Philip Hoff, who became the first Democrat elected governor of Vermont in more than 100 years in 1962, died on Thursday, April 26. He served as governor for three terms from 1963 to 1969. Governor Hoff is credited with making changes “many Vermonters may be surprised to find still shape their lives today,” according the VTDigger story Democratic groundbreaker former Gov. Phil Hoff dies.
The article by Kevin O’Connor states:
During Hoff’s tenure, the Vermont House reapportioned itself from a chamber where each of the state’s 246 cities and towns had its own representative to the current 150-member body.
The newly streamlined Legislature went on to ban billboards that once cluttered state highways, move then-local welfare programs to Montpelier, end the poll tax as a voting requirement, convert the state income tax to a percentage of the federal rate, and create what’s now the Vermont Student Assistance Corp., area agencies on aging, Legal Aid and Vermont Public Television.
Much of Hoff’s agenda was so ahead of its time it wasn’t approved until after his departure in 1969. Take his planting the idea of land-use planning that led to Act 250 under Gov. Deane Davis in the 1970s. Or his push to import Canadian electricity that drew power when Gov. Richard Snelling secured a contract with Hydro-Quebec in the 1980s. Or his call for a school funding law, requiring richer areas to help poorer ones, that mirrored the act signed by Gov. Howard Dean in the 1990s.
President John F. Kennedy Meets with Governor-elect of Vermont, Philip H. Hoff. Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum