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James Blanchard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jim Blanchard
James Blanchard (DOS-1994).jpeg
United States Ambassador to Canada
In office
August 19, 1993 – March 29, 1996
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byPeter Teeley
Succeeded byGordon Giffin
45th Governor of Michigan
In office
January 1, 1983 – January 1, 1991
LieutenantMartha Griffiths
Preceded byWilliam Milliken
Succeeded byJohn Engler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 18th district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 1, 1983
Preceded byRobert J. Huber
Succeeded byWilliam Broomfield
Personal details
James Johnston Blanchard

(1942-08-08) August 8, 1942 (age 78)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Paula Blanchard (Divorced 1987)
Janet Blanchard
EducationMichigan State University (BA, MBA)
University of Minnesota (JD)

James Johnston Blanchard (born August 8, 1942) is an American politician, attorney, and former diplomat from Michigan. A Democrat, Blanchard has served in the United States House of Representatives, as the 45th Governor of Michigan, and as United States Ambassador to Canada.

Early life and education

Blanchard was born in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up and attended the public schools in Ferndale, Michigan. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University in 1964 and an MBA in 1965. Blanchard received a Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1968 and was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan soon after.


He commenced practice in Lansing and served as legal advisor to the Michigan Secretary of State, 1968–1969. He was Assistant Attorney General of Michigan, 1969–1974, administrative assistant to the attorney general, 1970–1971, and assistant deputy attorney general, 1971–1972. In 1974 he joined the law firm of Beer and Boltz, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

U.S. Representative

Blanchard was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives from Michigan's 18th District for the 94th United States Congress and to the three succeeding Congresses, serving from January 3, 1975 to January 1, 1983. During that time, he was responsible for legislation providing federal loan guarantees for Chrysler Corporation that saved the company from a likely bankruptcy.

Governor of Michigan

Blanchard opted not to run for re-election to the U.S. House in 1982 and was elected Governor of Michigan, defeating Republican Richard Headlee, a Farmington Hills insurance company executive.[1] Blanchard served two terms as governor (1983–1991) until his defeat by Republican state senator John Engler in 1990.[2] Blanchard was the first Democratic governor to serve in 20 years since John Swainson, who left office in 1963.

On January 1, 1983, he took over what was described as "the toughest governor's job in America." His state faced a $1.7 billion deficit, the threat of bankruptcy, record high unemployment of more than 17 percent and the worst credit rating in America. Working with leaders of business, labor, education and local government, the governor put together a strategy for Michigan's future and made the tough decisions necessary to keep it on track. Blanchard completed his work as Michigan's 45th governor having balanced eight consecutive state budgets, improving the state's credit rating, established a $422 million "rainy-day fund," and producing a solvency dividend of more than $1 billion in savings from reduced borrowing costs.

Newsweek credited Governor Blanchard with leading "one of the most dramatic economic turnabouts in the recent history of state government," and national publications such as U.S. News & World Report listed him among the best governors in America, one of the innovators and energizers who made things work in an era of declining federal aid. However, Blanchard lost his second re-election campaign in 1990.[3][4]

Later career

After losing the gubernatorial election to John Engler in 1990, Blanchard became a partner in the Washington law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand. He also chaired Bill Clinton’s successful campaign for president in Michigan in 1992.

President Bill Clinton appointed him Ambassador to Canada, a position he held from 1993 to 1996. In 2002, Blanchard again ran for governor but lost his primary bid to Jennifer Granholm. As of 2004, he is a partner in the Washington D.C. law firm of DLA Piper U.S. and resides in Beverly Hills, Michigan. He serves as Chairman of Meridian International Center[5] and on the Advisory Board[6] of the Institute for Law and Politics at the University of Minnesota Law School and is Vice President of the Foundation for the National Archives. Blanchard is also co-chair of the Canada-United States Law Institute.

Blanchard served as a member of the "Debt Reduction Task Force"[7] at the Bipartisan Policy Center.[8] He is on the board of directors at Enbridge, and was a board member of Nortel [9] and Chrysler Group LLC ( 2009–2012).

Blanchard is a member of the ReFormers Caucus of Issue One.[10]


  1. ^ Associated Press (2004-11-10). "Richard Headlee, anti-tax advocate, dead at age 74". The Macomb Daily. Archived from the original on April 20, 2005. Retrieved 2006-10-12.
  2. ^ Schmidt, William E.; Times, Special To the New York (1990-07-22). "Stories of 2 Ex-Wives Enliven Michigan Race". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  3. ^ "James J. Blanchard | People | DLA Piper Global Law Firm". DLA Piper. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  4. ^ University, Michigan State. "Governor Jim Blanchard's $1 million gift establishes public service award and lecture series at MSU". MSUToday. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  5. ^ "Meridian International Center".
  6. ^ "Politics Law and Economics Blog". Politics Law and Economics Blog. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06.
  7. ^ "Search results for: debt-initiative about". Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2011-11-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Investors Are Taking Long, Hard Look at Nortel's Board". The New York Times. 13 May 2004. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  10. ^ "ReFormers Caucus - Issue One". Retrieved 2 February 2017.

Further reading

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert J. Huber
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 18th congressional district

Succeeded by
William Broomfield
Party political offices
Preceded by
William Fitzgerald
Democratic nominee for Governor of Michigan
1982, 1986, 1990
Succeeded by
Howard Wolpe
Preceded by
Bill Clinton
Chair of the Democratic Governors Association
Succeeded by
Dick Celeste
Political offices
Preceded by
William Milliken
Governor of Michigan
Succeeded by
John Engler
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Peter Teeley
United States Ambassador to Canada
Succeeded by
Gordon Giffin
This page was last edited on 17 October 2020, at 17:14
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