Clendenin, West Virginia , United States
|| January 06, 1948
May 25, 2016 05:40pm
|Info||Robert Ellsworth "Bob" Wise, Jr. |
Bob Wise is an American politician. A Democrat, Wise served as Governor of West Virginia from January 2001 to January 2005.
Wise was born in Washington, D.C. He received a B.A. from Duke University in 1970 and a law degree from Tulane University's College of Law in 1975. Wise's political career began in 1980, when he was elected to the State Senate of West Virginia as a Democrat from the state capital, Charleston. In 1982, Wise was elected to the US House of Representatives from West Virginia's 3rd District. He unseated Republican Mick Staton in a close race, but was reelected eight times without serious opposition. His district was renumbered the 2nd after West Virginia's declining population cost it a congressional seat after the 1990 census. Wise served as an at-large whip, regional whip, and parliamentarian for the Democratic Party. He also served as ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
In 2000, Wise ran for governor against Republican incumbent Cecil Underwood, winning 51% to 47%. He chaired the National Governors Association Committee on Natural Resources.
In May 2003, Wise made national headlines when revelations of an extramarital affair with a married woman who worked in the state's economic development office surfaced in the Charleston Daily Mail. Although the affair was in no way illegal and did not, as some feared, involve any state money (though the affair did occur during State sponsored trips to Europe), the resulting scandal forced Wise to drop his plans for re-election in 2004. It is unlikely that Bob Wise would have won the election considering his approval rating at the time. Wise's eventual successor, Secretary of State Joe Manchin, a more conservative Democrat, had already announced that he would oppose him in the primary election.
Wise's tenure of Governor saw the greatest loss in employment in State history (including the Great Depression) and a tightened fiscal environment. Wise responded to the economic challenges of the state by attempting to attract businesses through an extensive tax and infrastructure assistance program. Wise also intervened with the Department of Justice's Antitrust division to prevent the merger of steel manufacturing plants in the state.
Wise is credited with creating the PROMISE scholarship, which allows many West Virginia students to attend any public in-state university free of charge, to be funded by a major expansion in gambling. Soon after he left office, the underfunded program was cut back drastically.
Following his term, he returned to Washington, DC. He now serves as the President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a non-profit devoted to secondary education policy.
Wise and his wife, Sandy, have two children, Robert and Alexandra.
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