(Stacker) — 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.
Jim Justice (R-West Virginia)
After joining his family’s business in 1976, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice launched Justice Family Farms in Monroe County, which ballooned into Justice Farming Operations. The company today farms more than 50,000 acres of soybeans, corn, and wheat. In 1993, Justice became the president and CEO of Bluestone Industries Inc. and Bluestone Coal Corp. He later rescued The Greenbrier resort from bankruptcy amid the financial crisis.
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.
Andy Beshear spent the early days of his legal career in Washington D.C. at a large international firm. But he eventually moved back home to Kentucky, where he worked as a lawyer until he ran for attorney general in 2015. He won that election and stayed in office until he ran for governor of Kentucky, an office his father Steve Beshear also held from 2007 to 2015.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan had never held elected office before winning the gubernatorial race in the state in 2014. Over his 25-year career, he worked to build up and create small businesses. He also created Change Maryland, the largest nonpartisan grassroots citizen organization in the state, which works to instill fiscal responsibility and accountability.