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Ray Mabus

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Ray Mabus

Ray Mabus
75th United States Secretary of the Navy
Assumed office
June 18, 2009
President Barack Obama
Deputy Robert Work
Robert Martinage (acting)
Preceded by BJ Penn (Acting)
United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
In office
July 5, 1994 – April 25, 1996
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Charles Freeman
Succeeded by Wyche Fowler
59th Governor of Mississippi
In office
January 12, 1988 – January 14, 1992
Lieutenant Brad Dye
Preceded by William Allain
Succeeded by Kirk Fordice
Auditor of Mississippi
In office
January 10, 1984 – January 12, 1988
Governor William Allain
Preceded by Hamp King
Succeeded by Pete Johnson
Personal details
Born Raymond Edwin Mabus, Jr.
(1948-10-11) October 11, 1948
Starkville, Mississippi, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Lynne Mabus
Alma mater University of Mississippi, Oxford
Johns Hopkins University
Harvard University
Religion Methodism
Awards Surface warfare officer insignia
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1970–1972

Raymond Edwin "Ray" Mabus, Jr. (born October 11, 1948) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who has served as the 75th United States Secretary of the Navy since 2009. Mabus previously served as the State Auditor of Mississippi from 1984 to 1988, as the 59th Governor of Mississippi from 1988 to 1992 and as the United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1994 to 1996.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • Political career 2
    • Mississippi State Auditor 2.1
    • Governor of Mississippi 2.2
    • Ambassador to Saudi Arabia 2.3
    • Secretary of the Navy 2.4
  • Business ventures 3
  • Awards, honors, community service 4
  • Personal life 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Mabus was born in Starkville, Mississippi, and is a fourth-generation Mississippian; he grew up in Ackerman, the only child of the owner of the local hardware store. After attending public schools, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of Mississippi, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi, with a B.A. in English and political science. He earned an M.A. in political science from Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. He also served two years in the Navy as a surface warfare officer from 1970 to 1972 aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock (CLG-4),[1] and worked as a law clerk in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Political career

Mabus began his professional career working in Washington, D.C., as legal counsel to the United States House Committee on Agriculture. Following the election of Governor William Winter, he returned to Mississippi to work in the governor's office, where the youthful staff—which included Mabus, Dick Molpus, John Henegan and Andy Mullins—earned the nickname "Boys of Spring" from a rival state legislator.[2]

Mississippi State Auditor

In 1983, Mabus was elected state auditor and served from 1984 to 1988, during this time, he participated in a large FBI sting operation which recovered millions in misspent or stolen public funds.[3] By the time it was finished, "Operation Pretense" had ensnared 57 county supervisors in 25 counties, and all but 2 supervisors served time in prison.[4]

Governor of Mississippi

At 39 years of age, he defeated Tupelo businessman Jack Reed in the 1987 gubernatorial election by 53% to 47%, becoming the youngest governor in the United States. He won "on a wave of black votes" (black voters made up about 30 percent of the state's registered voters)[5] and lost the white vote "by about 3 to 2" despite support from what a coalition one Democratic state chairman described as "poor whites" and yuppies.[6] Mabus, who ran on the slogan "Mississippi Will Never Be Last Again",[5] was billed as "the face of the New South", much like his counterpart in Arkansas at the time, Bill Clinton. Mabus was featured in a 1988 New York Times Magazine cover story titled "The Yuppies of Mississippi; How They Took Over the Statehouse".[7]

During his time as governor, he passed B.E.S.T. (Better Education for Success Tomorrow),[8] gave teachers the largest pay raise in the nation;[5] and was named one of Fortune Magazine’s ten "education governors".[9] Mississippi also had record growth in new jobs, investment, tourism and exports.

Because of the gubernatorial succession amendment ratified in 1987, Mabus was eligible to become the first governor to serve two successive terms in more than 100 years, and he ran for reelection in 1991. He was narrowly defeated in the general election by Republican Kirk Fordice, a former Vicksburg construction executive, who portrayed him as "arrogant and out of touch with Mississippi politically", with a New York Times article describing him as a "Porsche politician in a Chevy pickup state".[5]

Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Mabus was appointed by President Bill Clinton to be the United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and served from 1994 to 1996. During his tenure, a 1994 border crisis involving Yemen was defused,[10] a 1994 crisis with Iraq was deterred,[11] he presided over the embassy during the 1995 terrorist attack,[12] child abduction cases were addressed,[13] and contracts worth more than $16 billion were signed between Saudi Arabian and American companies such as Boeing,[14] and AT&T.[15]

Mabus' residence and embassy office in Riyadh were decorated with items of interest from his home state including an Ackerman phone book on his office coffee table and the Mississippi flag next to the American flag.

Secretary of the Navy

Mabus meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office in June 2010.

On March 27, 2009, Mabus was nominated by President Obama as Secretary of the Department of the Navy.[16] He was sworn in on May 19, 2009,[17] and held a ceremonial swearing in at Washington Navy Yard on June 18, 2009, where he was re-sworn in by the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.[18][19][20]

In April 2010 a furor arose when it was reported that Mabus made the controversial proposal to name a United States Navy warship the USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) after the late Pennsylvania Democratic congressman, John Murtha. Additional naming controversies occurred due to the naming of auxiliary ship after Cesar Chavez,[21] and a corvette/littoral combat ship after former Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords following her suffering life-threatening wounds in a 2011 mass shooting in her home district of Tucson, Arizona.[22]

On April 16, 2012, the Navy Secretary returned to Naval tradition of naming certain warships after former U.S. presidents, announcing the next Zumwalt-class destroyer be named the Polaris/Poseidon fleet ballistic missile submarines, all recent U.S. warships named for presidents have been aircraft carriers.

Secretary Mabus has a presence on Facebook and frequently comments about his daily activities. He is the first branch secretary to maintain a web presence.

President Obama has asked him to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan as soon as possible. The plan will be designed by states, local communities, Native American tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists and other Gulf residents".[23]

On September 16, 2013, gunman Aaron Alexis entered the Washington Navy Yard and killed 13 people and injured 14. Alexis was a 34-year-old military contractor.[24] A Pentagon internal investigation found that the shootings could have been prevented with more careful oversight of security clearances and increased security at the Navy Yard facility.[24] A ceremony was held to mark the one year anniversary of the Navy Yard massacre, honoring those who were killed and injured. Mabus stated, “We know that their lives are defined not by how they died, but by how they lived and what they lived for, and will be remembered for that always.[25]

Business ventures

In August 2007, he joined the board of EnerSys, the world's largest manufacturer, marketer and distributor of industrial batteries.[26] From 2006 to April 2007, he was Chairman and CEO of Foamex International and helped lead it out of bankruptcy. Less than nine months after his appointment, Foamex emerged from Chapter 11.[27]

Awards, honors, community service

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus presents the Navy Distinguished Public Service Medal to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal

Mabus has been awarded the U.S. Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award, the U.S. Army's Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Martin Luther King Social Responsibility Award from the King Center in Atlanta, the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award, the King Abdul Aziz Award from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Mississippi Association of Educators' Friend of Education Award.

He was included in Glassdoor's 2013 list of "Highest Rated CEOs" at 43rd place with an 82% approval rate.[28]

He is active in many community activities, primarily focusing on education. Following Hurricane Katrina, he founded the Help and Hope Foundation, which works to meet the needs of children affected by the storm.

He is a former member of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy[29] and the Council on Foreign Relations, and is the Distinguished Lecturer on the Middle East at the University of Mississippi.

As a photographer, his photographs have raised tens of thousands of dollars for various Mississippi charities.

He has appeared on many television programs as an expert on the Middle East, including 60 Minutes and Nightline.

In 2009, and again in 2014, Mabus made cameo appearances on the TV drama NCIS in the Season 7 episode "Child's Play", and in the Season 12 episode "Semper Fortis", as an NCIS Agent named "Ray".[30] He also made a cameo on NCIS: New Orleans in the episode, "Insane in the Membrane".[31]

Personal life

Mabus has three daughters, Elisabeth, Annie, and Kate. Mabus is a fan of the Major League Baseball Boston Red Sox having first followed the team during the 1975 World Series while a student at Harvard Law School.[32]

References

  1. ^ USSLittleRock.org
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ The Clarion-Ledger, June 17, 2007
  5. ^ a b c d
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ AGENCY GROUP, 05. "Doe Announces More Key Administration Posts". FDCH Regulatory Intelligence Database (n.d.): Regional Business News. Web. 3 Nov. 2011.
  9. ^ Fortune Magazine, May 28, 1990
  10. ^ Inventory of Conflict & Environment, Saudi-Yemen border dispute
  11. ^ Operation Vigilant Warrior
  12. ^ OPM-SANG background
  13. ^ State Dept. press briefing, August 6, 2002
  14. ^ "Saudi Arabian Airlines completes fleet renewal with 23rd Boeing 777", Saudia Online, 12 August 2001.
  15. ^ "TEP6 telecommunications project"
  16. ^
  17. ^ (Archived by WebCite at webcitation.org)
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Remarks by the President to the Nation on the BP Oil Spill", White House Press Office, June 15, 2010
  24. ^ a b
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Foamex International website
  28. ^
  29. ^ RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy website
  30. ^
  31. ^ http://www.tv.com/shows/ncis-new-orleans/insane-in-the-membrane-3252993/
  32. ^

External links

  • United States Navy bio page
  • Mississippi Historical Society biography
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
    • interview with Mabus, February 5, 2012Q&AC-SPAN
Political offices
Preceded by
Hamp King
Auditor of Mississippi
1984–1988
Succeeded by
Pete Johnson
Preceded by
William Allain
Governor of Mississippi
1988–1992
Succeeded by
Kirk Fordice
Preceded by
BJ Penn
Acting
United States Secretary of the Navy
2009–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dick Molpus
Democratic nominee for Governor of Mississippi
1987, 1991
Succeeded by
John Eaves
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Charles Freeman
United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
1994–1996
Succeeded by
Wyche Fowler
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