Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Douglas was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1972 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, where he had been active in the Young Republicans. In November 1972 he was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives , where he becoming the House Majority Leader during his third two-year term at the age of twenty-five. He retired from the Vermont General Assembly in 1979, afterwards serving as a top aide to Governor Richard A. Snelling. Douglas was elected Vermont Secretary of State in 1980, a post which he held until 1992. That year he sought election to the U.S. Senate, but was defeated by Democratic incumbent Patrick Leahy. In 1994 he was elected State Treasurer, after receiving the endorsement of both major parties. In the 2002 gubernatorial election to succeed five-term Governor Howard Dean, Douglas narrowly defeated Democrat challenger Doug Racine, 45 to 42 percent. Since neither of the candidates received more than 50 percent of the vote, the race was ultimately decided by the Republican-controlled State Legislature, making Douglas the first Republican to win a gubernatorial election in Vermont for more than 15 years. Douglas won reelection to a second two-year term in 2004, defeating Democrat Peter Clavelle, 59 to 38 percent. He recently announced that he will not be running in the Senate race against Democratic-leaning Independent Jim Jeffords, citing that Jeffords is a close friend of his. He has promised that he will officially endorse the Republican candidate in the election, but will do no campaigning.
Douglas recently made the news by ordering that a 19th century lamp—an artistic icon of the abolitionist movement crafted by a Vermont artist in 1843—be removed because it made him "feel awkward." The lamp represents a female nude. During a recent news conference, Douglas's aides covered the lamp.
- Wilson Ring. "Vt. Gov. Wants Nude Statue Out of Office." Associated Press. December 11th, 2004.
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