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Howard Dean was the Chairman of Democrat National Committee from February 2005 until January 2009. He is from Vermont, although he was born in East Hampton, New York. He ran for the Democrat Presidential nomination in 2004, but lost to Senator John Kerry.
His political career started in 1991, when he became Governor of Vermont when Richard A. Snelling died in office. Dean was re-elected to five two-year terms, serving from 1991 to 2003, making him the second longest-serving governor in Vermont history. Dean served as chairman of the National Governors Association from 1994 to 1995; during his term, Vermont paid off much of its public debt and had a balanced budget 11 times, lowering income taxes twice. Dean also oversaw the expansion of the "Dr. Dynasar" program, which ensures Affordable Health Care for children and pregnant women in the state.
As Chairman of the DNC, Dean created and employed the "50 State Strategy" that attempted to make Democrats competitive in normally conservative states. The success of the strategy became apparent after the 2006 midterm elections, where Democrats took back the House and picked up seats in the Senate from normally Republican states such as Missouri and Montana. In the 2008 election, Barack Obama used "The 50 state strategy" as the backbone of his candidacy.