Dean, Douglas discuss transition and new budget

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(Host) Governor Howard Dean and Governor-elect Jim Douglas met for over an hour on Thursday to discuss the gubernatorial transition. Dean says he’s confident that Douglas will be a good governor for the state of Vermont.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Governor-elect Jim Douglas got the grand tour of the administrative offices of the governor that are located on the fifth floor of the Pavilion office building in Montpelier. Douglas met with Governor Howard Dean to discuss a wide range of issues facing the state of Vermont.

At an afternoon press conference, Dean said he expects a very smooth transition period with the Douglas team and Dean thinks Douglas will be able to guide Vermont through some difficult fiscal times:

(Dean) “I do think Jim Douglas is going to be a good governor. I think people will be proud of the job he does. We had a great meeting this morning, I think I’m going to enjoy the transition. I think he’s a sober minded guy who’s going to do the right thing on the budget particularly, which is very important to me.”

(Kinzel) When there was the possibility that it wouldn’t be clear who the next governor was going to be until the first day of the new legislative session, Dean was set to put together a base budget for the next administration. But now that it’s clear that Jim Douglas will be the next governor, Dean thinks it’s appropriate that the proposed budget reflects Douglas’ fiscal priorities:

(Dean) “Jim will have a lot more influence on the budget than he would have if the outcome were unclear. So he will play a major role. The budget will be his budget, it will not be my budget. What we intended to do if we didn’t know which candidate was going to win was to just come out with a base budget so they could add or subtract to it quickly and then present it to the General Assembly in a timely way. Now that’s not going to be necessary because his people are going to be making the significant choices as we go along.”

(Kinzel) The Douglas transition group has set up an office in Montpelier and hopes to be reviewing possible candidates for the new administration in the near future.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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