Forrest Hood "Fob" James, Jr. (born September 15, 1934 in Lanett, Alabama) served two terms as the governor of Alabama, from 1979 to 1983 as a Democrat, and again from 1995 to 1999 as a Republican.
James was a four-year letterman (1952-1955) and All-American halfback for the Auburn University football team. He roomed with former University of Georgia football head coach and athletic director Vince Dooley and received a civil engineering degree in 1957. Prior to entering politics, he played professional football in Canada as a member of the Montreal Alouettes during the 1956 season and worked as a civil engineer until 1963, when he founded Diversified Products Inc., a manufacturer of fitness equipment, most notably the plastic-disc barbells filled with "Orbatron," which DP invented. He served as CEO of DP until it was bought by The Liggett Group in 1977.
During his 1978 campaign for Governor, James campaigned as a "born-again Democrat". James had left the Democratic Party in the early 1970s and campaigned for Richard Nixon but he had returned to the party before the election. His main opponent Bill Baxley questioned James' party loyalty during the campaign.
During his first term as Governor, James caused controversy by passing a law allowing for teachers to lead willing students in prayer. The law was declared unconstitutional in May 1983.
James declared that he would not run for a second term in 1982. James ran for Governor again 1986 and 1990, finishing third in the Democratic party primary both times.
The Democratic party finally lost its hold on conservative Southern politics in the early 1990s and many Southern politicians switched sides, creating the Republican Revolution of 1994. Among them was James, who ran for Governor again in 1994 as a Republican, defeating Governor Jim Folsom, Jr.. James only served for one term until he was heavily defeated by Lieutenant Governor Don Siegelman in 1998.
|Governor of Alabama
Jim Folsom, Jr.
|Governor of Alabama
- Fob James. (2007, November 5). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:27, December 24, 2007