- Jim Rhodes
name =James Allen Rhodes
order =61st & 63rd
office =Governor of Ohio
January 14, 1963
January 11, 1971 January 13, 1975– January 10, 1983
lieutenant =John W. Brown
Richard F. Celeste (1975-1979)
Michael DiSalle(1963) John J. Gilligan(1975)
John J. Gilligan(1971)
Richard F. Celeste (1983)
September 13, 1909
March 4, 2001(aged 91)
spouse =Helen Rawlins
James Allen Rhodes (
September 13, 1909– March 4, 2001) was an American Republican politician from Ohio, and as of 2006one of only five U.S. state governors to serve four four-year terms in office. As governor, he decided to send National Guard troops to Kent State Universityin 1970 to quell disturbances there, leading to the Kent State shootings, which resulted in the death of four people.
Rhodes was born in Coalton, Jackson County,
Ohio, United States, North Americato James and Susan Howe Rhodes, who were of Welsh descent.citation
editor-first =Alexander P.
title=Ohio Politics: Revised and Updated
place =Kent, Ohio
publisher=The Kent State University Press
isbn=978-0-87338-613-5] Rhodes has commented that the reason he and his family were Republicans was because of the respect his father, a mine superintendent, had for
John L. Lewis, a prominent Republican union activist.page 86] When Rhodes was nine his father died and the family moved to north Springfield where Rhodes graduated from high school, after which the family moved again, this time to Columbus, because Rhodes earned a modest basketball scholarship to Ohio State University. Although Rhodes dropped out after his first quarter he is often described as a "student" or "alumnus" of Ohio State.page 86] After dropping out of college Rhodes opened a business called "Jim's Place" across from the university on North High Street. Jim's Place has been described as a place where one could buy everything from doughnuts and hamburgers to stag films or place bets on numbers games.page 86 & 87]
Beginning in 1934 Rhodes used his position as a local businessman to climb up the Columbus political ladder, first as a ward committeeman, the Columbus school-board, city auditor and eventually becoming the mayor of Columbus (1944-1952). It is during this time that he married Helen Rawlins. Rhodes' time as mayor is primarily marked by two achievements, the first being is ability to convince 67% of Columbus voters to approve the city's first
income taxwith the second being Rhodes' ability to use "water gun" diplomacy to annex much of the surrounding suburbs into Columbus. As surrounding communities grew or were constructed they required access to waterlines, which were under the sole control of the municipal water system, Rhodes told these communities that if they wanted water they would have to submit to annexation into Columbus. As a result of this Columbus, Ohio currently has the largest land area of any Ohio city.page 87]
With an eye on the governorship, Rhodes was elected State Auditor in 1952, taking office in early 1953. In 1954 Rhodes ran against the popular incumbent Democratic governor Frank Lausche and lost. In 1962 Rhodes ran again for governor, this time against Democratic incumbent Mike DiSalle. Rhodes' campaign centered on "jobs and progress," in speeches Rhodes routinely claimed that an increase in jobs would lead to a decrease in everything from crime and divorce to mental illness.page 92] Rhodes also made DiSalle's tax increases, such as the gas tax, a prominent part of his campaign. Rhodes also weathered a minor scandal when Democratic state Chairman alleged that Rhodes diverted and borrowed a total of $54,000 from his campaign funds.page 93] During a debate both Rhodes and DiSalle agreed that this was, "the most vicious campaign [of] the Ohio governorship." On November 6th 1962 Ohioans voted Rhodes into the governorship with 59% of the vote.
Rhodes served two terms as governor - he also was a "
favorite son" Presidential candidate who controlled the Ohio delegation to the Republican National Conventions in 1964 and 1968 - before retiring in 1971. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 1970, losing the primary election to Robert Taft, Jr.which was two days after the events at Kent State.
At a news conference in
Kent, Ohio, Sunday May 3, 1970, the day before the Kent State incident he said of campus protesters:
"They're worse than the
brownshirts and the communist element and also the nightriders and the vigilantes. They're the worst type of people that we harbor in America. I think that we're up against the strongest, well-trained, militant, revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America."Fact|date=September 2008
The Ohio Constitution limits the governor to two four-year terms, so when Rhodes initially filed to run again in 1974, his petitions were refused by the Secretary of State. Rhodes sued and the
Ohio Supreme Courtruled that the limitation was on consecutive terms, thus freeing him to return to office in the 1974 election, narrowly defeating incumbent John Gilligan. He served two more terms before retiring again in 1983. He sought to run for the governorship again in 1986, seeking a record-breaking fifth term, but lost to the incumbent Richard F. Celeste, whom Rhodes had defeated in his last successful gubernatorial bid in 1978.
Rhodes died in Columbus on
March 4, 2001, and is interred at Greenlawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio. The James A. Rhodes State Office Tower, which is the tallest building in Columbus and the former home of the Ohio Supreme Court, is named in his honor.
Floyd F. Green
title=Mayor of Columbus
Robert Theodore Oestreichersuccession box
title=Governor of Ohio
John J. Gilligansuccession box
John J. Gilligan
title=Governor of Ohio
Dick Celestesuccession box
Joseph T. Ferguson
Ohio State Auditor
Roger W. Tracy Jr.
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