List of lieutenant governors of Vermont
|Lieutenant Governor of Vermont|
Coat of Arms of Vermont
|Term length||Two years, no term limit|
|Inaugural holder||Jonathan Hunt|
|Formation||1791; Constitution of Vermont|
|Succession||Every two years, unless re-elected.|
The Lieutenant Governor of Vermont is elected for a two-year term and chosen separately from the Governor. The Vermont Lieutenant Governor's main responsibilities include acting as governor when the latter is out of state or incapacitated, presiding over the Vermont Senate, and casting tie-breaking votes in the Senate when required. As a member of the State Senate's Committee on Committees, the Lieutenant Governor of Vermont plays a role in determining committee assignments for individual Senators, as well as selecting committee chairmen, vice chairmen, and clerks.
From the founding of the Republican Party in the 1850s until the 1960s only Republicans won general elections for Vermont's statewide offices. One method that made this possible was imposition of the "Mountain Rule." Under the provisions of the Mountain Rule, one U.S. Senator was a resident of the east side of the Green Mountains and one resided on the west side, and the governorship and lieutenant governorship alternated between residents of the east and west side. Nominees for governor and lieutenant governor were allowed two one-year terms, and later one two-year term. For nearly 100 years likely Republican candidates for office in Vermont agreed to abide by the Mountain Rule in the interests of party unity. Several factors led to the eventual weakening of the Mountain Rule, including: the longtime political dispute between the Proctor (conservative) and Aiken-Gibson (liberal) wings of the party; primaries rather than conventions to select nominees; the direct election of U.S. Senators; and several active third parties, including the Progressives, the Prohibition Party, and the Local Option movement. In the 1960s the rise of the Vermont Democratic Party and the construction of Interstate 89 also contributed to the end of the Mountain Rule. Though I-89 is a north-south route, it traverses Vermont from east to west and changed the way Vermonters view how the state is divided.
Vermont has no provision for filling the lieutenant governor's office in the event of a vacancy, and it has been vacant four times. Thomas Chittenden died in August 1797 while serving as governor, and Lieutenant Governor Paul Brigham served until the end of Chittenden's term in October. Brigham, the winner of that year's September election for lieutenant governor, began his new term in October and was succeeded as governor by Isaac Tichenor. In February 1870, Governor Peter T. Washburn died and George Whitman Hendee became governor. The lieutenant governor's office remained vacant until George N. Dale, the winner of that September's election, took office in October. In January 1950, Governor Ernest W. Gibson Jr. resigned and Harold J. Arthur became governor. The lieutenant governor's office was vacant until Joseph B. Johnson, the winner of the 1950 election, took office in January 1951. In August 1991, Governor Richard A. Snelling died and Howard Dean succeeded him. The lieutenant governorship remained vacant until Snelling's widow Barbara, the winner of the 1992 election, took office in January 1993.
As the independent Vermont Republic
|#||Name||Party||Term||Governor(s) served under|
|1||Joseph Marsh||—||1778–1779||Thomas Chittenden|
|2||Benjamin Carpenter||—||1779–1781||Thomas Chittenden|
|3||Elisha Payne||—||1781–1782||Thomas Chittenden|
|4||Paul Spooner||—||1782–1787||Thomas Chittenden|
|5||Joseph Marsh||—||1787–1790||Moses Robinson|
|6||Peter Olcott||—||1790–1794||Thomas Chittenden|
As the U.S. state of Vermont
Italics denote a Governor of a different party than the Lieutenant Governor
Living former Lieutenant Governors of Vermont
As of January 2017[update], seven former lieutenant governors of Vermont were alive, the oldest being Madeleine Kunin (served 1979–1983, born 1933). The most recent death of a former lieutenant governor of Vermont was that of Barbara W. Snelling (served 1993–1997, born 1928), on November 2, 2015.
|Lt. Governor||Lt. Gubernatorial term||Date of birth (and age)|
|Brian D. Burns||1975–1977||November 17, 1939|
|Madeleine Kunin||1979–1983||September 28, 1933|
|Peter Plympton Smith||1983–1987||October 31, 1945|
|Howard Dean||1987–1991||November 17, 1948|
|Doug Racine||1997–2003||October 7, 1952|
|Brian Dubie||2003–2011||March 9, 1959|
|Phil Scott||2011–2017||August 4, 1958|
- Newspaper article, Vermont Senate Committee Assignments Finally Out Archived 2012-07-13 at Archive.today, by Nancy Remsen, Burlington Free Press, January 7, 2011
- Permanent Rules of the Vermont Senate, published by Vermont State Senate, 2009 edition, page 4
- Vermont Constitution, Chapter 2, Article 19, U.S. Constitution Online web site, accessed January 2, 2011
- Newspaper article, The Mountain Rule in Vermont, New York Times, February 12, 1895
- Magazine article, Mountain Rule Revisited, by Samuel B. Hand, Vermont History Magazine, published by Vermont Historical Society, Summer/Fall 2003, pages 139 to 151
- Allen, Susan (February 6, 1992). "Wright Says Dean Offered Him The Lieutenant Governor's Post". Rutland Herald. Rutland, VT. Vermont Press Bureau. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
- Douglas, Jim, Vermont Secretary of State (August 15, 1991). "Guest Perspective: A Leader Who Made Things Happen". Bennington Banner. Bennington, VT. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Once Every 40 Years In Vermont". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. January 3, 1993. p. 6E – via Newspapers.com.
- Terms of Service, Vermont Lieutenant Governors, Vermont Secretary of State Vermont State Archives and Records Administration, 2011
- General Election Results, Vermont Lieutenant Governor, 1818 to 2011, Vermont Secretary of State, State Archives and Records Administration, 2011