Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Jim Edgar

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Bob Kustra

Brenda Smith

Succeeded by
George Ryan

Political party

Republican Party

Preceded by
Alan J. Dixon

Jim Edgar

Preceded by
James R. Thompson


January 11, 1999

Jim Edgar Former Illinois Gov Jim Edgar Illinois Pioneers

July 22, 1946 (age 77) Vinita, Oklahoma (

Former Governor of Illinois

Previous office
Governor of Illinois (1991–1999)

Eastern Illinois University, Wabash College

Remarks by former illinois governor jim edgar

James Edgar (born July 22, 1946) is an American politician who was the 38th Governor of Illinois from 1991 to 1999. Previously he served as Illinois Secretary of State from 1981 to 1991. As a moderate Republican in a largely blue-leaning state, Edgar was a popular and successful governor, leaving office with high approval ratings. Though still popular, he surprised many by retiring from elected office after his second term as governor, claiming that heart problems he had while governor were not a factor in his decision.


Jim Edgar Jim Edgar Quotes QuotesGram

Fmr gov jim edgar r on budget mess and restoring illinois

Early life and education

Edgar was born in Vinita, Oklahoma and was raised in Charleston, Illinois. He graduated from Charleston High School and attended Wabash College for one year before graduating from Eastern Illinois University, also in Charleston.

Political life

Jim Edgar Knox College News Lecture by Jim Edgar

A Republican, Edgar was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1976 and re-elected in 1978. In April 1979, Edgar resigned his state House seat to accept an appointment from Governor Jim Thompson as his legislative liaison. In early 1981, when then-Secretary of State Alan Dixon moved to the U.S. Senate, Thompson named Edgar to fill the vacancy. He won the office on his own in 1982 and 1986 and served until 1991. Edgar married Brenda Smith of Anna, Illinois; they have two children, Brad and Elizabeth.

Governor of Illinois

Jim Edgar Jim Edgar interview Blame governors not Madigan for

In 1990, Edgar won the first of his two terms as governor, winning the Republican primary against Steve Baer, and then winning a close race against his Democratic opponent, Illinois Attorney General Neil Hartigan. In 1994, he defeated conservative challenger Jack Roeser in the Republican primary, and was reelected by a wide margin carrying all but one of the state's 102 counties in the general election against his Democratic opponent, State Comptroller and former state senator Dawn Clark Netsch.

Jim Edgar Former Gov Jim Edgar has lengthy local ties News jg

In the election of 1994, the Republican Party succeeded in capturing both houses of the state legislature and all statewide offices, putting Edgar in a very strong political position. He advocated increases in funding for education along with cuts in government employment, spending and welfare programs. Due to his moderate views that appealed to Republicans and Democrats alike, he has been considered one of the most respected and popular governors in Illinois history, having been reelected by a large margin and leaving office with approval ratings well over 60%. He was also the last elected Illinois governor to not face criminal charges until Pat Quinn. Edgar served as the Chairman of the Midwestern Governors Association. By the time he left office in January 1999, Governor Edgar had eliminated the backlog in payments of the state's bills, given the state a surplus and reduced the size of state government. He had also fought for and won passage of historic legislation on the way Illinois schools are funded and had overhauled the state's child welfare system.

During his second term, the relationship between his re-election campaign and Management Systems of Illinois (MSI) came under federal scrutiny. MSI, Edgar's largest campaign contributor, was granted a contract that cost an estimated $20 million in overcharges. Eventually, a number of both private citizens and state employees were convicted in federal court. Edgar was never accused of wrongdoing, but he testified twice, once in court and once by videotape, becoming the first sitting Illinois governor to take the witness stand in a criminal case in 75 years. In those appearances, the governor insisted political donations played no role in who received state contracts.

"Edgar Ramp"

In the spring of 2016, Edgar said publicly that he believes Governor Bruce Rauner should sign the Democratic budget and support the Democratic pension plan. Edgar pushed for a pension bill to save $15 billion back in 1994. “We had a time bomb in our retirement system that was going to go off in the first part of the 21st century,” Edgar told The State Journal Register in 1994. “This legislation defuses that time bomb.” The legislature passed Edgar’s bill unanimously.

Pension debt is currently $100 billion in Illinois. Edgar’s bill moved the payments of pensions into the future and did not reform the structure of pensions. The Illinois Policy Institute says that Edgar’s ramp helped to create a political culture whereby governors and legislators borrowed money and increased taxes and put off paying pensions.

In July 2016, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Edgar and his business partners were looking to profit from the Illinois state budget problems. Edgar serves as chairman of the Illinois Financing Partners. According to the Sun-Times, the firm won approval by the state to advance money to state vendors who had been waiting for payments by the state. In turn, the firm would get to keep late payment fees when Illinois finally pays.

Later life

When U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald announced in spring 2003 that he would not run for re-election in 2004, the Bush administration approached Edgar about running for the seat. Due to his popularity, Edgar was seen as a very formidable Senate candidate. Edgar seemed likely to enter the race, but he suddenly announced he would not seek the seat, saying instead that he was giving his wife an early Mother's Day gift. His medical problems were also cited: he had recently undergone heart surgery. The Senate seat eventually was won by Democrat Barack Obama.

After months of speculation that he was once again considering getting back into politics, Jim Edgar announced at a press conference on September 30, 2005, that he would not challenge Governor Rod Blagojevich in 2006. Tearfully, Edgar said that he had reached the end of his political career.

The Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area, near Virginia, Illinois, is named in Edgar's honor.

Edgar is a distinguished fellow of the Institute of Government & Public Affairs at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. Edgar also serves on the Board of Directors of Friends of the World Food Program, a non-profit that supports the UN World Food Program and global hunger relief efforts.

Edgar gave the commencement speech at the University of Illinois College of Law graduation in May 2008.

In February 2008, Edgar endorsed Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona for President of the United States.

In a Chicago Tribune op-ed after the arrest of Governor Rod Blagojevich, Edgar said that citizens need to get involved and pay attention to the actions of government officials, and noted that most news media covered investigations of Blagojevich in 2006, yet Blagojevich was still re-elected.

Edgar was named the honorary chairman of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration at Eureka College, President Reagan's alma mater. To open the Reagan Centennial year in January 2011, Governor Edgar delivered the keynote speech at the concluding dinner of the "Reagan and the Midwest" academic conference held at Eureka College. In September 2011, Edgar helped dedicate the Mark R. Shenkman Reagan Research Center housed in the Eureka College library.

As former chairman of the board of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, Edgar underwrote the costs of the traveling trophy for the annual Lincoln Bowl tradition started in 2012. The Lincoln Bowl celebrates the Lincoln connection with Knox College and Eureka College, two Illinois colleges where Lincoln spoke, and is awarded to the winning team each time the two schools play each other in football.

Edgar started the Edgar Fellows initiative at the University of Illinois, designed to teach state representatives, city and other local officials from around the state, nonprofit officials, private-sector executives and others, how to compromise.

Edgar supported Mitt Romney in 2012. Despite Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination in 2016, Edgar publicly announced that he would not be voting for the candidate.


Jim Edgar was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State’s highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 1999 in the area of Government.


Jim Edgar Wikipedia

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