Google exec Dunne ’92 in running for Vt. governor

By
Staff Writer
Friday, January 29, 2010

What do a business executive, a politician and a Brown alum have in common?

Sometimes they are one and the same, as is the case with Matt Dunne ’92. Dunne, who graduated from Brown with a degree in public policy and is Google’s manager of community affairs, is currently vying for the Democratic nomination for Vermont governor.

The field consists of four other candidates: three state senators and the Vermont secretary of state. The winner of the Democratic primary will face off against Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie, who is the presumed Republican nominee. The race is for the seat of retiring Republican Governor James Douglas.

“At the forums held so far, most candidates have agreed on most issues, so they’re trying to distinguish themselves based on their experience, their priorities and their overall approach,” wrote Bertram Johnson, assistant professor of political science at Middlebury College in Vermont, in an e-mail to The Herald.

Johnson wrote that Dunne, who officially announced his candidacy earlier this month, has tried to portray himself as bringing fresh ideas to Vermont politics. He added that Dunne “has been more technologically savvy than the other candidates.”

But he cautioned that the race is anything but certain. “He faces an uphill battle, however, because some of his opponents have been on the scene for longer and have won statewide races in the past.”

One of Dunne’s ideas is that broadband access should be available in every house in Vermont. According to media coverage of his campaign, Dunne believes this would be a way to create jobs and to turn Vermont into a technological center.

Dunne’s path to the gubernatorial race began after he graduated from Brown, when at age 22, he won a seat in the Vermont state legislature. He served four terms before being asked by President Bill Clinton to serve as director of the AmeriCorps VISTA program in Washington, D.C., a position he held under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.

Upon returning to Vermont, Dunne was again elected to the state senate. In 2006 he narrowly lost the election for lieutenant governor to Dubie.

Throughout his political campaigns, Dunne has held private-sector jobs, including work at software company Logic Associates, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and, most recently, Google.

Dunne did not return requests for an interview.