John H. Hager

John H. Hager
37th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
In office
January 17, 1998  January 12, 2002
Governor Jim Gilmore
Preceded by Don Beyer
Succeeded by Tim Kaine
Personal details
Born John Henry Hager
(1936-08-28) August 28, 1936
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) 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

Hager was born in Durham, North Carolina. He 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 Rabbe Hager, were 1928 Purdue alumni.[3] Hager earned his MBA at Harvard in 1960, and subsequently served in the United States 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 daughter, Jenna on May 10, 2008 at her parents' Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas.[5]

In 1973 he contracted polio when his son was vaccinated for the disease with live virus vaccine.[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]


Honors and awards


  1. 1 2 3 4 Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who Reproduced in Biography Resource Center (2008). John Henry Hager (Fee). Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale. Retrieved 2008-04-17. Document Number: K2014485169
  2. 1 2 HEYSER, HOLLY A. (1997-09-22). "HAGER IS SEEN AS TOLERANT, WITH A MIND OF HIS OWN". The Virginian-Pilot. Norfolk, Virginia. p. A1. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Our People – Purdue Engineering". Purdue U – School of Mechanical Engineering. 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  4. 1 2 "Archived: John H. Hager, Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative ServicesBiography". U.S. Department of Education. 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2008-04-17. He served in the U.S. Army and the Army Reserves, rising to the rank of captain. He is a member of the American Legion. A lifelong athlete, he has also competed in many wheelchair races.
  5. "Jenna Bush gets engaged". 2007-08-16. Archived from the original on 2008-01-21. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  6. 1 2 3 "Meet the RPV Chairman – Republican Party of Virginia". Republican Party of Virginia. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  7. WEINTRAUB, KAREN (1997-10-13). "LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR HOPEFUL TAKES NEW TACK ON LAKE GASTON...". The Virginian-Pilot. Landmark Communications, Inc. p. A1. Retrieved 2008-04-18. John H. Hager ... in 1992 ... ran for state party chairman ...
  8. "Frederick unseats Hager". Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
  9. "Archived: John H. Hager Assumes Duties as Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services". U.S. Department of Education. 2004-12-06. Retrieved 2008-04-18. Hager ... holds honorary degrees from Averett College in Danville, Va., Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va., and the University of Northern Virginia in Manassas.
Political offices
Preceded by
Don Beyer
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
January 17, 1998 – January 14, 2002
Succeeded by
Tim Kaine
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