John Engler

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Connie Binsfeld

John Mathias Engler (born October 12, 1948) is an American politician and a member of the Republican Party. He served as the 46th Governor of Michigan from 1991 to 2003.

Engler has spent most of his adult life in government. He was serving in the Michigan Senate when he enrolled at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and graduated with a J.D. in 1981, having served as a Michigan State Senator since 1979. He was elected Senate Majority Leader in 1984 and served there until elected governor in 1990.

Engler serves on the Board of Advisors of the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, an educational organization that continues the intellectual legacy of noted conservative icon Russell Kirk. Engler also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Marguerite Eyer Wilbur Foundation, which funds many Kirk Center programs.


Personal life

Engler, a Roman Catholic, was born in Mount Pleasant and grew up on a cattle farm in Beal City. He attended Michigan State University and graduated with a degree in agricultural economics in 1971. He was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives as a State Representative in 1970 at the age of 22. His campaign manager was new MSU College Republican chair Dick Posthumus, who later went on to become Engler's Lieutenant Governor.

Engler married Colleen House in 1975. Colleen Engler, by then a state representative herself, ran unsuccessfully in the Republican gubernatorial primary in 1986. John Engler had initially declared his support for another candidate (eventual Republican nominee William Lucas), but backed Colleen Engler once she became a candidate. The couple divorced in the 1980s.

Engler married his second wife, Michelle, a lawyer, in 1990. She was named to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) board in 2001 by President George W. Bush and re-appointed in 2002. The couple have triplet daughters born November 13, 1994. The girls are named Margaret Rose, Hannah Michelle and Madeleine Jenny.

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