Jay Nixon

Governor Nixon was a panelist for the Forum’s discussion on The Opioid Crisis and Unprecedented Natural Disasters in a Time of Climate Change.

Jeremiah W. “Jay” Nixon (b. February 13, 1956 in DeSoto, MO) is a former Democratic governor of Missouri. Nixon was first elected governor on November 4, 2008, and was re-elected to a second term in 2012. He defeated two challengers in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary and overtook Republican Dave Spence and Libertarian Jim Higgins in the general election on November 6, 2012. He was ineligible to seek re-election in 2016 due to term limits.

Before becoming governor, Nixon served as attorney general of Missouri. He was elected to four consecutive terms in the office beginning in 1992. Prior to that, he was a member of the Missouri State Senate.

Nixon’s long tenure as attorney general is memorable for his victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in Nixon v. Shrink, which reinstated Missouri’s campaign contribution limits and cleared the way nationally for campaign finance reform. In two other cases of significance, Nixon’s work in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Health Midwest cases resulted in the formation of the state’s two largest health care foundations, and his litigation against tobacco companies for illegally marketing cigarettes to young people resulted in the largest settlement in the history of the state.

Nixon is a native of De Soto, Missouri. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1978 and 1981, respectively. After earning his J.D., he became an attorney in private practice.


  • B.A., Political science, University of Missouri-Columbia (1978)
  • J.D., University of Missouri-Columbia (1981)