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John H. Hager


John H. Hager

John Henry Hager
37th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
In office
January 17, 1998 – January 14, 2002
Governor Jim Gilmore
Preceded by Don Beyer
Succeeded by Tim Kaine
Personal details
Born (1936-08-28) August 28, 1936 (age 77)
Durham, North Carolina
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Margaret Chase Hager (1971–present)
Children John Vigil Hager (b. 1973)
Henry Chase Hager (b. 1978)
Profession Politician, Entrepreneur
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Captain

John Henry Hager (born August 28, 1936 in Durham, North Carolina) is an American politician who served as the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia from July 2007 until May 2008. He also served as the 37th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002, and as an assistant secretary within the United States Department of Education from 2004 to 2007.[1]

Family and early life

Growing up in Durham, Hager started a neighborhood newspaper in 1945.[2] While an undergraduate at Purdue University he ran a vending machine business, was an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and was a member of ROTC. One term, his course load was 25 credit hours – about two thirds more than normal. He was graduated with a BSME (mechanical engineering) in 1958. Both his parents, Virgil and Ruth Hager, were 1928 Purdue alumni.[3] Hager earned his MBA at Harvard in 1960, and subsequently served in the Army, rising to the rank of Captain.[4]

Hager married Margaret Dickinson "Maggie" Chase on February 27, 1971; with whom he has two sons, John (b. 1973) and Henry (b. 1978). Hager's younger son, Henry, married former President George W. Bush's fraternal twin daughter, Jenna on May 10, 2008 at her parents' Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas.[5] He contracted polio when his son was vaccinated for the disease with live virus vaccine in 1973.[3] As a result, he uses a nonmotorized wheelchair for daily ambulation – and competes in wheelchair races.[6]


After his active duty military service, Hager began work for the American Tobacco Company in Richmond, Virginia. The company retired him after his bout with polio, but he returned – beginning at the bottom again. At American Tobacco, he served as a government affairs representative. Hager was forcibly retired from the American Tobacco Company after the company's sale in 1994.[2]

In 1975, he volunteered for Lieutenant Governor John N. Dalton, and in 1984 he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention. In 1994, he co-chaired the Senatorial campaign for Oliver North.[3] He ran for state party chairman in 1992,[7] and was treasurer of the state Republican Party in 1994.

Hager has served as the director of Virginia's homeland security under Governors Jim Gilmore and Mark Warner. Hager was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 1997, defeating Democrat Lewis F. Payne, Jr. Hager is believed to be the first disabled individual to serve in an elected statewide office in Virginia.

In 2001, Hager ran for Governor of Virginia, but lost the Republican nomination to Virginia's then Attorney General, Mark Earley.

Hager is the former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services. He was nominated to this position by President George W. Bush on May 24, 2004, confirmed by the Senate on November 21, 2004[4] and resigned effective August 1, 2007.

In July 2007, Hager was elected to serve as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.[1][6] He was defeated for reelection by Delegate Jeff Frederick in May 2008.[8]


  • American Legion[6]
  • Chairman, Disability Commnission
  • co-chmn. com. on Ednl. Infrastructure
  • chmn. Faith Based Cmty. Svcs. Task Force
  • vice-chmn. Gov.'s Commn. on Transp. Policy
  • bd. dir., vice-chair Aerospace State Assn.
  • trustee, v.p. Jamestown Yorktown Found.
  • Honorary Chairman, Greater Richmond Convention Center
  • Director, President, Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership
  • dir. Ctr. for Politics, Port Jamestown 2001
  • past dir. Partnership for Urban Va.
  • past dir. Va. State C of C
  • trustee, exec. com.
  • Finance Committee, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • 1st v.p., dir. Va. Pub. Safety Found., Inc.
  • past pres., trustee, exec. com. Children's Hosp.
  • Met. Richmond Conv. and Vis. Bur. (past chmn., dir., founding dir.)
  • Va. Health Care Found. (past chmn., dir., exec. com.)
  • 7th Dist. Rep. Party (past vice chmn. 3rd district, exec. com. mem. past precinct, ward and campaign chmn.)
  • Rep. Party of Va. and del./alt. to 4 natl. convs. (past treas., past exec. com. mem., state ctrl. com. mem.)
  • ruling elder, 1st Presbyterian Church, Richmond
  • mem. drug task force Va. State Crime Commn.[1]

Honors and awards

  • Honorary degree from Mary Washington College
  • Honorary degree from Averett College
  • Honorary degree from the University of Northern Virginia[9]
  • Distinguished Engineering Alumnus, Purdue School of Engineering, 2007.[3]
  • Outstanding Young Men of America, 1976
  • Man of the Year, Tobacco International Magazine, 1990
  • Alumni Citizenship award, Purdue University, 1987
  • Service award, Richmond Republican Committee, 1992
  • Distinguished Alumni award, Durham Academy, 1992
  • Good Government award, Richmond First Club, 1996
  • Tourism Leadership award, Metropolitan Richmond Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1997
  • Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans award, Westminster-Canterbury, 1997
  • Citizenship award Virginia Council of Indians, 1998
  • Heritage award, Radford University, 2000,
  • Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year award, ARC, 2004
  • Humanitarian award, National Conference for Community and Justice, 2002[1]


Political offices
Preceded by
Don Beyer
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
January 17, 1998 – January 14, 2002
Succeeded by
Tim Kaine

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