James H. Douglas served the people of Vermont as governor for more than 35 years. He was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives after graduating in 1972 from Middlebury College. He became assistant majority leader in his second term, and majority Leader in his third term at the age of 25. He was executive assistant to Governor Richard Snelling in 1979 and 1980.

James was elected as Vermont's Secretary of State in 1980, a post he held for 12 years.  He was elected state treasurer in 1994, serving the people of Vermont in that role for eight years. Under his leadership Vermont's, bond rating came to be the best in New England - and one of the highest in the nation.  
James successfully sought the office of governor in 2002, and was re-elected in 2004, 2006 and 2008.  During his tenure, he focused on strengthening the state’s economy, reducing the cost of living in Vermont, and protecting the state’s natural environment. 
James also advanced groundbreaking health reforms that have made Vermont a model among the states in health care. And, he worked to strengthen the relationship between Vermont and Quebec and the other Canadian provinces.
While serving as governor, James was chosen for leadership positions by his colleagues. He served as president of the Council of State Governments, twice as chairman of the New England Governors’ Conference, and chairman of the Coalition of Northeastern Governors, and chairman of the National Governors Association. In February 2010, President Barack Obama appointed him co-chair of the Council of Governors.
James is now an Executive in Residence at Middlebury College. He serves on the boards of several local companies, and on the Governors' Advisory Council of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC. He continues as town moderator for Middlebury, a post he has held for 30 years. He and his wife, Dorothy Douglas, have two sons and two grandsons.