MONTPELIER – When Gov. Peter Shumlin was president pro tem of the Senate, Gov. Jim Douglas occupied the fifth floor, and the two clashed over numerous issues.
Now that he is governor, Shumlin told Douglas on Thursday, he sees how frustrating it can be when you’re on the other end of the deal, trying to get the unwieldy House and Senate to do what you want.
As an example, Shumlin pointed to his ongoing effort to pass a “simple little bill” through the Legislature that would let Vermonters have “Vermont Strong” license plates on their cars. The license plates are designed raise money for Irene victims.
“They can’t move the thing along,” said Shumlin, referring to the Legislature.
During a light-hearted meeting in the governor’s ceremonial office with Douglas on Thursday, Shumlin admitted he may have been guilty of causing the gears of government to grind when he was in the Senate, and said he repented for his sins.
“Funny how your perspective has changed,” said Douglas.
Shumlin played host at the Statehouse to Douglas and the Middlebury College political science class Douglas is teaching.
Shumlin riffed on his top agenda items, and answered questions from students.
The two former rivals kept it light, offering jokes when the opportunity arose.
In comedy, timing is…everything. And timing matters when rising to the governor’s office, too, said Shumlin, noting that in his first year in office Vermont was hit with a record blizzard, record rain and record flooding – including Irene.
“The governor knew when to get out,” said Shumlin.
– Thatcher Moats