Madison, Wisconsin , United States
|| November 23, 1945
Mar 04, 2013 07:33pm
Caucasian - Irish - Married - Catholic - Christian - Straight -
|Info||James Edward "Jim" Doyle |
Jim Doyle is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. He took office in January 2003 as the 44th and current Governor of Wisconsin. He defeated incumbent Governor Scott McCallum by a margin of 45% to 41%, a plurality reduced by the relative success of a third party candidate, Ed Thompson, the Libertarian candidate.
Governor Doyle was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of Ruth and James E. Doyle Sr. Doyle's parents were founding members of the modern Democratic Party in Wisconsin. James E. Doyle, Sr. ran for governor in 1954 and was appointed as a federal judge in 1965. Ruth Bachhuber Doyle was the first woman from Dane County to be elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1948.
Doyle attended Stanford University for three years, then returned home to Madison to finish his senior year at UW-Madison. After graduating from college and inspired by John F. Kennedy’s call to public service, Doyle worked as a teacher in Africa as part of the Peace Corps.
In 1972, Doyle earned his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Harvard University. Doyle then moved to the Navajo Indian Reservation in Chinle, Arizona, where he worked as an attorney in a federal legal services office.
Doyle is married to Jessica Laird Doyle and they have two adult sons, Gus and Gabriel ("Gabe").
In 1975, Doyle returned to Madison and served three terms as Dane County District Attorney, from 1977 to 1982. After leaving that office, he spent eight years in private practice.
Doyle was elected Wisconsin Attorney General in 1990, and reelected in 1994 and 1998. Between 1997-1998, he served as the president of the National Association of Attorneys General. During his twelve years as Attorney General, Doyle was considered tough on crime, but not unsympathetic to its causes. He also gained recognition through several successful lawsuits against tobacco companies in the state.
After Tommy Thompson resigned as Wisconsin Governor to become Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2001, Lieutenant Governor Scott McCallum became Governor, serving out the remaining two years of Thompson's term.
Governor McCallum inherited a state with a $2.8 billion budget deficit. In 2003, McCallum signed a budget-repair bill that traded most of a long-term return from the state’s $1.6 billion tobacco settlement for a one-time lump sum that fixed the deficit for a year but didn’t provide the necessary long-term solutions. He then spent all of the money in an attempt to balance the budget in under one year.
While McCallum didn't cause the state's deficit, he was accused of not creating long-term solutions for the state and poor decision making. Doyle seized McCallum's faults and brought them to the surface in his 2002 campaign, accusing him of fiscal mismanagement.
The 2002 governor's race is considered the most negative campaign in the state's history, with frequent mudslinging from both candidates. This turned off voters and made them lose interest in both candidates. In response, Libertarian Ed Thompson, publicly critical of the negative campaigning of both major party candidates, became a more viable option for some voters. Thompson garnered a surprising 10% of the vote, energizing the Libertarian party in Wisconsin.
As the dust settled on election day, Doyle defeated McCallum by just over four points, becoming the first Democratic governor in the state since the long reign of Tommy Thompson began 16 years earlier with the defeat of Tony Earl. Doyle was sworn in on January 6, 2003 in Madison.
With Doyle's election, alongside Barbara Lawton, his Lieutenant Governor, nearly all of Wisconsin's statewide offices are now held by Democrats. Both of the state's U.S. Senators, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the State Attorney General and the Secretary of State are all Democrats. This was a blow to the state Republican party, which has long controlled the assembly and won the state senate the very night Doyle was elected governor.
As Governor, Doyle has made investing in public schools, support for regional economic development, transportation reform, and funding of scientific pursuits such as stem cell research his major programs. However, with a GOP-controlled state legislature, Doyle has had difficulties turning many of his plans into actions. Doyle has vetoed over 100 bills.
Doyle is up for reelection in 2006, along with all of Wisconsin's statewide offices and the United States Senate seat of incumbent Senator Herb Kohl. Doyle's Republican opponent is Congressman Mark Green. Former four-term Governor Tommy Thompson has indicated that he will not run for governor again, though some still look to him as a contender.