Born in Washington, D.C., BOB WISE earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University in 1970 and a J.D. from Tulane University College of Law in 1975. He was elected to the West Virginia State Senate in 1980. Two years later, he won the first of nine consecutive elections to the U.S. House of Representatives. While in Congress, Wise served in his party’s leadership as an at-large whip, a regional whip, and parliamentarian. Elected governor in 2000, Wise targeted education, economic development, and health care during his administration. He championed legislation: establishing the PROMISE Scholarship Program to help West Virginia students stay in the Mountain State to attend college; creating an economic stimulus package that combined public and private investment to generate in excess of $750 million of economic activity across West Virginia; achieving medical liability reform to provide incentives for physicians to practice in the state; and raising the tobacco tax to preserve funding for the state’s Medicaid program.
During his tenure as governor, Wise chaired the Southern Governors Association and the National Governors Association Committee on Natural Resources. He chose not to run for re-election in 2004.