Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon
55th Governor of Missouri
JAY NIXON is serving his second term as governor of Missouri. Garnering the highest margin of victory for a non-incumbent governor in 44 years, Nixon was overwhelmingly elected by Missourians as their 55th Governor on Nov. 4, 2008, to lead the state in a new direction. Gov. Nixon was elected to a second term on Nov. 6, 2012.
Governor Nixon has put forward an agenda to make government more efficient, effective and responsive to the needs of Missouri families. He is committed to attracting the jobs of the future to Missouri, making health care more affordable and placing a college education within reach for middle-class students.
As he did while serving in the state Senate and during his four terms as attorney general, Governor Nixon is reaching across the aisle to put Missouri families first. During his first legislative session as Governor in 2009, Nixon successfully worked with the Republican-controlled legislature to pass his comprehensive jobs bill to put Missourians back to work in the face of a 25-year high in unemployment. The legislature also passed Caring for Missourians, an initiative by Gov. Nixon that will enable Missouri’s public colleges and universities to graduate an additional 900 professionals in high-demand health care fields each year.
The General Assembly also made permanent the reforms Gov. Nixon enacted during his first week in office when he opened up every license fee office in Missouri for competitive bid, a move that ended a decades-long system of political patronage.
Gov. Nixon has made a strong public education system one of his chief priorities. During his first year in office, Missouri’s public elementary and secondary schools received a record amount of funding. Similarly, even as other states were cutting funding for their universities and raising tuition by double digits, the Governor reached a historic agreement to freeze tuition rates for the 2009-2010 school year and keep funding for those schools stable.
Prior to becoming Governor, Jay Nixon was elected to a record four terms as Missouri’s Attorney General, beginning in 1992. Inheriting an office tainted by scandal, Nixon restored integrity to the Attorney General’s Office by cleaning up corruption, cracking down on crime, and protecting consumers and the environment. Under his leadership, the Attorney General’s Office became one of the most efficient and effective in state government.
As Attorney General, Nixon earned a reputation for taking on the toughest fights and winning. Nixon himself argued before the United States Supreme Court in Nixon v. Shrink, a landmark victory that reinstated Missouri’s campaign contribution limits and cleared the way nationally for campaign finance reform. His lawsuit against the big tobacco companies continues to collect billions of dollars for Missourians, and his settlements with the insurance industry and hospitals led to the formation of two of the largest health care foundations in state history. One of Nixon’s most successful programs, Missouri’s popular No-Call List, has become a model for states across the nation to stop unwanted telemarketing calls.
A native of De Soto, Missouri, Jay Nixon was raised in a family of public servants. His mother, the late Betty Nixon, was a teacher and served as president of the local school board. His father, Jerry Nixon, was elected mayor of De Soto and was a judge for the community.
Growing up in a home with these strong examples, Nixon learned at a young age that faith and family come first – and giving back to the community comes next. It is a philosophy that has guided him throughout his career in public service.
After earning both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Nixon returned to DeSoto to practice as an attorney. In 1986, he was elected to his first term in the Missouri State Senate, where he would represent the people of Jefferson County for six years. As a State Senator, Nixon reached across the aisle to pass several major pieces of legislation, including an expansion of pre-natal care for expectant mothers.
Governor Nixon and his wife, Georganne Wheeler Nixon, have two sons, Jeremiah and Willson. They belong to the First United Methodist Church in Jefferson City.