Douglas forms transition team

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(Host) Governor-elect Jim Douglas announced the formation of his transition team on Wednesday. Douglas says the biggest challenge facing the team will be the formation of a new state budget.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Sound of cheering supporters.)

(Kinzel) Douglas received a hero’s welcome from GOP officials when he arrived at the Statehouse to meet with reporters to discuss the details of his new transition effort.

Douglas named four people to his transition team; Tim Hayward, the director of the Vermont Bankers Association will head the group. Former Deputy Treasurer Mike Smith will work on budget issues, lobbyist Betsy Bishop will coordinate policy positions and Douglas’ campaign manager Neil Lunderville will serve as the communications director of the group.

Douglas says he expects that budget concerns will emerge as the biggest challenge facing his new administration:

(Douglas) “As an agency head now, I’m going through the process that all department managers are – preparing a recommended budget for the current administration, along with a very significant reduction scenario, a 5% cut as a possibility for the governor’s consideration. So working with the current administration in getting the information together and applying my priorities and policy objectives to the budget will be a key goal during the coming couple of months.”

(Kinzel) The transition team will also be responsible for all the new appointments to the Douglas administration. Douglas says there will be a lot of new faces in Montpelier.

(Douglas) “I’ll seek the best possible appointees to all the positions in state government regardless of political party affiliation. I said throughout the course of the campaign that it takes more than just Republicans to fashion a majority or even a plurality in Vermont, so I will look forward to seeking the talents of others who are not necessarily Republicans and reflecting that in my administration.”

(Kinzel) Douglas may face some challenges with the new Legislature because the Democrats picked up a number of seats in Tuesday’s election. They now have a 19 to 11 majority in the Senate and they have virtually erased the Republican majority in the House. Douglas says he looks forward to working with the General Assembly in a bipartisan manner to address the key issues facing the state.

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

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