Jim Douglas was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1972—the same year he graduated from Middlebury College, and his influence as a legislator increased quickly as he rose to the position of assistant majority leader in his second term and majority leader in his third term at the age of 25. Douglas retired from the state legislature in 1979 to become a top aide to Governor Richard Snelling. In 1980, he was elected Secretary of State, a post he held until 1993, winning reelection five times and receiving the nomination of both parties on three occasions. In 1994 Douglas was elected State Treasurer, receiving the nomination of both parties and winning with 94 percent of the vote.
Elected Governor in 2002 and reelected in 2004, 2006, and 2008, Douglas focused on strengthening the state’s economy, making Vermont more affordable, and protecting the state’s natural environment. He is past chair of the National Governors Association (2009-10) and the Council of State Governments as well as past chairman of the New England Governor’s Conference and the Coalition of Northeastern Governors. He became the first governor to meet with Barack Obama following Obama’s swearing in as President in 2009.
Over the course of his career, Douglas received more votes than any other person in Vermont history, a testament to his bipartisan appeal.