In 2018, 36 out of the nation’s 50 states held elections for governor. A record-shattering 16 women were major party nominees the position, nine of whom were successful, making the current number of female governors tied with the all-time high number set in 2004. The LGBTQ+ community also made historic strides, as Colorado’s Jared Polis became the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the United States, and Oregon’s Kate Brown, who is bisexual, was reelected in her state.
Fast forward to the 2022 elections, and 36 states will once again elect—or reelect— their governors. But who are these powerful politicians, and what were they doing before they took their states’ reigns?
Stacker analyzed the former roles every current governor had before taking office and found varying resumes, from positions as cabinet secretaries to the CEO of an ice cream company. Read on to find out where your state’s governor developed and honed the leadership skills that propelled them to public office or check out the national story here.
Greg Abbott (R-Texas)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began his career working for a law firm in the private sector, but became politically active in 1993 when he was named a state trial judge. Then-Gov. George W. Bush appointed Abbott to the Texas State Supreme Court where he served for a number of years. After leaving, he returned to the private sector as an attorney before launching a successful bid for Texas attorney general.
While all 50 governors bring with them experiences from different walks of life, some share several commonalities. A total of four current governors have served in the military, and 15 were at one point the lieutenant governor of their states. Eleven governors previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives, while just one was a former U.S. senator.
Keep reading below to see the former jobs of governors of other states in your region.
Before Asa Hutchinson was governor of Arkansas, he practiced law in the state. He was nominated by then-President Ronald Reagan to serve as a U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas at the age of 31, making him the youngest U.S. Attorney in the country. From 1997 to 2001, Hutchinson served as a member of Congress before President George W. Bush named him director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and eventually the undersecretary for border and transportation security at the Department of Homeland Security.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards entered the military as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army after graduating from West Point in 1988. He eventually retired from the Army as a captain. Upon returning home, he went to law school and opened a civil law practice in his rural hometown of Amite, Louisiana. In 2008, he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives.