The Governors of States that Border Foreign Countries

The issue with Sarah Palin is that she is not the calibre of human we need behind a 78 year old President. That said: some of her handlers have asserted her readiness based on the proximity of her home state to a foreign nation.

Here is an incomplete list of governors whose states border foreign countries. The bios given here are actual excerpts from each politician’s official website. I was surprised at the range of competency, experience, and inspiration reflected in the group I surveyed.



Democratic Governor John Baldacci. At 23 became a member of Bangor City Council. 1982 – joined Maine State Senate, where he served for 12 years. Elected to US House of Representatives in 1994. Elected Governor in 2002.


New Hampshire

As the President and CEO of Knoll, Inc., a national furniture manufacturer, Governor John Lynch transformed a company losing $50 million a year into one making a profit of nearly $240 million. Gov. Lynch has also served as chair of the University System Board of Trustees, where he worked to keep tuition increases to a minimum; as director of Admissions at the Harvard Business School, where he made ethics one of the criteria for admissions; and as president of the Lynch Group, a business-consulting firm in Manchester. Working his way through college, Gov. Lynch earned his undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire in 1974. He also holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.



Governor Jim Douglas was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1972 – the same year he graduated from Middlebury College. His influence as a legislator increased quickly, becoming assistant majority leader in his second term and majority leader in his third term at the age of twenty-five. The Governor is past president of the Council of State Governments, chairman of the New England Governor’s Conference, a member of the Secretary of Homeland Security’s Local Advisory Council, and vice chairman, and lead governor for energy policy, for the Coalition of Northeastern Governors.


New York

At the age of 31 in 1985, Governor Paterson was elected to represent Harlem in the New York State Senate, becoming the youngest Senator in Albany. In 2003, he became the minority leader of the New York State Senate, the first non-white legislative leader in New Yorks history. He made history again in 2004 when he became the first visually impaired person to address the Democratic National Convention. He became New York’s first African American Lieutenant Governor in 2007 and is now New York’s first African American Governor.



Governor Doyle attended Stanford University for three years, then finished his senior year at UW-Madison. He is a 1972 graduate of Harvard Law School. 
Inspired by John F. Kennedys call to public service, after college the Governor and First Lady worked for two years as teachers in Tunisia, Africa in the Peace Corps. After he graduated from law school, the Governor and First Lady moved to the Navajo Indian Reservation in Chinle, Arizona to work as an attorney and teacher, respectively. Governor Doyle was elected Attorney General in 1990, and reelected as Attorney General in 1994 and 1998. He was elected as Wisconsins Governor in 2002 and reelected in 2006 with more votes than any candidate for Governor in Wisconsin history.



C.L. “Butch” Otter was elected Governor of Idaho on November 7, 2006. He previously served three terms in Congress representing Idahos 1st District (2000-2006). Governor Otter is a father of four and grandfather of five. He is married to the former Lori Easley. They live on their ranch near Star. Governor Otter was born in Caldwell on May 3, 1942. He graduated from St. Teresas Academy (now Bishop Kelly High School) in Boise, attended Boise Junior College (now Boise State University), and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the College of Idaho (now Albertson College of Idaho) in 1967. Governor Otters 30-year career in business included membership on the Board of Directors of the J.R. Simplot Company. He also served as Director of the Food Products Division, President of Simplot Livestock, and President of Simplot International. He retired in 1993.



Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a world-famous athlete and actor. He was born in Austria in 1947, and at 20 became the youngest person ever to win the Mr. Universe title. He came to America shortly after, winning an unprecedented 12 more world bodybuilding titles. Challenging both his body and mind, he earned a college degree from the University of Wisconsin and became a U.S. citizen in 1983. Three years later he married broadcast journalist Maria Shriver.



Rick Perrys political career started in 1985 as a representative for a rural West Texas district in the state House of Representatives. He was first elected to statewide office in 1990, and served as Texas Commissioner of Agriculture for two terms. Governor Perry hails from Paint Creek, a small farming community north of Abilene. His father, Ray Perry, served as a Haskell County Commissioner, school board member and a World War II tail gunner. Between 1972 and 1977, Governor Perry served in the United States Air Force flying C-130 tactical airlift aircraft in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. He is a 1972 graduate of Texas A&M University where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets, a junior and senior yell leader and an animal science major. The younger of Ray and Amelia Perry’s two children, Governor Perry is an Eagle Scout and lifetime member of American Legion Post #75.


(maritime border – cuba)

In May and November, Governor Crist lead trade missions to Israel and Brazil. In Israel, Governor Crist worked toward completing a Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Florida and the government of the State of Israel on bilateral cooperation in private sector industrial research and development. In Brazil, Team Florida learned from its number-one international merchandise trade partner more about ethanol production from top experts in the field. Approximately $300 million was anticipated to come into Floridas economy as a result of the trade mission. Governor Charlie Crist was born in 1956 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, but his family soon settled in St. Petersburg.

Governor Crist began his government service as state director for former U.S. Senator Connie Mack before later returning to the private practice of law with the Tampa firm of Wood and Crist. In 1992, Governor Crist won a seat in the Florida Senate. For six years in the Senate, Governor Crist served as Chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and as Chairman of the Appropriations Criminal Justice Subcommittee.



Prior to her election as governor, Governor Palin served two terms on the Wasilla City Council and two terms as the mayor/manager of Wasilla. During her tenure, she reduced property tax levels while increasing services and made Wasilla a business friendly environment, drawing in new industry. She has served as chair of the Alaska Conservation Commission, which regulates Alaska’s most valuable non-renewable resources: oil and gas. She was elected by her peers to serve as president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors. In this role, she worked with local, state and federal officials to promote solutions to the needs of Alaska’s communities.


Just for good measure:

HistoryVice President Dan Quayle

Vice President Dan Quayle was born on February 4, 1947, in Indianapolis, Indiana. After spending much of his youth in Arizona, he graduated from Huntington High School in Huntington, Indiana, in 1965. Dan Quayle graduated from DePauw University in 1969 and received his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis in 1974. Dan Quayle’s political career began when he was elected to the United States Congress in 1976 at age 29. He was elected to the United States Senate at age 33. On January 20, 1989 he took the oath of office as the 44th Vice President of the United States at age 41. On February 9, 1989, President Bush named Dan Quayle head of the Council of Competitiveness, which worked to ensure US international competitiveness in the 21st century. He made official visits to 47 countries, was chairman of the National Space Council, and served as President Bush’s point man on Capitol Hill. As a leader in causes from legal system reform to deregulation to the renewal of basic American values, Dan Quayle developed a large national following and became one of the most admired Americans of his time.

Very simply — Vice Presidents can have a major impact. Consider our most recent Vice President. We know that there is little authority, but there can be tremendous influence. There are several other governors I’d rather have as our country’s co-pilot.

Who else is looking forward to the debate tomorrow night???