ROGER B. WILSON was sworn in as Missouri’s Governor on Wednesday, October 18, 2000, after Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan was killed in a tragic plane accident.
A Missouri native, he was born October 10, 1948. He grew up in rural Boone County and graduated from public school in Columbia. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Methodist College in Fayette, Missouri; and a master’s degree in education at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He began his career as a teacher for Columbia Public Schools and was elected Boone County Collector in 1976. He was then elected to the Missouri State Senate from the 19th District in a special election in 1979, and was reelected by large majorities in 1980, 1984, and 1988. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1992. As lieutenant governor to Governor Mel Carnahan, Roger Wilson was dedicated to advocating for the “Four E’s”: economic development, education, efficiency in government, and the elderly. He chaired the Missouri Tourism Commission and the Missouri Rural Economic Development Council, and he served on the Board of Public Buildings, the Board of Fund Commissioners, the Missouri Development Finance Board and the Missouri Housing Development Commission. Wilson was a strong advocate for the Parents as Teachers program. He co-chaired the Missouri Commission on Management and Productivity (COMAP), a task force dedicated to making state government more efficient and responsive. As a state senator, he sponsored the Excellence in Education Act and the Gifted Education Bill. He also introduced legislation to make elderly abuse a specific crime with tougher penalties. He also sponsored the durable power of attorney law to aid in health care decisions. He worked to promote the Circuit Breaker tax relief for seniors and for home delivered meals. Assuming the governorship after the tragic death of Mel Carnahan, Wilson appointed Jean Carnahan, the governor’s widow, to fill his vacant senatorial seat after Carnahan was posthumously elected to that office. Following the completion of his short tenure as governor, Wilson returned to private life.