DONALD "DON" EUGENE SIEGELMAN was born in Mobile, Alabama, in 1946. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1968, Georgetown University School of Law in 1972 and studied International Law at Oxford University in Oxford, England, from 1972 to 1973. He served Alabama as Secretary of State (1979-87), Attorney General (1987-91) and Lieutenant Governor (1995-99), and lost one gubernatorial election (1990) before his 1998 election to the governorship. Governor Siegelman was noted for his work in improving education, children's services, economic development and promoting anticrime initiatives including drunk driving and domestic violence prevention. His first act as governor was to sign an executive order to eliminate portable classrooms in public schools and to build safe new classrooms for schoolchildren. He also signed a bill into law to raise teacher salaries to the national average and removed tenure for principals. He implemented the nationally recognized Alabama Reading Initiative in 429 schools and provided rewards for schools that meet and exceed Alabama's standards for education. Governor Siegelman proved his commitment to children by appointing the state's first children's commissioner and children's cabinet. He created the Office of School Readiness to begin providing early learning opportunities to four-year-olds throughout the state. Governor Siegelman signed a number of domestic violence bills into law including one that makes domestic violence a crime in Alabama. He continued to push for tougher DUI laws, including increasing penalties for adults driving drunk with a child in the car. He expanded industry across the state by announcing the location of businesses, including Honda, Navistar, Fiat, Boeing, Toyota, Lockheed Martin and the expansion of Mercedes. He was also instrumental in enacting tort reform, including caps on punitive damages, and he established a task force charged with developing Alabama's first long-term strategic plan for economic growth. Governor Siegelman chaired NGA's Committee on Economic Development and Commerce. After leaving office, Governor Siegelman was convicted on federal charges of bribery, conspiracy, and mail fraud linked in part to his appointment of HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to a state commission that regulated Scrushy's company. In June 2007, Governor Siegelman was sentenced to a prison term of more than seven years, followed by three years' probation, as well as to pay significant financial restitution and fines, and to perform 500 hours of community service.

Source:

Alabama Department of Archives & History