Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon
55th Governor of Missouri
Gov. Jay Nixon is providing steady leadership during challenging times for Missouri and the nation, fighting every day to create new jobs and educational opportunities, while balancing the budget without raising taxes on families or businesses. Nixon has worked across the aisle to make state government smarter, more open, more accountable and more efficient – saving the taxpayers millions.
When Gov. Nixon took office in 2008, we were at the height of the worst national economic meltdown in generations. While too many Missouri families continue to struggle making ends meet, Nixon has taken decisive action to save and create jobs, and we’re now turning the corner and moving in the right direction. Gov. Nixon brought Democrats and Republicans together to pass legislation credited with saving thousands of jobs and revitalizing Missouri’s hard-hit auto industry. In 2011, the Governor signed a bill to completely eliminate the franchise tax on businesses, and he continues to champion efforts to make Missouri a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Nixon firmly believes that to thrive in the 21st-Century economy, our workers must have the skills needed to compete and get ahead. That’s why Nixon launched initiatives like Training for Tomorrow and dramatically expanded the A+ Scholarship program so that thousands more students can graduate and enter the workforce debt-free.
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 and 2010-2011 school years.
Nixon believes that just as Missouri families balance their budgets, state government must do the same. That’s why upon taking office, Nixon worked diligently to identify areas where government could be smarter and more efficient – saving the taxpayers millions. Nixon cut spending, consolidated government services, downsized the bureaucracy, better-used technology and made the tough decisions needed to keep our fiscal house in order. In total, the Governor has cut more than $1.8 billion from the state budget – balancing it each year without raising taxes.
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, Gov. 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, Gov. 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, Gov. Nixon reached across the aisle to pass several major pieces of legislation, including an expansion of pre-natal care for expectant mothers.
Gov. Nixon and his wife, Georganne Wheeler Nixon, have two sons, Jeremiah and Willson. They belong to the First United Methodist Church in Jefferson City.