The following is a transcript of Governor Jim Douglas’ announcement not to run for the Senate in 2006. To hear his official announcement, click on the “Listen” icon.
(Douglas) “Ten days ago, Senator Jeffords’ announcement came as a surprise to many of us. It was certainly a surprise to me. I want to take this opportunity again to thank him for service to the state and for his personal friendship.
At my weekly press conference the day after Senator Jeffords’ announcement I made a point of saying that any speculation that I might run for the United States Senate was just that: speculation. As I’ve said many times in the past, I’m focused on serving as governor and the legislative priorities that I’ve established: passing responsible health care reform, saving Medicaid for the most vulnerable, balancing the budget while continue to moderate our tax burden and protecting our families by passing the omnibus public safety act. I’m also proud of the commitments we’ve made in the last two years to strengthen our economy and create more and better paying jobs.
The policies that we’ve enacted are working. Our unemployment is till among the lowest in the country and for the first time in our history, Vermont’s per capita income has reached the national average. We’re now beginning to see the benefits of a growing economy. We’re back on the path to prosperity and Vermonters understand we can’t afford to turn back.
But there’s much more we need to do to ensure the economic security of our state. We must continue to protect and improve our environment, address Vermont’s competitive disadvantages, build transportation and telecommunication infrastructure that support the jobs of the 21st century, combat our substance abuse problem and enhance public safety. We must continue to give Vermonters the tools, skills and training they need to succeed and to work. I still believe that no Vermonter should have to leave home to chase hope and opportunity. And we must continue our work to simplify the life of the small business owner. The last thing our mom and pop stores and family farmers need is more regulation and more mandates from government.
The speculation that has surrounded this issue though has been an unfortunate distraction from the work we need to accomplish this year and has caused other political leaders and pundits to parse and over-analyze all decisions and statements that are made. I want to stress though that the need to reform health care and enact meaningful reforms that will help us achieve universal access to affordable insurance are necessary during this legislative session. We also need to save Medicaid for the most vulnerable. We need to pass a responsible and balanced budget. We need to strengthen our commitment to the protection of our children and our families. We need to do all these things this year.
To put and end to the speculation, parsing and political jockeying that distracts from achieving these goals, I’ve decided to announce my intentions now so we can all return our attention to the work before us. So we can all get back to doing what Vermonters sent us to Montpelier to do. In many ways this was an easy decision. The principle criterion I used to arrive at was: How best can I serve the people of Vermont?” Since being elected governor, we’ve worked hard to improve the quality of life for the people of our state but there’s much more to do. I believe I can make the greatest contribution to improving our state by continuing to serve as governor. So I will not run for the United States Senate next year.”