Dean winds down term in office

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(Host) Governor Howard Dean says the election of a new governor last week has brought home the reality that Dean will soon be stepping down as Vermont’s chief executive.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Howard Dean has been governor of Vermont for more than half of his elected political career and only Thomas Chittenden has served more years in the state’s top post.

Last week, after the election of Governor-elect Jim Douglas, Dean gave Douglas a tour of the gubernatorial administrative offices which are located on the top floor of the Pavilion Office Building in downtown Montpelier. The governor occupies a corner office with huge glass windows that offer a spectacular view of the Statehouse. After that tour, Dean said the reality of leaving office was sinking in:

(Dean) “It’s one thing to say that you’re not going to run again and there’s a certain little bit of nostalgia. Then when the new governor comes in you’re really confronted with the fact that, you know, this is all over in two months. And so it’s some wistfulness. You know, you’re never going to come back and do this again. Or, it’s very, very unlikely and so…. But it is a great honor and that’s what probably I’ll just thank the people on the last day. I don’t think I’ll leave a to do list because I don’t think people are going to pay much attention to a to do list by a guy who’s got an hour left in his term.”

(Kinzel) What does Dean think will be his legacy in office as governor?

(Dean) “The major pieces of the legacy are health care for kids and for adults, the enormous amount of conservation that we’ve done which will be the longest lasting thing. Long after nobody has any idea who I am, people will be to enjoy the fact that they can use the Champion Lands to hunt, fish and farms will remain farms and forests will remain forests and so forth. And the kid stuff, the early intervention stuff with kids and most of all the fiscal stability – those are the four elements of the legacy.”

(Kinzel) Dean is planning to give a final address to the Legislature on the first day of the new session in January.

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

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