Howard Dean called the governorship "the greatest job in Vermont" when he took the state's top post in 1991. In the decade since, Governor Howard Dean has led Vermont with a firm fiscal discipline, an unwavering commitment to children's health care and education, and a keen environmental awareness.
Governor Dean is a physician who previously shared a medical practice with his wife. (To read more about his wife Judy, click here.) He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1971 and his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City in 1978. He served in the Vermont House from 1982 to 1986; was elected lieutenant governor in 1986, and became governor in 1991 with the death of then-Governor Richard Snelling.
A common-sense moderate who firmly believes that social justice can only be accomplished through strong financial management, Governor Dean has cut the income tax twice, removed the sales tax on most clothing, and reduced the state's long-term debt. Not only did the governor pay off an inherited $70 million deficit, he worked with lawmakers to build "rainy day" reserves to help the state through any future economic downturn.
During the Dean tenure, more than 41,000 new jobs have been created, the state's minimum wage has climbed twice, incentive programs have expanded to help downtowns attract new businesses, and tax incentives were created to attract and keep new companies.
If fiscal management is Governor Dean's trademark, improving the lives of Vermont's children is his passion. A physician, Governor Dean strengthened the Dr. Dynasaur program to guarantee health coverage to virtually every child in Vermont age 18 and under. Vermont has one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country -- and highest rates of immunized children. Governor Dean has expanded programs to help seniors afford prescription drugs, and signed into law one of the toughest managed care consumer protections in the United States.
It is preservation of Vermont's precious natural resources and landscapes that the governor considers his legacy. Governor Dean worked with local communities and the federal government to preserve more than one million acres of farmland, shorefront, working forests and wilderness.
Under the Dean Administration, 76 of the state's leaking landfills were safely closed, and Vermont became a leader in the move to reduce mercury pollution and stop power plants from polluting the air. Governor Dean has created bikeways, led the effort to restore commuter rail service in Vermont, and led a strong, coordinated attack on sprawl.
Working with lawmakers, prosecutors, judges and law enforcement, Governor Dean has cracked down on violent crime in Vermont and ensured that violent felons spend time behind bars. He has fought to protect family farms, increased the number of women and minorities in judgeships and other prominent positions, cracked down on domestic violence, and put Vermont in the forefront for child support collections.