Governor Jim Douglas (’72) joins Midd for J-Term
An all-student email from President Liebowitz on Firday confirmed that Governor Douglas will indeed spend January at the College. He will teach a course called “Vermont Government and Politics” and write about his experiences during his career in Vermont politics.
At Middlebury, Douglas majored in Russian Studies. (What is it with important Midd alumni and Russian degrees? The President of NPR is a Summer Russian School alumna.) He took a number of PoliSci classes, from professors including Murray Dry. He was an active College Republican.
After graduating in 1972, Douglas went on almost immediately to win a seat in the Vermont House of Representatives — a pretty intense senior-year job search. By age 25, he had moved up to House Majority Leader. Before succeeding Howard Dean as Governor, Douglas served as a top aide to Governor Richard Snelling, as Vermont Secretary of State and as State Treasurer.
The Addison County Independent has already published an article about Governor Douglas’s upcoming residency at Midd. Here are some excerpts:
“I jumped at the opportunity [to teach the course],” Douglas said. “I feel I have something to offer the next generation of leaders.
“My ideas will be quite fresh,” he noted of what will be an almost immediate matriculation to the classroom from the governor’s office in the Pavilion Building in Montpelier. [...]
“Some people were expecting me to go on a cruise or take a long vacation,” Douglas noted of speculation surrounding his immediate exit plans. “But that’s not in my nature. I need to stay active to remain intellectually challenged.”
MiddBlog is hoping for a chance to talk with Douglas sometime soon. In the meantime, take a look at a few important moments in Douglas’s tenure as Governor (after the break):
- Served from 2009 to 2010 as Chairman of the National Governors Association, a group that serves as a liaison and lobby in Washington for state governors.
- Received the National Order of Quebec in 2010 for improving relations with the nearby province.
- Vetoed the gay marriage bill in 2009, arguing that marriage ought to be between a man and a woman, and that the state’s preexisting civil union laws were sufficient. (The veto was overridden — also unprecedented.)
- Known as a moderate Republican. Supported Obama’s stimulus bill and worked with Democrats to expand heath care coverage in the state and to offer a state-run insurance plan (Catamount Health).
- Helped reform Act 250, the law that regulates business permits and screens companies for environmental and other concerns before they can invest in the state.*
More on Governor Douglas:
*UPDATE 11/9/10: In the original post, I neglected to describe Act 250.