Jim Rhodes

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Jim Rhodes
Jim Rhodes in Bettsville, Ohio October 15, 1981.jpg
Governor James A. Rhodes in 1981
61st and 63rd Governor of Ohio
In office
January 13, 1975 January 10, 1983
Lieutenant Dick Celeste (1975–1979)
George Voinovich (1979)
Preceded by John J. Gilligan
Succeeded by Dick Celeste
In office
January 14, 1963 January 11, 1971
Lieutenant John W. Brown
Preceded by Michael DiSalle
Succeeded by John J. Gilligan
21st Ohio State Auditor
In office
Governor Frank J. Lausche
John William Brown
C. William O'Neill
Michael DiSalle
Preceded by Joseph T. Ferguson
Succeeded by Roger W. Tracy, Jr.
44th Mayor of Columbus
In office
Preceded by Floyd F. Green
Succeeded by Robert T. Oestreicher
Personal details
James Allen Rhodes

(1909-09-13)September 13, 1909
Coalton, Ohio, U.S.
DiedMarch 4, 2001(2001-03-04) (aged 91)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Resting place Green Lawn Cemetery
Columbus, Ohio
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)Helen Rawlins
EducationSpringfield High School
Alma mater Ohio State University

James Allen Rhodes (September 13, 1909 – March 4, 2001) was an American Republican politician from Ohio, and as of 2019 one of only seven governors to serve 4 four-year terms in office. (The other six being Edwin Edwards, George Wallace, Jim Hunt, Bill Janklow, Jerry Brown, and Terry Branstad.) Rhodes is tied for the fourth longest gubernatorial tenure in post-Constitutional U.S. history at 5,840 days. [1]

Ohio State of the United States of America

Ohio is a Midwestern state in the Great Lakes region of the United States. Of the fifty states, it is the 34th largest by area, the seventh most populous, and the tenth most densely populated. The state's capital and largest city is Columbus.

Edwin Edwards American politician, including Governor of Louisiana

Edwin Washington Edwards is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who served as the U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 7th congressional district from 1965 to 1972 and as the 50th Governor of Louisiana for four terms, twice as many elected terms as any other Louisiana chief executive. He served a total of 16 years in office, the sixth-longest serving gubernatorial tenure in post-Constitutional U.S. history at 5,784 days.

Jim Hunt American politician

James Baxter Hunt Jr. is a retired American politician who was the 69th and 71st Governor of North Carolina. He is the longest-serving governor in the state's history. Hunt is tied for the fourth-longest gubernatorial tenure in post-Constitutional U.S. history at 5,838 days.


As governor in 1970, Rhodes sent National Guard troops onto the Kent State University campus at the request of Kent, Ohio's mayor, after the ROTC building was burned down by unknown arsonists on May 2. On May 4, four students were killed and nine others were wounded by the Guard. One victim, Dean Kahler, suffered permanent paralysis. [2]

Ohio Army National Guard

The Ohio Army National Guard is a part of the Ohio National Guard and the Army National Guard of the United States Army. It is also a component of the organized militia of the state of Ohio, which also includes the Ohio Naval Militia, the Ohio Military Reserve and the Ohio Air National Guard. The Ohio Army National Guard consists of a variety of combat, combat support and combat service support units. As of September 2010, its end strength exceeded 11,400 soldiers. Its headquarters is the Beightler Armory in Columbus, Ohio. Many units conduct Annual Training at Camp Grayling, Michigan.

Kent State University public research university in Kent, Ohio, United States

Kent State University (KSU) is a public research university in Kent, Ohio. The university also includes seven regional campuses in Northeast Ohio and additional facilities in the region and internationally. Regional campuses are located in Ashtabula, Burton, East Liverpool, Jackson Township, New Philadelphia, Salem, and Warren, Ohio, with additional facilities in Cleveland, Independence, and Twinsburg, Ohio, New York City, and Florence, Italy.

Kent, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Kent is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the largest city in Portage County. It is located along the Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio on the western edge of the county. The population was 28,904 in the 2010 Census and was estimated at 29,915 in 2017. The city is counted as part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area and the larger Cleveland–Akron–Canton Combined Statistical Area.

Life and politics

The residence where Jim Rhodes was born Governor Rhodes Birthplace.jpg
The residence where Jim Rhodes was born

Rhodes was born in Coalton, Jackson County, Ohio, to James and Susan Howe Rhodes, who were of Welsh descent. [3] 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. [4] When Rhodes was nine his father died and the family moved to north Springfield where Rhodes graduated from Springfield High School where he played on the football team. Subsequently, the family moved again, this time to Columbus, because Rhodes earned a modest basketball scholarship to The Ohio State University. Although Rhodes dropped out after his first quarter he is often described as a "student" or "alumnus" of Ohio State. [3] 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 anything, from doughnuts and hamburgers, to stag films, or place bets on numbers games. [5]

Coalton, Ohio Village in Ohio, United States

Coalton is a village in Jackson County, Ohio, United States. The population was 479 at the 2010 census.

Jackson County, Ohio County in the United States

Jackson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Ohio. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,225. Its county seat is Jackson. The county is named for Andrew Jackson, a hero of the War of 1812 who was subsequently elected President of the United States. It is known as "The Little Wales of Ohio."

Welsh people nation and ethnic group native to Wales

The Welsh are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to, or otherwise associated with, Wales, Welsh culture, Welsh history and the Welsh language. Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living in Wales are British citizens.

In 1934, Rhodes began to use his position as a local businessman to climb up the Columbus political ladder, and became a ward committeeman, a member of the Columbus school board, the city auditor, and eventually the mayor of Columbus (1944–1952). It was during this time that he married Helen Rawlins. Rhodes's time as mayor is primarily marked by two achievements, with the first being his convincing of 67% of Columbus voters to approve the city's first income tax, and the second being his successful use of water gun diplomacy to annex much of the surrounding suburbs to Columbus. As surrounding communities grew or were constructed, they came to require access to waterlines, which was under the sole control of the municipal water system. Rhodes told these communities that if they wanted water, they would have to submit to assimilation into Columbus. As a result of this, Columbus, Ohio, currently has the largest land area of any Ohio city. [6]

An income tax is a tax imposed on individuals or entities (taxpayers) that varies with respective income or profits. Income tax generally is computed as the product of a tax rate times taxable income. Taxation rates may vary by type or characteristics of the taxpayer.

Water supply network system of engineered hydrologic and hydraulic components which provide water supply

A water supply system or water supply network is a system of engineered hydrologic and hydraulic components which provide water supply. A water supply system typically includes:

  1. A drainage basin.
  2. A raw water collection point where the water accumulates, such as a lake, a river, or groundwater from an underground aquifer. Raw water may be transferred using uncovered ground-level aqueducts, covered tunnels or underground water pipes to water purification facilities.
  3. Water purification facilities. Treated water is transferred using water pipes.
  4. Water storage facilities such as reservoirs, water tanks, or water towers. Smaller water systems may store the water in cisterns or pressure vessels. Tall buildings may also need to store water locally in pressure vessels in order for the water to reach the upper floors.
  5. Additional water pressurizing components such as pumping stations may need to be situated at the outlet of underground or above ground reservoirs or cisterns.
  6. A pipe network for distribution of water to the consumers and other usage points.
  7. Connections to the sewers are generally found downstream of the water consumers, but the sewer system is considered to be a separate system, rather than part of the water supply system.

With an eye on the governorship, Rhodes was elected State Auditor in 1952, and took office in early 1953. In 1954, Rhodes ran against the popular incumbent, Democratic governor Frank Lausche, and lost by a 54% to 46% margin. In 1962, Rhodes ran again for governor – this time against Democratic incumbent Mike DiSalle. Rhodes's campaign centered on "jobs and progress," and in speeches Rhodes routinely claimed that an increase in jobs would lead to a decrease in everything from crime and divorce, to mental illness. [7] 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. [8] During a debate, both Rhodes and DiSalle agreed that this was, "the most vicious campaign [of] the Ohio governorship." [3] On November 6, 1962, Ohioans voted Rhodes into the governorship with 59% of the vote. [3]

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Michael DiSalle American mayor

Michael Vincent DiSalle was an American attorney and Democratic politician from Ohio. He served as the Mayor of Toledo, Ohio and as the 60th Governor of Ohio.

A fuel tax is an excise tax imposed on the sale of fuel. In most countries the fuel tax is imposed on fuels which are intended for transportation. Fuels used to power agricultural vehicles, and/or home heating oil which is similar to diesel are taxed at a different, usually lower rate. The fuel tax receipts are often dedicated or hypothecated to transportation projects so that the fuel tax is considered by many a user fee. In other countries, the fuel tax is a source of general revenue. Sometimes, the fuel tax is used as an ecotax, to promote ecological sustainability. Fuel taxes are often considered regressive taxes.

Rhodes served two terms as governor, and 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 and narrowly lost, to U.S. Representative Robert Taft, Jr., in the primary election, which was two days after the events at Kent State.

A favorite son is a political term.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

Rhodes oversaw the last two (by electrocution) pre-Furman executions in Ohio, [9] which were both in early 1963, before Ohio resumed executions in 1999. Governor Rhodes pardoned boxing promoter , Don King, for a nonnegligent manslaughter conviction of stomping one of his employees to death and for the shooting a man in the back.[see Wikipedia (Don King boxing promoter)]

At a news conference in Kent, Ohio, on Sunday May 3, 1970, the day before the Kent State shootings, he said of campus protesters:

They're worse than the Brownshirts, and the Communist element, and also the Night Riders, and the vigilantes. They're the worst type of people that we harbor in America. [10]

Since the Ohio Constitution limits the governor to two four-year terms, when Rhodes initially filed to run again in 1974, his petitions were refused by the Secretary of State. Rhodes sued, and the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the limitation was on consecutive terms, thus freeing him to return to office by narrowly defeating incumbent John Gilligan in an upset in the 1974 election. He served two more terms before retiring again in 1983. During the energy crisis of the winter of 1976–77, Rhodes led a 15-minute service, in which he "beseech[ed] God to relieve the storm." [11] The next year, January 1978, amid a blizzard which dropped 31 inches of snow onto Ohio and killed 60 people in the Northeast, Rhodes called the storm "the greatest disaster in Ohio history." [11]

Rhodes sought to run for the governorship again in 1986, seeking a record-breaking fifth term, but soundly lost to the incumbent Dick Celeste, whom Rhodes had narrowly defeated in his last successful gubernatorial bid in 1978.

Rhodes died in Columbus on March 4, 2001, and is interred at Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.


Rhodes co-authored stories of historical fiction with Dean Jauchius, including The Trial of Mary Todd Lincoln , The Court-Martial of Commodore Perry and Johnny Shiloh, a novel of the Civil War. [12] The last was adapted to a 1963 television movie by Walt Disney, also called Johnny Shiloh , for which Rhodes received writers credit.[ citation needed ]


Numerous buildings and sites around the state have been named in Rhodes's honor, including:

See also


  1. Ostermeier, Eric (April 10, 2013). "The Top 50 Longest-Serving Governors of All Time". Smart Politics.
  2. Dean Kahler: Visitors' Center helps him move past May 4, 1970 'Dean Kahler, among the most severely wounded of the 13 Kent State students shot by the National Guard on May 4, 1970, tours the new May 4th Visitors' Center being dedicated this weekend' WKSU, May 3, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Zimmerman, p. 85-108.
  4. Zimmerman, p. 86.
  5. Zimmerman, p. 86, 87.
  6. Zimmerman, p. 87.
  7. Zimmerman, p. 92.
  8. Zimmerman, p. 93.
  9. "Ohio Executions". Archived from the original on February 23, 2008. Retrieved April 14, 2008. The History Of Executions in America Before Lethal Injection. Retrieved from Internet Archive 25 January 2014.
  10. Bills, Shirley; Bills, Scott L. (1988), "Scott L. Bills", in Scott L. Bills (ed.), Kent State/May 4: Echoes Through a Decade, Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, p. 13, ISBN   978-0-87338-360-8
  11. 1 2 Frum, David (2000), How We Got Here: The '70s, New York, New York: Basic Books, p. 322, ISBN   0-465-04195-7
  12. "Rhodes, James A. (James Allen) 1909–2001". OCLC WorldCat Identities.

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