JAMES E. RISCH was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Idaho, where he received a bachelor's degree in forestry in 1965 and a law degree in 1968. He is an attorney, farmer and rancher, and small business owner. Risch also taught criminal justice at Boise State University. Risch served for 22 years in the Idaho Senate, and was elected by the other senators to the leadership positions of majority leader for twelve years, and president pro tempore for six years. He served three years as the lieutenant governor and president of the Senate. Risch was first elected to the Idaho Senate after serving two terms as Ada County prosecuting attorney and president of the Idaho Prosecuting Attorney's Association. As lieutenant governor, Risch served as a strong and effective advocate of economic development for Idahoans. Risch became governor in May 2006 following Governor Dirk Kempthorne's confirmation to be the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.