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.
As Governor, Jay Nixon has worked to make government more efficient, effective and responsive to the needs of Missouri families. He is committed to maintaining fiscal discipline, creating jobs, growing the economy and investing in public education.
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. In 2010, he called the legislature into a special session to pass the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, landmark legislation credited with saving Missouri’s auto industry and creating thousands of good manufacturing jobs. As a result, Ford, General Motors, and automotive suppliers around the state have invested billions of dollars and created thousands of jobs to build next-generation vehicles and parts in the Show-Me State.
Just like Missouri families have to do at home, Gov. Nixon has made the tough choices necessary to balance the budget every year without raising taxes. The Governor’s commitment to fiscal discipline has helped protect Missouri’s AAA credit rating, while enabling smart investments to improve education, expand access to mental health services, and help communities struck by natural disasters rebuild and recover.
Gov. Nixon has made a strong public education system one of his chief priorities. Under his leadership, Missouri’s public elementary and secondary schools have received record funding, and test scores and graduation rates have gone up. Similarly, even as other states were raising tuition by double digits, Missouri has led the nation in holding down tuition increases at public universities.
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, the late Jerry Nixon, was elected mayor of De Soto and was a judge for the community.
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.