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John Mathias Engler (born October 12, 1948) is an American businessman and member of the Republican Party who was elected to serve three terms as the 46th Governor of Michigan from 1991 to 2003. He later worked for Business Roundtable, where The Hill called him one of the country's top lobbyists. In January 2018, Engler was appointed the interim president of Michigan State University.
|President of Michigan State University|
|Assumed office |
January 31, 2018
|Preceded by||Bill Beekman (acting)|
|46th Governor of Michigan|
January 1, 1991 – January 1, 2003
|Preceded by||Jim Blanchard|
|Succeeded by||Jennifer Granholm|
|Chair of the National Governors Association|
August 7, 2001 – July 16, 2002
|Preceded by||Parris Glendening|
|Succeeded by||Paul Patton|
|9th Majority Leader of the Michigan Senate|
|Preceded by||William Faust|
|Succeeded by||Dick Posthumus|
|Member of the Michigan Senate|
from the 35th district
36th district (1979–1982)
January 1, 1979 – December 31, 1990
|Preceded by||John Toepp|
|Succeeded by||Joanne Emmons|
|Member of the Michigan House of Representatives|
from the 89th district
100th district (1971–1972)
January 1, 1971 – December 31, 1978
|Preceded by||Russell Strange|
|Succeeded by||Gary L. Randall|
John Mathias Engler
October 12, 1948
Mount Pleasant, Michigan, U.S.
Engler has spent most of his adult life in government. He was serving in the Michigan Senate when he enrolled at Thomas M. Cooley Law School and graduated with a Juris Doctor degree, having served as a Michigan State senator since 1979. He was elected Senate majority leader in 1984 and served there until being elected governor in 1990.
Engler served on the board of advisors of the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, an educational organization that continues the intellectual legacy of noted conservative and Michigan native Russell Kirk. Engler also served on the board of trustees of the Marguerite Eyer Wilbur Foundation, which funds many Kirk Center programs. Engler was a member of the Annie E. Casey Foundation board of trustees until 2014. As of 2018, he serves on the board of directors of Universal Forest Products. Previous board service included serving as a director of Dow Jones and Delta Air Lines and as a trustee of Munder Funds. In 2013, Engler joined the advisory board of Blackford Capital's Michigan Prosperity Fund as chairman.
Early life and educationEdit
He was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives as a state representative in 1970 at the age of 22. He served in the House from 1971 to 1978. His campaign manager in that first election was a college friend, Dick Posthumus. Engler later became the first Republican youth vice-chair for the Michigan Republican Party, defeating future U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham. Posthumus later went on to be elected a state senator, Senate Majority Leader and Lieutenant Governor. He was Engler's running mate in the 1998 election and served from 1999 to 2003.
Engler's administration was characterized by privatization of state services, income tax reduction, a sales tax increase, educational reform, welfare reform, and major reorganization of executive branch departments.
In 2002, near the end of his final term, Engler and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality attempted to negotiate a consent order with Dow Chemical that would have resulted in a ninefold increase in the allowable levels of dioxins. The consent order would have resulted in Dow not having to pay to clean up high levels of toxins in Midland, Michigan, near its plant there, as well as in the Tittabawassee flood plain, which had been contaminated by dioxins dumped into the river from the facility and from overflow from waste ponds. The consent order fell through in late 2002.
1996 Presidential electionEdit
During the 1996 presidential election, Engler was considered by many[who?] political commentators and experts to be a serious potential vice presidential running mate for Republican nominee Bob Dole. However, Dole instead selected Jack Kemp, a former congressman and HUD secretary.
2000 Presidential electionEdit
Engler endorsed Texas Governor George W. Bush in the 2000 Republican primary. After Bush secured the GOP nomination, Engler's name began to surface as a possible running mate for Bush. In his book Decision Points, Bush says that Engler was someone he was "close" with and could "work well with." Ultimately, Engler was passed over for the running mate position in favor of Dick Cheney. After the election, Engler's close political ally Spencer Abraham, who narrowly lost his re-election bid for the Senate to Debbie Stabenow, was chosen as Bush's Secretary of Energy.
In 1990, Engler, then the state senate majority leader, challenged Governor James Blanchard in his bid for a third term. Political observers viewed his bid as a long shot, and he trailed Blanchard by double digits in the polls the weekend before the election. However, on election day, Engler pulled off the upset, defeating Blanchard by approximately 17,000 votes—a margin of less than one percentage point. In 1994, Engler ran for his second term. The Democrats nominated former Representative Howard Wolpe, who had close ties to the labor movement—a potent force in Democratic politics in Michigan. Engler bested Wolpe 61 to 39 percent, and the state Republican Party made significant gains. Spencer Abraham picked up the Senate seat of retiring Democrat Donald Riegle. Republicans gained a seat to break a tie in the state House of Representatives, taking a 56–54 majority, while also picking up a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Republican Candice Miller won an upset victory to win the post of Secretary of State.
Michigan voters re-elected Engler to his third and final term in 1998. He won a landslide victory over lawyer Geoffrey Fieger. Engler took 1,883,005 votes—62 percent of the total—to Fieger's 38 percent and 1,143,574 votes. Engler's landslide helped the state Republican Party to gain six seats in the state House of Representatives, taking control of the chamber they had lost two years previously with a 58–52 margin, as well as picking up an additional seat in the State Senate, for a 23–15 majority. Republicans also gained a seat on the technically non-partisan state Supreme Court, holding a 4–3 majority over the Democrats.
|Democratic||James Blanchard (incumbent)||1,276,134||49.1||-19.0|
|Workers World||William Roundtree||28,091||1.1||+0.7|
|Republican gain from Democratic||Swing|
|Republican||John Engler (incumbent)||1,899,101||61.5||+11.7|
|Republican||John Engler (incumbent)||1,883,005||62.2||+0.7|
After leaving the governor's mansion in January 2003, Engler served as president of the state and local government sector of Electronic Data Systems. He left that post August 31, 2004.
In September 2004, Engler was elected president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. Engler's six plus year tenure at the NAM ended in January 2011. In January 2011, Engler was named president of the Business Roundtable.
Engler married Colleen House Engler in 1975, who served in the Michigan House of Representatives and ran for lieutenant governor of Michigan in 1986. She filed for divorce in 1986.
Engler married Michelle DeMunbrun, a Texas attorney, on December 8, 1990. The couple has triplet daughters born November 13, 1994. As First Lady, Michelle Engler served as the founding chair of the Michigan Community Service Commission. Michelle Engler was named to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) board in 2001 by President George W. Bush and re-appointed in 2002.
- Whitney, Gleaves (2005). "Governor John Engler Portrait Unveiling" (PDF). State of Michigan. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 26, 2006. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- "Top Lobbyists 2015: Associations". thehill.com. October 28, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
- "Former Michigan Governor Joins Michigan Prosperity Fund Advisory Board". DowJones.com. August 28, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2013. (Subscription required (help)).
- "John Engler". On the Issues. 2015. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
- Pianin, Eric (December 31, 2002). "Michigan and Dow Drop Dioxin Pact". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
- Jordan, Heather (October 3, 2016). "Next phase of Dow dioxin cleanup coming up, EPA seeks public comment". MLive.com. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
- Christoff, Chris (July 26, 2000). "Engler finally admits he was on the VP shortlist". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on February 4, 2001. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
- "Summary of Votes for Governor 1835-2006" (PDF). Michigan Manual. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
- "John Engler". Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
- Spangler, Todd (September 28, 2017). "Betsy DeVos Names John Engler to Chair National Education Assessment Board". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on February 15, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Winowiecki, Emma (January 30, 2018). "Engler to Be Named MSU Interim President". Michigan Radio. Archived from the original on April 18, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Gerstein, Michael (January 31, 2018). "Engler Faces Pushback, Vows MSU Change". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on April 7, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- "Colleen Engler Seeks Divorce". Ludington Daily News. November 7, 1986. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
- "First Lady Michelle Engler Biography". Michigan's Former Governors. State of Michigan. 2017. Archived from the original on February 1, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Governor of Michigan
1990, 1994, 1998
| Chair of the Republican Governors Association
| Governor of Michigan
| Chair of the National Governors Association