Fob James

Fob James

Infobox Governor
name= Forrest Hood "Fob" James, Jr.

order= 48th
office= Governor of Alabama
term_start= January 16, 1995
term_end= January 18, 1999
lieutenant= Don Siegelman
predecessor= Jim Folsom, Jr.
successor= Don Siegelman
term_start2= January 15, 1979
term_end2= January 17, 1983
lieutenant2= George McMillan
predecessor2= George Wallace
successor2= George Wallace
birth_date= birth date and age|1934|09|15
birth_place= Lanett, Alabama
spouse= Bobbie Mooney
profession= Football player, civil engineer
party= Democrat (first term)
Republican (second term)

Forrest Hood "Fob" James, Jr. (born September 15, 1934 in Lanett, Alabama) is an American Republican politician. He served two terms as the governor of Alabama, from 1979 to 1983 as a Democrat, and again from 1995 to 1999 as a Republican.

Education and early career

James was a four-year letterman (1952-1955) and All-American halfback for the Auburn University football team. He roomed with former University of Georgia football head coach and athletic director Vince Dooley and received a civil engineering degree in 1957. Prior to entering politics, he played professional football in Canada as a member of the Montreal Alouettes during the 1956 season and worked as a civil engineer until 1963, when he founded Diversified Products Inc., a manufacturer of fitness equipment, most notably the plastic-disc barbells filled with "Orbatron," which DP invented. He served as CEO of DP until it was bought by The Liggett Group in 1977.

Political career

During his 1978 campaign for Governor, James campaigned as a "born-again Democrat". James had left the Democratic Party in the early 1970s and campaigned for Richard Nixon but he had returned to the party before the election. His main opponent Bill Baxley questioned James' party loyalty during the campaign. He won, and in 1982, declared that he would not run for a second term in 1982. James ran for Governor again 1986 and 1990, finishing third in the Democratic party primary both times.

During his first term as Governor, James caused controversy by passing a law allowing for teachers to lead willing students in prayer. The law was declared unconstitutional in May 1983.

In the context of the Republican Revolution of 1994, James ran for Governor again in 1994 as a Republican, narrowly defeating incumbent Democratic Governor Jim Folsom, Jr.. As Governor James again developed a reputation of a religious conservative who vigorously supported creationism, prayer in schools, and display of the Ten Commandments in an Alabama courtroom. Despite winning a support from the national religious right leaders James was a controversial politician in Alabama.Fact|date=September 2008

At a 1995 Alabama State Board of Education meeting, James criticized the theory of evolution in textbooks by imitating a "slump-shouldered ape turning into an upright human" [ [ Fob James Wins GOP Primary Runoff For Alabama Governor - July 1, 1998 ] ] . He supported the adoption of a textbook warning sticker that stated, among other things, that "No one was present when life first appeared on earth. Therefore, any statement about life's origins should be considered as theory, not fact." [ [ Alabama Citizens for Science Education ] ] James went on to say, "If one wanted to understand something about the origin of human life, that, uh, you might ought to look at Genesis and you can get the whole story. Period." [Break the Science Barrier - television documentary]

During his second term James, who firmly supported the death penalty [ The Post Online - Fob James discusses Judith Ann Neelley commutation ] ] , presided over seven executions by electric chair [ [ Inmates Executed in Alabama ] ] (Alabama resumed executions in 1983). He, however, in one of his last official acts as Governor commuted the death sentence of Judith Ann Neelley to life in prison. This remains, as of 2008, the only post-Furman commutation of death sentence by a Governor in Alabama [ [ Clemency ] ] . Initially he did not give a reason of his decision, but later explained while no longer in office.

James again only served for one term. After a difficult Republican primary, when he faced a strong opposition of Winton Blount (a fellow conservative, who sharply criticized religious right influence), resulting in runoff, he was defeated by Lieutenant Governor Don Siegelman in 1998.

References and external Links

* [ Forrest Hood "Fob" James Jr.] Alabama Department of Archives and History.
* [ Alabama G.O.P. Governor Sees a Different New South]
* [ Fob James Wins GOP Primary Runoff For Alabama Governor]
* [ Former Alabama Gov. Fob James and his son oppose prosecutor of Judge Moore]

###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
before= George Wallace
title=Governor of Alabama
after=George Wallace
succession box
before= Jim Folsom, Jr.
title=Governor of Alabama
after=Don Siegelman
succession box
before= George Wallace
title=Democratic Party nominee for Governor of Alabama
years=1978 (won)
after=George Wallace
succession box
before= H. Guy Hunt
title=Republican Party nominee for Governor of Alabama
years=1994 (won), 1998 (lost)
after=Bob Riley

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