Former Governors Have More Fun

What with the lousy hours, mediocre pay, constant media scrutiny, obligatory baby kissing and inevitable squabbling with the legislature, why would anyone want to be ...
by | June 21, 2006

What with the lousy hours, mediocre pay, constant media scrutiny, obligatory baby kissing and inevitable squabbling with the legislature, why would anyone want to be a governor? To be a former governor, of course.

Just recently I've heard about Washington's Gary Locke leading the effort to update transportation infrastructure in his state, Oregon's John Kitzhaber attempting (see final item) to fundamentally alter the U.S. health care system and Maine's Angus King traveling the world to explain the benefits of laptops in schools. In essence, former governors have the luxuries of time, fame and influence, allowing them to focus only on the issues they feel most passionately about, with a reasonable chance to actually get things done.

Even the disgraced former governors enjoy plenty of desirable options. New Jersey's Jim McGreevey is writing a book and Connecticut's John Rowland, fresh out of jail, is already signed up for a paid speaking engagement, with more likely on the way.

All of this raises a question that is perhaps more perplexing than my initial one: Why do so many of these people seem to want to return to public office?

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman | Former Staff Writer | mailbox@governing.com