New Book Looks at Jeffords’ Early Years

Posted March 4, 2003 at 4:09pm

In his recently published autobiography, “An Independent Man: Adventures of a Public Servant,” Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) guides readers on a tour of his formative years in Rutland, Vt., through current-day events.

Jeffords, who authored the book with Yvonne Daley and Howard Coffin, opens by noting his wife, Elizabeth, often compares his life to an Andy Hardy movie.

“There’s a lot of truth to that statement, but if I were to pick the movie that feels most emblematic of my life story, I would choose ‘Mister Smith Goes to Washington,’ or some other wholesome film that shows what life was like before we became so obsessed with speed and consumption, a time when your word meant something and people were driven by ethics more than money — or, at least, most people were,” Jeffords writes.

Jeffords continues by tracing his experiences at Yale University, his three-year stint in the Navy, Harvard Law School, and continues to his tenure as a Vermont state Senator, Vermont attorney general and eventual election to the House in 1974 and the Senate in 1988.

The book follows on the heels of his 2001 work, “My Declaration of Independence,” which focused on the lawmaker’s decision to bolt from the Republican Party in the 107th Congress.

— Jennifer Yachnin