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Kenneth Guinn

In office
January 1, 1999 – January 1, 2007
Lieutenant Lorraine Hunt
Preceded by Bob Miller
Succeeded by Jim Gibbons

Born August 24, 1936 (1936-08-24) (age 73)
Garland, Arkansas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Dema Guinn
Residence Las Vegas, Nevada
Alma mater Fresno State University
Utah State University
Profession Banker
Religion Episcopalian

Kenneth Carroll "Kenny" Guinn (born August 24, 1936) is an American educator and businessman who was the 27th Governor of Nevada from 1999 to 2007. Guinn is a member of the Republican party.


Early life and career

Guinn was born in Garland, Arkansas and grew up in Exeter, California. He and his wife Dema, whom he married in Reno on July 7, 1956, have two sons, Jeff and Steve.

Guinn earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in physical education from Fresno State College[1]. He received his Bachelor of Arts in 1957. Guinn later earned a Doctorate in Education from Utah State University in 1970.

Guinn was the superintendent of the Clark County School District from 1969 to 1978. From 1978 to 1987, he was as Vice President of Nevada Savings and Loan. From 1987 to 1988, he was President and Chairman of the Board of PriMerit Bank. From 1988 to 1993, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Gas Corporation and from 1993 to 1997 he was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of that company. He briefly served as interim President of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas from 1994 to 1995. In May 2007 he was elected to the board of directors for Las Vegas-based MGM Mirage.

Political career

Guinn was first elected Governor in 1998, defeating Democratic nominee Las Vegas Mayor Jan Laverty Jones, with 52% of the vote. When Guinn ran for re-election in 2002, he received 68% of the vote, defeating Democratic nominee state Senator Joe Neal, who got only 22%. In November 2005, Time magazine named him one of the five best governors in the U.S.[2][3]

As governor of Nevada, Guinn developed a reputation as a moderate Republican who appealed to many Democrats. Many conservative critics derided the governor as a "RINO," or "Republican in Name Only." Such criticisms reached a fever pitch during the 2003 legislative session when Guinn shepherded through a one-billion dollar tax increase, the largest in Nevada history. In percentage terms, Guinn's 2003 tax hike was the largest tax increase ever by one of the 50 states, but it was praised as "a controversial but realistic step to shore up the overstretched budget of the nation's fastest-growing state."[4]

In 2006, Guinn declined to endorse Jim Gibbons, the Republican nominee for Governor of Nevada, due to bitter disagreements between the two politicians. Guinn said only that he hoped a Republican would succeed him as governor. Gibbons defeated the Democratic nominee, Dina Titus.

Guinn's second term as Governor ended January 1, 2007. Prior to leaving office, he enjoyed an approval rating of 66%, leaving office as one of the most popular governors in the nation, according to public opinion surveys.

There was speculation that President George W. Bush would nominate Guinn for a position at the White House or in federal government after the end of his gubernatorial term. Guinn's 2006 defiance of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in issuing a military headstone for fallen Wiccan Nevada National Guardsman Sergeant Patrick Stewart when the VA refused to do so may have been a factor in Bush not asking Guinn to take a federal position.[5]


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Bob Miller
Governor of Nevada
Succeeded by
Jim Gibbons

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