Former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas says Vermont now has essentially one party government.
Former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, a resident of Middlebury, was a guest speaker at the recent GOP town caucus held in Middlebury’s Ilsley Public Library. The ex governor, a long-time Republican, spoke about trends in state government as well as the need for redistricting in Vermont.
Douglas was elected the 80th governor of the Green Mountain State in 2002 and was reelected three times with a majority of the vote. He left the office in January 2011. In August 2009, Douglas announced that he would not seek reelection for a fifth term in 2010. He is currently teaching a course in government at Middlebury College, his alma mater.
“You can see the results of the supermajority in Montpelier—the Democrats—and it’s clear we need balance in government,” Douglas said.
“Right now, Vermont has one party government. That’s why I am urging Republicans to get the message out about spending and taxes. I truly believe Vermont is better off with two parties checking each other and making for more healthy, balanced rule.”
Douglas said he hopes plans for redistricting move ahead. In this case, he noted, Republicans and Progressives have a common goal—the bring more balanced governing through redrawing voting lines.
“Many Republicans won’t believe it, but we do share a common goal with Vermont Progressives—we need to balance government,” the former governor said.
Douglas said redistricting is a big job and much is at stake politically. The effort is not going out without a fight from long-term incumbent Democrat areas such as Chittenden and Addison counties.
In the case of Vermont’s House, new proposed lines have already been drawn for new voting districts. However, many legislators have balked at the plan. For example, the board passed on a plan offered by former Addison Democrat State Sen. Gerry Gossens back in June. At that time, Gossens wanted districts—like Addison County’s—left alone so as to protect incumbents of his own party.
At least under the House redraw plan, several municipalities would be divided such as Barre, Bennington, East Montpelier, Fayston, Franklin, Grand Isle, Hartford, Ira, Lyndon, Milton, Monkton, Morristown, Springfield, St. Albans, St. Johnsbury, Swanton, and Waterbury,
Also, in the case of House redistricting, entire towns would become new districts such as—
Berkshire, Richford and part of Franklin;
Bolton, Huntington and part of Waterbury;
Cabot, Marshfield and Plainfield;
Calais, Woodbury and part of East Montpelier;
Danby, Dorset, Peru and Winhall;
Eden and Hyde Park;
Glover and Barton; Lowell, Albany, Irasburg and Coventry;
Highgate and part of Franklin;
Jay Westfield and Troy;
Johnson and Morristown;
Putney and Dummerston.
Rockingham and Westminster;
Starksboro, Lincoln and part of Monkton;
Stratton, Somerset, Searsburg, Wilmington, Dover and Wardsboro;
Whitingham, Readsboro, Halifax and Marlboro;
Wolcott, Craftsbury, Greensboro and Stannard.
Even with these changes, it’s uncertain how Douglas’ Republicans would gain since the map for redistricting Chittenden County—the deciding factor in Vermont elections favoring Democrats—is still being fought over.