Jeremiah (“Jay”) Wilson Nixon was born on February 13, 1956. He is an American politician and lawyer who served as the 55th Governor of Missouri from 2009 to 2017 as a member of the Democratic Party. Nixon was first elected Governor in 2008 and reelected in 2012. He also served as the state’s 40th Attorney General from 1993 to 2009.
Jay Nixon grew up in De Soto, Missouri. His mother was a teacher and president of the local school board, and his father, Jeremiah “Jerry” Nixon, served as the city’s mayor. His family ancestry includes a long line of politicians. One of his paternal three great-grandfathers, Abraham Jonas, was an early Jewish settler in Illinois and a friend of former President Abraham Lincoln. His great-great-grandfather Charles Henry Jonas was the brother of Democratic U.S. Senator Benjamin F. Jonas of Louisiana. James Oscar Nixon was a brother of U.S. Representative John Thompson Nixon of New Jersey. Another paternal ancestor, John Inskeep, had served as Mayor of Philadelphia.
Political Career of Jay Nixon
In 1986, after a period of private practice in his hometown, Jay Nixon was elected to the Missouri Senate from a district in Jefferson County, where he served until his election as Attorney General.
As the state’s Attorney General, he created the Environmental Protection Division to enforce Missouri’s environmental laws by taking legal action to stop the pollution of the state’s air, water, and soil and look after Missouri’s agricultural interests. Successful litigation by the division has resulted in the cleanup of polluted sites and millions of dollars awarded to the state. His aggressive actions in the Attorney General’s Office earned him national recognition. Barrister magazine named him one of the 20 outstanding young lawyers in the nation, and the Missouri Jaycees selected him one of Ten Outstanding Young Missourians. Before becoming Attorney General, he was recognized by the Conservation Federation of Missouri for his environmental work as a state senator.
Jay Nixon has overseen the state’s involvement in the court settlements that ended mandatory urban busing in St. Louis and Kansas City’s public schools.
Controversy – Jay Nixon
The Missouri Information Analysis Center issued a report titled “The Modern Militia Movement” on February 20, 2009, informing the Missouri State Highway Patrol of several groups of people who could be linked to domestic militia groups. According to the report, these groups included white Christians, supporters of third-party presidential candidates Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and Chuck Baldwin, opponents of gun control, illegal immigration, abortion, the Federal Reserve System, and the Internal Revenue Service. Following a joint letter from Paul, Barr, and Baldwin condemning the report, Nixon and the MIAC apologized. They stated that it would no longer be displayed on any official state websites.
Recent Career of Jay Nixon
While Governor of Missouri, and during the Michael Brown incident and Ferguson unrest, Governor Nixon first turned over control of the town to the Missouri State Highway Patrol and later declared a state of emergency and implemented nightly curfews, later calling in the National Guard to help restore peace and order.
After leaving office, Nixon moved to University City, Missouri, with his wife, Georganne. The couple has two adult sons, Jeremiah and Will. He is a Methodist.