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.
Brian Kemp (R-Georgia)
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp owns a small real estate investment and property management business called Kemp Properties, and he was previously the president of the Athens Area Home Builders Association. From 2003 to 2007, he served as a state senator and ran to be state agriculture commissioner in 2006 but lost the primary election. He served as the secretary of state of Georgia from 2010 to 2018, when he won the gubernatorial election.
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.
Though Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey grew up working on her family’s farm, she became a high school teacher after graduating from Auburn University in 1967, and then became a bank officer before starting her career in politics. In 2002, she was elected to the position of state treasurer and successfully ran for lieutenant governor in 2010, where she was the first Republican woman to hold the role in the state’s history.
After graduating from Harvard Law School, now-Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis served as an adviser to a Navy SEAL team in Iraq, where he earned a bronze star medal for his service. He then put his law degree to use as a federal prosecutor before running for Congress in 2012.