John J. Gilligan

From Ohio History Central
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Gilligan, John J. (1).jpg
Photograph of John J. Gilligan, governor of Ohio

from 1971 to 1975.

John Joyce Gilligan was Ohio's governor from 1971 to 1975.

Gilligan was born on March 22, 1921, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame in 1943, and he then enlisted in the United States Navy, serving for the duration of World War II. Upon returning to the United States, Gilligan enrolled at the University of Cincinnati, graduating in 1947.

Upon graduating from the University of Cincinnati, Gilligan taught literature courses at Xavier University. In 1953, he embarked upon a career in politics, winning election to the Cincinnati City Council as a member of the Democratic Party. Gilligan served on the council from 1953 to 1963. In 1964, Gilligan won election to the United States House of Representatives, representing Ohio's 1st District. He only served one term (1965-1967). He lost his reelection bid because the Republican-controlled state legislature redrew his district, placing a much larger number of Republicans in it. In 1968, Gilligan unsuccessfully ran for the United States Senate.

Undaunted after these two defeats, Gilligan remained active in politics, winning election to the Ohio governor's office in 1970. During Gilligan's administration, Ohio adopted a graduated state income tax to overcome budget shortfalls. Gilligan also saw the implementation of the state lottery during his time in office, although he opposed this measure. In 1973, the state legislature and the governor concurred to lower the voting age to eighteen years, and Gilligan also secured funding to improve Ohio's transportation infrastructure. The governor sought reelection in 1974, but he lost to former governor James Rhodes.

Upon leaving the governor's office, Gilligan served as the director of the United States Agency for International Development from 1977 to 1979. He also taught at several universities, including the University of Notre Dame. In 1999, he returned to politics, winning election to the Cincinnati, Ohio, School Board. Interestingly, Gilligan's daughter, Kathleen Sebelius, serves as the governor of Kansas. Gilligan and Sebelius are the only father and daughter to be elected as state governors.

See Also