Snelling Mulls Bid for Governor
Mark Snelling, the son of former Gov. Richard Snelling and Lt. Gov. Barbara Snelling, just may soon follow in his parents' footsteps from the business world to the world of politics.
The younger Snelling confirmed to Seven Days that he is seriously considering a run for either governor or lieutenant governor. He joins a growing list of hopefuls to announce gubernatorial intentions after Gov. Jim Douglas announced last week that he won't seek a fifth term for governor in 2010.
“I’ve spent 35 years in business full time, and my part-time job has been public policy, and I believe that my set of skills and experiences would be a particular good fit to meet the challenges that Vermont is facing,” said Snelling.
Snelling, who lives in Starksboro, is currently the president of the Snelling Institute, which was created in honor of his father. He also runs Shelburne Corporation, the family business, which makes brass wire products.
He’s also chaired the governor’s council of environmental advisers, and been the past chairman of the board of Housing Vermont, and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.
His sister, Diane Snelling, serves in the Vermont Senate and is the only Republican from Chittenden County.
He won’t base his decision solely on what Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie decides, either. Dubie is seen by many in GOP circles as the heir apparent to Douglas. State Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin), who served one term as auditor, is also considered a possible candidate for governor, as is Sen. Vince Illuzzi (R-Essex/Orleans). Neither Brock nor Illuzzi are likely to run for governor if Dubie is a candidate.
“I know Brian, and I like Brian and think he would make a good governor. But I’m not focusing specifically on Brian as the person I would talk to or wait to see what he does,” said Snelling. “There’s an awful lot of fluidity in the situation right now."
Snelling said it's still early in the process, and he's not setting a date by which he needs to make an announcement.
"I'm talking to Democrats, Republicans and people who know me well and know the lay of the land well and all the pluses and minuses," said Snelling. "I know what it takes to run for governor, and lieutenant governor. I've been involved in 10 statewide campaigns."
Snelling said in his public policy capacity he's worked with Democrats, Republicans and people from various political and policy backgrounds in efforts where the group was trying to achieve a common goal. That ability to bring people together, he believes, is something he believes would serve the state well during its current fiscal crisis — both in terms of improving the economy and shoring up the state budget.
There has been perhaps no modern political family in Vermont more associated with statewide offices and public policy than those with the Snelling surname.
Republican Gov. Richard Snelling served twice as governor, with his second term cut short by his death in August 1991. His wife, Barbara Snelling, was elected lieutenant governor in 1992 and served two terms. She suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 1996 while campaigning for governor.
She was later elected to the state senate, in 1998, representing Chittenden County, where she served until she retired in 2002.
Their daughter, Diane Snelling, currently is a Republican state senator from Chittenden County.