Joe E. Kernan

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Joe Kernan
48th Governor of Indiana
In office
September 13, 2003 – January 10, 2005
Lieutenant Kathy Davis
Preceded by Frank O'Bannon
Succeeded by Mitch Daniels
47th Lieutenant Governor of Indiana
In office
January 13, 1997 – September 13, 2003
Acting Governor: September 10–13, 2003
Governor Frank O'Bannon
Preceded by Frank O'Bannon
Succeeded by Kathy Davis
Personal details
Born Joseph Eugene Kernan
(1946-04-08) April 8, 1946 (age 72)
Chicago, Illinois
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Maggie Kernan
Residence South Bend, Indiana
Profession Businessman
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1969–1974
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Joseph Eugene "Joe" Kernan (born April 8, 1946) is an American politician who was the 48th Governor of Indiana from 2003 to 2005. Kernan, a member of the Democratic Party, previously served as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and then as the 47th Lieutenant Governor of Indiana from 1997 to 2003. He became Governor on September 13, 2003, upon the death of Governor Frank O'Bannon. He lost an election to serve a full term as Governor to former Office of Management and Budget director Mitch Daniels on November 2, 2004. Kernan returned to South Bend and retired from politics.

Early life and education

Joe Kernan was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1946. He graduated from St. Joseph's High School in South Bend, Indiana. He graduated in 1968 with a degree in Government from the University of Notre Dame, where he was a resident of Stanford Hall. Kernan played baseball at Notre Dame in 1967 and 1968.[1]

Military service

Kernan entered the United States Navy in 1969 and served as a Naval Flight Officer aboard the carrier USS Kitty Hawk. In May 1972, Kernan was shot down by enemy forces while on a reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. He was held as a prisoner of war for 11 months. Kernan was repatriated in 1973 and continued on active duty with the Navy until December 1974. Kernan received the Navy Commendation Medal, two Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Political career

Kernan was elected as Mayor of South Bend in 1987, 1991, and 1995. In 1996, Kernan was elected as Indiana's Lieutenant Governor, and then re-elected in 2000. As Lieutenant Governor, Kernan served as the President of the Indiana Senate, the Director of the Indiana Department of Commerce, and as the Commissioner of Agriculture.

Originally, Kernan declined to seek the governorship during the 2004 election, but decided to do so upon assuming the governorship after the death of Frank O'Bannon.

He was defeated by Mitch Daniels for a full four-year term in 2004.

Post-political career

After losing the election to Daniels, Kernan returned to private life and became president of the South Bend Silver Hawks baseball club. In July 2007, Kernan and Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard were appointed by Daniels to co-chair the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform.[2]

Personal life

In 1974 he married his wife, Maggie.

See also


Political offices
Preceded by
Frank O'Bannon
Lieutenant Governor of Indiana
January 13, 1997 – September 13, 2003
Succeeded by
Kathy Davis
Preceded by
Frank O'Bannon
Governor of Indiana
September 13, 2003 – January 10, 2005
Succeeded by
Mitch Daniels