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Jim McGreevey

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James McGreevey

James E. "Jim" McGreevey (born August 6, 1957) is an American politician from the Democratic Party. He served as the Governor of New Jersey from January 15, 2002 until November 15, 2004, when he resigned three months after admitting that he had had an extramarital affair with the male employee he had hired as his homeland security aide. He was the first and, to date, the only openly gay state governor in American history.

Contents

Career

McGreevey was born in Jersey City and attended St. Joseph's High School in Metuchen. He graduated from Columbia University in 1978 and later earned a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1981 and a master's degree in education from Harvard University in 1982. McGreevey was a member of the New Jersey State Assembly from 1990 to 1992, when he became Mayor of Woodbridge, New Jersey. He was re-elected mayor in 1995 and 1999. He was elected to the State Senate in 1993, simultaneously serving as mayor during the four-year Senate term. He first ran for governor in 1997, but was defeated in a close race (47%-46%) by the incumbent Republican, Christine Todd Whitman, with Libertarian candidate Murray Sabrin taking slightly over 5% of the vote. McGreevey ran for the governorship again in 2001 and won. His Republican opponent in that race was Bret Schundler, who began to campaign after Donald DiFrancesco dropped out of the race due to allegations of corruption.

After being elected to the governorship on his second try (on November 6, 2001), McGreevey inherited a $5 billion budget deficit. During his term McGreevey fought tax increases for most residents of the state, though he did eventually raise the tax on cigarettes and increased the state tax rate for the very wealthy.

McGreevey is a Roman Catholic of Irish descent. Due to his pro-choice stance on abortion, he stated as governor that he would not receive communion at public church services. This decision came after a request by Newark Archbishop John J. Myers for pro-choice supporters to not seek communion when they attended mass. He is committed to the separation of church and state, having said that he believes "it's a false choice in America between one's faith and constitutional obligation."[1] (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,119140,00.html) McGreevey implemented a stem cell research plan for New Jersey, and heavily lobbied for the state's first domestic partnership law for same-sex couples, which he signed into law in early 2004, prior to his own coming out as a gay man.

McGreevey has one daughter from his first marriage to Kari Schutz, which ended in divorce, and one daughter from his second marriage to Dina Matos.

Decision to resign

McGreevey's first term was mired in controversy, from the credentials of several of his appointments to pay-for-play and extortion scandals involving many of his backers and key New Jersey Democratic fundraisers. On August 12, 2004, faced with reports that Golan Cipel would file a sexual harassment suit against him in Mercer County Court, McGreevey announced at a press conference that he was "a gay American", that he "engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man" (whom his aides immediately named as Cipel), and that he would resign effective November 15, 2004. This announcement made McGreevey America's first openly gay governor. The Star-Ledger won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage. McGreevey had previously appointed Cipel to serve as his homeland security aide. After only eight months in office, Cipel resigned from the post amid complaints about his lack of qualifying experience for the position.

The announcement allowed McGreevey to be the first to present the news of the upcoming suit to the media, while the delay of the effective date of resignation until after September 3, 2004 avoided a special election in November to replace the governor. This allowed the Democratic Party to remain in power for at least another year, while avoiding the prospect of George W. Bush running in tandem with a Republican candidate for governor, possibly capturing New Jersey's electoral votes. (Bush did not win New Jersey's electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election, but did better than in 2000.)

Almost immediately after McGreevey's announcement, Republicans and others in New Jersey called upon the governor not to wait until November to resign and instead to do so at once.[2] (http://nytimes.com/2004/08/13/nyregion/13CND-MCGREEVEY.html?hp) An editorial in the New York Times read, "Mr. McGreevey's strategy [to delay resignation] doesn't serve New Jersey residents well. The state will be led by an embattled governor mired in personal and legal problems for three months."[3] (http://nytimes.com/2004/08/13/opinion/13fri1.html) An online petition paid for by the "Scott Garrett for Congress" campaign was claimed to have drawn 10,000 signatures by Garrett's campaign manager on August 27, although it wasn't clear how many of the signatures were those of New Jersey residents. On September 15, U.S. District Judge Garrett Brown Jr. dismissed the case Afran v. McGreevey, filed by Green Party lawyers Bruce Afran and Carl Mayers, dismissing their claim that the postponement of McGreevey's resignation had left a vacancy, thereby violating New Jersey residents voting rights. Brown stated, McGreevey "clearly intends to hold office until Nov. 15, 2004. The requirement of holding a special election does not arise. The rights of registered voters are not being violated." Afran re-filed the same suit in Mercer County Superior Court and Judge Linda R. Feinberg heard arguments on October 4.

Fellow Democrat and New Jersey Senate President Richard Codey took office upon McGreevey's resignation and is expected to serve the remainder of the term – until the November 2005 gubernatorial election. The New Jersey State Constitution stipulates that Senate president retains that position while serving as acting governor.

Trivia

In 2005 television writer Dena Higley cited Jim McGreevey's story as inspiration for her storyline on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live in which DA Daneil Colson (Mark Dobies) murders Paul Cramer (David Tom) and Jennifer Rapport (Jessica Morris) as well as marries Nora Buchanan (Hillary Bailey Smith) to hide his homosexuality and advance his political career.

External links


Preceded by:
Acting Governor Richard Codey
Governor of New Jersey
2002–2004
Succeeded by:
Acting Governor Richard Codey

Template:End boxde:James McGreevey fr:James McGreevey pl:Jim McGreevey

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