Jim Gilmore is a native of Richmond, Virginia, and the son of working class parents.
In a career encompassing important roles as an attorney, army intelligence specialist, prosecutor and state attorney general, he rose to become the 68th Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since the expiration of his term of office, he has seen distinguished service on behalf of both his party and his country.
Born in the historic “fan” district of Richmond, Gilmore is the son of supermarket meat cutter. His mother was a church secretary. After high school, he became the first in his family to attend college and was accepted at the University of Virginia where he elected to study in the field of foreign policy.
Upon graduation, Jim Gilmore volunteered for the U.S. Army and won honors after completing training at the Army Intelligence School and Defense Language Institute.
He was then assigned to the 650th Military Intelligence Group. Serving in Germany during the Vietnam War and fluent in German, Jim Gilmore played an important role in counter-intelligence work safeguarding the security of American bases in Europe.
He is the recipient of the Joint Services Commendation Medal for his service to NATO.
Returning to Virginia, Gilmore entered the University of Virginia School of Law, receiving his degree in 1977. There he met Roxane Gatling. The couple was soon married and are the parents of two grown sons, Jay and Ashton. Roxane Gilmore, a former school teacher, is a professor at Randolph-Macon College.
He began practice with a small Richmond law firm but soon felt the call of public service. In 1987, he ran for the office of prosecutor for Henrico country. He was an underdog against a well known Democrat, but won handily. As a crime fighter, he led a series of winning prosecutions that established him as a no-nonsense prosecutor determined to keep the community safe from criminals.
Four years later, he carried his prosecutorial record into Virginia’s statewide race for Attorney General. Although again considered an underdog – against a wealthy, popular Democrat from Northern Virginia — Gilmore’s crime busting determination soon became evident to Virginia’s voters electorate and he won the general election by a wide margin.
As Attorney General, Jim Gilmore established himself as a champion of the taxpayers by launching successful investigations into Medicaid fraud, government waste and consumer protection. Responding to a rash of arson attacks on African American churches, Gilmore became a national leader in a campaign to put an end to the arsons and to assure future insurability of African American churches that chose to rebuild.
With a solid record of protecting working men and women, Jim Gilmore entered the 1997 race for Governor. Once again he was considered a long shot in a race against a heavily financed and well known Democrat from Northern Virginia. But Gilmore appealed to Virginia’s traditional values of character, integrity and hard work, and campaigned on Republican principles of improving education and cutting taxes. He was overwhelmingly elected Governor carrying 56 percent of the statewide vote.
As Governor, Gilmore kept his campaign promises in both areas including hiring 4000 new teachers to reduce class sizes, reducing college tuition, implementing stronger educational standards, and for the first time ensuring all lottery profits went to education.
He also signed into law five different tax cuts for Virginians totaling $1.5 billion. Time and again, Gilmore stood his ground against those who wanted to raise revenue by increasing taxes. In doing so he earned the admiration of Virginia citizens and three times was awarded the “Friend of the Taxpayer Award” by Americans for Tax Reform. Looking to the future of the state’s economy, Gilmore created the nation’s first cabinet level Department of Technology launching Virginia into the Technology Age as “the Digital Dominion.”
Gilmore’s successes laid the basis for additional roles in the service of others. Congress chose him to chair a national commission charged with making recommendations on methods to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks on the United States. The Gilmore Commission warned in 1999 and in 2000 that America was facing a possible terrorist attack. After 9/11 Congress adopted 146 of the Gilmore Commission’s 164 recommendations.
He also chaired a Congressional Commission to study Internet Commerce and guided that group to a recommendation that the internet remain free of taxation. Today, Jim Gilmore is a recognized authority on homeland security. He is president of USA Secure, a not for profit homeland security think tank. He is also a former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. He is the overwhelming choice of the leadership of the Virginia Republican Party to seek the U.S. Senate seat being left vacant by the retirement of distinguished Republican U.S. Senator John Warner.