Peter Shumlin was born in Brattleboro, Vt., and currently divides his time between Putney and Montpelier. He is building a home in East Montpelier. He received a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University.
Shumlin began working in the family business, Putney Student Travel, which had been founded by his parents. He later bought the business with his brother.
Shumlin also began investing in real estate in southern Vermont, and has extensive holdings.
He served on the Putney Select Board for six years, in the Vermont House for one and a half terms and in the state Senate for five two-year terms — the last three as president pro tem — before running unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2002. He was re-elected to the state Senate in 2006 and again chosen as president pro tem.
He was elected governor in 2010.
He is separated from his wife, Deborah. They have two daughters.
Peter Shumlin is a liberal's liberal. During his time in the Vermont Senate and his first two-year term as governor, Shumlin was a strong advocate for a public, single-payer health care system, same-sex marriage and the so far unsuccessful effort to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, whose initial license expired in March 2012.
In May 2012, Shumlin signed into law the next step in a multi-year effort to revamp Vermont's health care system and make it more like Canada's. The bill calls for setting up a regulated health care marketplace or "exchange" in keeping with the 2010 federal health care reform bill. Vermont plans to use the exchange as a springboard to launch a system which is to be as close as it can get to a single-payer health insurance program by 2017.
In August 2011, Shumlin became the first U.S. governor to preside over a gay wedding. The Vermont governorship did not come with marrying authority. Shumlin spent $100 of his own money to obtain a certificate as a "temporary officiant" from the Vermont secretary of state's office.
He has a reputation for occasionally stretching the facts. During the recount that ended with his narrow 2010 primary victory over fellow state Sen. Doug Racine, Shumlin said that Aug. 24, 2010, saw a record turnout, which it did not; more voters turned out on primary day in 2000.
Shumlin is known as a skilled fundraiser and campaigner and led the effort in the 1990s to shift the state Senate from a 19-11 Republican advantage to a Democratic majority.
Shumlin lost a three-way race in 2002 for lieutenant governor to the man he defeated in 2010, Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie. In 2012, he faces Republican state Sen. Randy Brock, a critic of the governor's push for single-payer health care. Shumlin has talked up his ability to "get tough things done." He got widespread praise for his leadership in disaster recovery after tropical storm Irene triggered widespread flooding in Vermont in August 2011.
He cites among his state Senate accomplishments: approval of a gay marriage in 2009, overriding a veto of the state budget by Gov. Jim Douglas that same year and defeating a bill in 2010 that was designed to allow the state Public Service Board to consider a renewal of a permit for Vermont Yankee nuclear plant when its license expired in 2012.
As governor, he has talked about getting two budgets passed in tough fiscal times without raising broad-based taxes.
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Recent winning percentages for office currently held: 50% (2010).
(Last updated by Dave Gram on September 18, 2012.)