(Host) Governor Jim Douglas held the final press conference of his gubernatorial career yesterday afternoon.
And as VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports, the governor had a surprise for members of the Capital press corps.
(Kinzel) Douglas asked reporters to meet him outside his state office building to begin his last press conference – but he didn’t indicate why.
Over the past 8 years, the governor began many of his press conferences by highlighting the work of different community groups or special local projects. It’s a tradition known as a "dog and pony" show. Douglas acknowledged it’s a practice he often used.
(Douglas) "During each of these dog and pony shows, as some have referred to them, as you’ve listened patiently you’ve asked probing questions and occasionally done a story. So if you’ll bear with me for just a moment I have something special for you."
(Kinzel) Douglas then walked to a loading dock on the side of the building and a large gray door began to open.
(Kinzel) When the door was fully open, a pony named Iroc and a dog named Annie greeted the governor.
(Douglas) "To show to all of you that we will end this tenure with a literal dog and pony show ( laughter )… Certainly better behaved than the Legislature!"
(Kinzel) Douglas then led the press corps inside and encouraged them to join him in his daily climb up five flights of stairs to his office:
(Kinzel) At the large wooden table in his conference room, Douglas reflected on the work of the press during his four terms in office.
(Douglas) "I’ve tried to answer every one of your questions fully, except for the ones I didn’t want to. I never got mad except once. But I want to thank you and your predecessors for your dedication to your profession and to the people of our state."
(Kinzel) What will Douglas miss the most about leaving office?
(Douglas) "Interacting with Vermonters…folks I’ve met in every corner of our state who are doing great things, bettering the lives of themselves and their families, of their communities, making a real contribution to Vermont‘s future."
(Kinzel) Douglas’s press secretary David Coriell signaled the end of the news conference and Douglas urged reporters to sample a beverage that had been placed on the table.
(Coriell) "Alright we’ve got to wrap it up…
(Douglas)"Well thank you all, thanks for the gifts and drink the Kool Aid – come on, just once."
For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.