James Doyle (Wisconsin)
|44th Governor of Wisconsin|
|January 6, 2003 – January 3, 2011|
|Bachelor's||University of Wisconsin-Madison|
|Birthday||November 23, 1945|
Governor Doyle was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Ruth and James E. Doyle Sr. who were founding members of the modern Democratic Party in Wisconsin. James E. Doyle Sr. unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1954 and was appointed as a federal judge in 1965. Ruth Bachhuber Doyle was the first woman from Dane County, Wisconsin 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 University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduating from college and inspired by John F. Kennedy's call to public service, Doyle worked as a teacher in Tunisia as part of the Peace Corps from 1967 to 1969.
In 1972, Doyle earned his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Harvard University. Doyle then moved to the Navajo Nation in Chinle, Arizona, where he worked as an attorney in a federal legal services office.
Doyle is married to Jessica Laird Doyle, niece of former Congressman Melvin R. Laird, and great-granddaughter of William D. Conno, who was Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin from 1907 to 1909. They have two adult adopted African-American sons, Gus and Gabe.
In 1975, Doyle returned to Madison and served three terms as Dane County, Wisconsin 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 re-elected in 1994 and 1998. Between 1997 and 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.
As Governor, Doyle came into office with a $3.2 billion deficit and although in the 2006 campaign he claimed to solve the state's deficit problems Wisconsin ended the year 2006 with a deficit of $2.15 billion. Proposals for new programs have been constrained by continued budget cutting and his honoring a campaign pledge not to raise taxes. He signed a property tax freeze that has resulted in an anticipated decrease in average statewide property taxes in 2006. His stated priorities are: investing in public schools, property taxes, regional economic development, transportation reform and funding of stem cell research. In a television ad, actor Michael J. Fox gave support for Doyle due to his support of stem cell research.
In February 2007, Doyle proposed to tax oil companies more than $270 million over the next two years to help pay for the state's transportation needs.
Gov. Jim Doyle's administration negotiated the public employee contracts and it hit a snag in the state legislature in mid-December 2010.
The Wisconsin Senate was deadlocked 16-16 on the series of public employee contracts the chamber considered. Democratic state Sens. Russ Decker and Jeff Plale joined Republican state senators in opposition.
"It wasn't a party-line vote," Decker said.
Decker is a member of the Bricklayers International Union. He voted for the slate of union contracts in a joint legislative committee Wednesday morning. He was stripped of his majority leader title in a closed-door meeting, following the first deadlocked vote.
When the Senate returned to vote by the same count on each of the remaining contracts, state Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, took the role of majority leader.
"I'm extremely surprised," said state Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha. "Never in a million years would you that the majority leader,who's been telling people for two weeks that they (the Senate) had the votes and they were moving forward, would be the one to actually kill (the series of contracts)," Barca said.
After Tommy Thompson resigned as Wisconsin Governor to become United States 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 $3.2 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 Multistate Settlement Agreement 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 by some to have been the most Negative campaigning in the state's history, with frequent mudslinging from both candidates and independent groups. In response, Libertarian Party candidate Ed Thompson (brother of Tommy), publicly critical of the negative campaigning of both two-party system candidates, became a more viable option for some voters. Thompson garnered a surprising 10% of the vote.
As the dust settled on election day, Doyle defeated McCallum by over four points, becoming the first Democratic governor in the state since Anthony Earl was defeated in 1986. Doyle was sworn in on January 6, 2003 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Doyle defeated Republican Congressman Mark Green in 2006, after a primary in which neither candidate faced opposition. Doyle topped Green 53% to 45% in a year in which no incumbent Democratic governor, senator, or congressman lost their re-election bid.
During the campaign, Doyle was dogged by charges that Georgia Thompson, a state employee Doyle had never met, had steered a contract to a firm politically connected with his campaign. Thompson was convicted in late 2006, but unexpectedly released immediately on April 4, 2007 by an appellate court, who called the U.S. Attorney's case "beyond thin."Doyle indicated she could have her old job back. The case's political implications have been taken up by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
- Wisconsin Office of the Governor Jim Doyle Official state site
- National Governors Association - Wisconson Governor Jim Doyle biography
- Follow the Money - Jim Doyle 2006 campaign contributions
- On the Issues - Jim Doyle issue positions and quotes
- Project Vote Smart - Governor James E. 'Jim' Doyle (WI) profile
- Doyle Lawton Official campaign site
- "Notable Former Volunteers / Government."Peace Corps official site. Accessed 5 January, 2007.
| Succeeded by|
|Wisconsin Attorney General
| Succeeded by|
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