Robert Lee Holden Jr. was born August 24, 1949. As an American politician and member of the Democratic Party, Holden served as the 53rd Governor of Missouri from 2001 to 2005.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Holden was raised on a farm in the Ozarks near Birch Tree. He attended a one-room schoolhouse and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science at Missouri State University where he was a member of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity. He also attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Holden met his wife Lori Hauser during his first campaign for the Missouri General Assembly and they have two boys. His brother, Calvin Ray Holden, is a Greene County Circuit Court judge.
Political Career of Bob Holden
From 1983 to 1989, Holden was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives. Holden held the position of State Treasurer from 1993 to 2001 and as governor from 2001 to 2005.
In the 2000 election, Holden narrowly defeated Republican Jim Talent. Holden was inaugurated as governor in January of 2001. His inauguration was the most elaborate and expensive in state history. The ceremony cost $1 million, of which $125,000 was paid from state government funds. The perception that his inauguration was too costly and extravagant emerged and became an overriding theme touted by his opposition.
Holden was a member of the National Governors Association and was elected chair of the Midwestern Governors’ Conference which led the Midwestern states’ efforts to stimulate the economy by focusing on education and research. He also chaired the Governor’s Ethanol Coalition and represented fellow governors on the National Medicaid Reform Task Force.
Political Platforms of Bob Holden
In 2001, Holden called a special session to create Missouri’s Senior Prescription Med Program. Regarding gun control, Holden was pro-gun, but due to his perceived negative complications that the proposed legislation would have on Missouri gun owners, he vetoed a concealed-carry bill passed by the Missouri General Assembly. This was short-lived because his veto was overridden by both the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate and the concealed-carry bill passed into law in 2003.
Holden favored greater spending on state elementary and secondary education. In one instance, he called the state legislature back into session after they had recessed for the year to ask for more state funding for education, but they refused additional monies. Holden served as a Chair of the Midwestern Governors Association in 2003. Holden’s term as governor ended on January 10, 2005.
Today – Bob Holden
Holden now teaches political science and communications courses at Webster University, where he is the Founder and Director of the Holden Public Policy Forum. The Forum describes itself as “a bi-partisan speaker series that will bring Governors, Senators, presidential candidates and private sector public policy leaders to St. Louis and the Webster University Old Post Office campus.”
Governor Holden serves as Chairman of the Midwest-U.S. China Association, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that encourages commerce between 12 states in the Midwestern United States and China.
Holden endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries of the 2008 Presidential campaign and served as a Missouri Co-Chair and a member of the Clinton campaign’s Education Policy Taskforce.