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John Henry Hager (born August 28, 1936) is an American entrepreneur and politician who served as the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia from August 2007 until May 2008. He also served as the 37th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002, and as an assistant secretary within the United States Department of Education from 2004 to 2007.[1]

John H. Hager
Chair of the Virginia Republican Party
In office
August 1, 2007 – May 31, 2008
Preceded byEd Gillespie
Succeeded byJeff Frederick
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
In office
November 21, 2004 – August 1, 2007
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
SecretaryRod Paige
Margaret Spellings
Preceded byRobert Pasternack
Succeeded byTracy Ralph Justesen
37th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
In office
January 17, 1998 – January 12, 2002
GovernorJim Gilmore
Preceded byDon Beyer
Succeeded byTim Kaine
Personal details
John Henry Hager

(1936-08-28) August 28, 1936 (age 82)
Durham, North Carolina
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Margaret Chase Hager (1971–present)
ChildrenJohn Vigil Hager (b. 1973)
Henry Chase Hager (b. 1978)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army


Family and early lifeEdit

Hager was born in Durham, North Carolina. He started a neighborhood newspaper in 1945.[2] While an undergraduate at Purdue University he ran a vending machine business, was an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and was a member of ROTC. One term, his course load was 25 credit hours – about two thirds more than normal. He was graduated with a BSME (mechanical engineering) in 1958. Both his parents, Virgil and Ruth Rabbe Hager, were 1928 Purdue alumni.[3] Hager earned his MBA at Harvard in 1960, and subsequently served in the United States Army, rising to the rank of captain.[4]

Hager married Margaret Dickinson "Maggie" Chase on February 27, 1971; with whom he has two sons, John (b. 1973) and Henry (b. 1978). Hager's younger son, Henry, married former President George W. Bush's daughter, Jenna on May 10, 2008 at her parents' Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas.[5]

In 1973 he contracted polio when his son was vaccinated for the disease with live virus vaccine.[3] As a result, he uses a nonmotorized wheelchair for daily ambulation – and competes in wheelchair races.[6]


After his active duty military service, Hager began work for the American Tobacco Company in Richmond, Virginia. The company retired him after his bout with polio, but he returned – beginning at the bottom again. At American Tobacco, he served as a government affairs representative. Hager was forcibly retired from the American Tobacco Company after the company's sale in 1994.[2]

In 1975, he volunteered for Lieutenant Governor John N. Dalton, and in 1984 he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention. In 1994, he co-chaired the Senatorial campaign for Oliver North.[3] He ran for state party chairman in 1992,[7] and was treasurer of the state Republican Party in 1994.[citation needed]

Hager has served as the director of Virginia's homeland security under Governors Jim Gilmore and Mark Warner. Hager was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 1997, defeating Democrat Lewis F. Payne, Jr. Hager is believed to be the first individual with a disability to serve in an elected statewide office in Virginia.

In 2001, Hager ran for Governor of Virginia, but lost the Republican nomination to Virginia's then Attorney General, Mark Earley.

Hager is the former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services. He was nominated to this position by President George W. Bush on May 24, 2004, confirmed by the Senate on November 21, 2004[4] and resigned effective August 1, 2007.

In July 2007, Hager was elected to serve as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.[1][6] He was defeated for reelection by Delegate Jeff Frederick in May 2008.[8]


  • American Legion[6]
  • Chairman, Disability Commission
  • co-chmn. com. on Ednl. Infrastructure
  • chmn. Faith Based Cmty. Svcs. Task Force
  • vice-chmn. Gov.'s Commn. on Transp. Policy
  • bd. dir., vice-chair Aerospace State Assn.
  • trustee, v.p. Jamestown Yorktown Found.
  • Honorary Chairman, Greater Richmond Convention Center
  • Director, President, Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership
  • dir. Ctr. for Politics, Port Jamestown 2001
  • past dir. Partnership for Urban Va.
  • past dir. Va. State C of C
  • trustee, exec. com.
  • Finance Committee, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • 1st v.p., dir. Va. Pub. Safety Found., Inc.
  • past pres., trustee, exec. com. Children's Hosp.
  • Met. Richmond Conv. and Vis. Bur. (past chmn., dir., founding dir.)
  • Va. Health Care Found. (past chmn., dir., exec. com.)
  • 7th Dist. Rep. Party (past vice chmn. 3rd district, exec. com. mem. past precinct, ward and campaign chmn.)
  • Rep. Party of Va. and del./alt. to 4 natl. convs. (past treas., past exec. com. mem., state ctrl. com. mem.)
  • ruling elder, 1st Presbyterian Church, Richmond
  • mem. drug task force Va. State Crime Commn.[1]

Honors and awardsEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who Reproduced in Biography Resource Center (2008). John Henry Hager (Fee). Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale. Retrieved April 17, 2008. Document Number: K2014485169
  2. ^ a b HEYSER, HOLLY A. (September 22, 1997). "HAGER IS SEEN AS TOLERANT, WITH A MIND OF HIS OWN". The Virginian-Pilot. Norfolk, Virginia. p. A1. Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d "Our People – Purdue Engineering". Purdue U – School of Mechanical Engineering. March 5, 2007. Retrieved April 17, 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Archived: John H. Hager, Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services—Biography". U.S. Department of Education. August 14, 2007. Retrieved April 17, 2008. He served in the U.S. oArmy and the Army Reserves, rising to the rank of captain. He is a member of the American Legion. A lifelong athlete, he has also competed in many wheelchair races.
  5. ^ "Jenna Bush gets engaged". August 16, 2007. Archived from the original on January 21, 2008. Retrieved April 17, 2008.
  6. ^ a b c "Meet the RPV Chairman – Republican Party of Virginia". Republican Party of Virginia. Retrieved April 17, 2008.
  7. ^ WEINTRAUB, KAREN (October 13, 1997). "LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR HOPEFUL TAKES NEW TACK ON LAKE GASTON..." The Virginian-Pilot. Landmark Communications, Inc. p. A1. Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2008. John H. Hager ... in 1992 ... ran for state party chairman ...
  8. ^ "Frederick unseats Hager". Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved May 31, 2008.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Archived: John H. Hager Assumes Duties as Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services". U.S. Department of Education. December 6, 2004. Retrieved April 18, 2008. Hager ... holds honorary degrees from Averett College in Danville, Va., Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va., and the University of Northern Virginia in Manassas.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Don Beyer
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
January 17, 1998 – January 14, 2002
Succeeded by
Tim Kaine