Ray Mabus: Wikis


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Ray Mabus

Assumed office 
June 18, 2009
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Donald C. Winter

In office
July 5, 1994 – April 25, 1996
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Charles W. Freeman, Jr.
Succeeded by Wyche Fowler

In office
January 12, 1988 – January 14, 1992
Lieutenant Brad Dye
Preceded by William Allain
Succeeded by Kirk Fordice

In office
Preceded by Hamp King
Succeeded by Pete Johnson

Born October 11, 1948 (1948-10-11) (age 61)
Starkville, Mississippi
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lynne Mabus
Religion Methodist
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1971–1972
Rank Lieutenant (junior grade)
Unit USS Little Rock (CG-4)

Raymond Edwin "Ray" Mabus, Jr. (born October 11, 1948) is 75th United States Secretary of the Navy. Mabus served as the 60th Governor of the U.S. state of Mississippi from 1988 to 1992 and as United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1994 to 1996.


Early life

Mabus was born in Starkville and is a fourth-generation Mississippian; he grew up in Ackerman, the only child of the owner of the local hardware store. After attending public schools, he graduated from the University of Mississippi where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi, and holds a master's degree from Johns Hopkins and a law degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. He also served in the U.S. Navy aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock,[1] and worked as a law clerk in the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Political career

Mabus began his professional career working in Washington as legal counsel to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. Following the election of Governor William Winter, he returned to Mississippi to work in the governor's office, where the youthful staff– which included Mabus, Dick Molpus, John Henegan and Andy Mullins– earned the nickname "Boys of Spring" from a rival state legislator.[2]


Mississippi State Auditor

In 1983, Mabus was elected state auditor and served from 1984 to 1988, during which time he participated in a large FBI sting operation which recovered millions in misspent or stolen public funds.[3] By the time it was finished, "Operation Pretense" ensnared 57 county supervisors in 25 counties, and all but two supervisors served time in prison. According to the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger, Mabus fundamentally changed how county government functioned in the state by raising the profile of the State Auditor's office.[4]

Governor of Mississippi

In 1987, he defeated Tupelo businessman Jack Reed in the gubernatorial election by 53% to 47% [6], becoming the youngest governor in the nation at the time. Mabus, who ran on the slogan "Mississippi Will Never Be Last Again,"[5] was billed as "the face of the New South," much like his counterpart in Arkansas at the time, Bill Clinton. Mabus was featured in a 1988 New York Times Magazine cover story titled "The Yuppies of Mississippi; How They Took Over the Statehouse" which chronicled his challenges and successes.[6]

During his time as governor, he passed B.E.S.T. (Better Education for Success Tomorrow), one of the most comprehensive education reform programs in America[citation needed]; gave teachers the largest pay raise in the nation[citation needed]; and was named one of Fortune Magazine’s ten "education governors".[7] Mississippi also had record growth in new jobs, investment, tourism and exports.[citation needed]

Because of the gubernatorial succession amendment ratified in 1987, Mabus was eligible to become the first governor to serve two successive terms in more than 100 years, and he ran for reelection in 1991. He was narrowly defeated in the general election by Republican Kirk Fordice.[8]

In a 1999 poll commissioned by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Mississippians selected Mabus as the best governor of the millennium.[9]

Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Mabus was appointed by President Bill Clinton to be the United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and served from 1994 to 1996. During his tenure, a 1994 border crisis involving Yemen was diffused,[10] a 1994 crisis with Iraq was deterred,[11] a 1995 terrorist attack was weathered,[12] child custody disputes were addressed,[13] and contracts worth more than $16 billion were signed between Saudi Arabian and American companies such as Boeing,[14] AT&T[15] and others.

Mabus' residence and embassy office in Riyadh were decorated with items of interest from his home state including an Ackerman phone book on his office coffee table and the Mississippi flag next to the American flag.

Business ventures

Mabus serves on various corporate and charitable boards, and is involved in international business. In addition, he frequently assists political campaigns, in Mississippi and nationally. In May 2007, he endorsed U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL, for president, and served as senior adviser and surrogate speaker to the campaign.[16]

In August 2007, he joined the board of Enersys, the world's largest manufacturer, marketer and distributor of industrial batteries.[17] From 2006-April 2007, he was Chairman and CEO of Foamex International and helped lead it out of bankruptcy.[citation needed] Less than nine months after his appointment, Foamex emerged from Chapter 11, paid every qualified creditor 100 cents on the dollar, plus interest, and preserved equity.[18]

Return to politics as Secretary of the Navy

On March 27, 2009, Mabus was nominated by President Obama as Secretary of the Department of the Navy.[19] He was informally sworn in on May 19, 2009 [20], however it was not until an official ceremony at Washington Navy Yard on June 18, 2009 that Mabus was officially sworn in by the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.[21][22][23][24]. Mabus was considered a candidate for Obama's cabinet as secretary of education. Mabus served two years in the Navy as a surface warfare officer from 1970 to 1972.

Awards, honors, community service

Mabus has been awarded the U.S. Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award, the U.S. Army’s Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Martin Luther King Social Responsibility Award from the King Center in Atlanta, the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award, the King Abdul Aziz Award from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Mississippi Association of Educators’ Friend of Education Award.

He is active in many community activities, primarily focusing on education. Following Hurricane Katrina, he founded the Help and Hope Foundation, which works to meet the needs of children affected by the storm.

He is a member of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy[25] and the Council on Foreign Relations,[26] and is the Distinguished Lecturer on the Middle East at the University of Mississippi.

As a photographer, his photographs have raised tens of thousands of dollars for various Mississippi charities.

He has appeared on many television programs as an expert on the Middle East, including “60 Minutes” and “Nightline.”

Personal life

Mabus lives in Mississippi with his two daughters, Elisabeth (born 1990) and Annie (born 1992), and his wife, Lynne.

In 1998, Mabus secretly tape recorded conversations he had with his then-wife Julie and a mutual friend (a priest) in attempts to resolve marital difficulties. The conversations provided a basis for Mabus to obtain sole legal custody of the children from that marriage. Julie (now Hines) filed suit against the reverend, his church, and the diocese. The case was the focus of media attention for issues raised relating to privacy rights in the context of churches. Mabus's actions in the incident were not unlawful and he was not named in the suit.[27]


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Hamp King
State Auditor of Mississippi
Succeeded by
Pete Johnson
Preceded by
William Allain
Governor of Mississippi
Succeeded by
Kirk Fordice
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Charles W. Freeman, Jr.
United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Succeeded by
Wyche Fowler, Jr.
Government offices
Preceded by
Donald C. Winter
United States Secretary of the Navy


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