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Robert D. Ray

Gov. Robert D. Ray

  • January 16, 1969 - January 14, 1983
  • Republican
  • September 26, 1928
  • July 8, 2018
  • Iowa
  • Drake University
  • Married Billie Ray; three children
  • NGA Chair
  • Army


ROBERT D. RAY was born in Des, Moines, Iowa, in 1928. He served in the U.S. Army and graduated from Drake University with a business and law degree. He served as a law and reading clerk in the Iowa State Senate and practiced law in Des Moines. From 1963 to 1967, he was the Iowa Republican state chair. Time Magazine named Ray one of America’s young leaders in 1974. He was elected governor in 1968 and reelected to two additional two-year terms and two additional four-year terms. He chaired the National Governors Association from 1975-76. In 1979, he was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Special United Nations Conference on Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland. Governor Ray was the chair of the Education Commission of the States and president of the Council of State Governments. He also chaired the Republican Governors Association and the Midwestern Governors’ Association. After leaving office, he headed the Board of Directors for Drake University.


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