DEANE C. DAVIS was born in East Barre, Vermont. He received an LL.D. from Boston University Law School in 1922. Davis worked as a lawyer, county prosecutor, Superior Court judge and then president of the National Life Insurance Company. But in 1968, at age 67, Davis decided to run for governor. He had never served in the legislature or state political office, but he was highly respected and had considerable knowledge of state government through the chairmanship in the 1950s of a commission that had recommended a complete overhaul of state government. He entered the race as the underdog, with his age an issue, but bested then-Attorney General James Oakes in the Republican primary and defeated then-Lt. Gov. John Daley in the general election. He faced controversy minutes after taking the oath of office in 1969 by proposing creation of a state sales tax to help pay for the explosion in state programs enacted during the 1960s. The sales tax passed. He was reelected for a second term and in 1970, Governor Davis had one of the most successful legislative sessions enjoyed by any governor in any time. Lawmakers enacted Act 250, Vermont’s pioneering law designed to control development; Act 252, an innovative water quality law; and legislation restructuring the state government into superagencies. He passed away on December 8, 1990.
Governors of the American States, Territories, and Commonwealths, National Governors' Conference, 1971.