rutland Herald, After Sale to Governor, Regrets for Dodge, May 22, 2013
- Terri Hallenbeck, Burlington Free Press, Lawyer: Shumlin Willing to Sell Land Back to Neighbor, June 5, 2013
- Associated Press, Boston Globe, Neighbor in dispute with Vt. Governor Hires Lawyer, June 11, 2013
- Dave Gram, Associated Press, Valley News, Shumlin Willing To Void Sale, June 6, 2013
- Andrew Stein, Vermont Digger, Dodge Can Buy Back Property From Shumlin For About $30,000, Lawyers Say, July 18, 2013
- Kristin Carlson, WCAX-TV, East Montpelier Man Gets Property Back From Governor, August 13, 2013
- Associated Press, Barre-Montpelier Times-Argus, Dodge Gets Land Back From Gov., August 14, 2014
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