James E. McGreevey, the former governor of New Jersey, was born in Jersey City, the son of working-class Irish Catholic parents. He received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and his law degree from Georgetown University. He also holds a master’s degree in education from Harvard University.
He began his career in New Jersey politics in 1990 by serving in the State Assembly and was then elected as mayor of Woodbridge. He won three elections by the age of 36, and three years later nearly toppled the state’s popular governor, Christine Todd Whitman, in a photo-finish election. He won the 2001 race by a landslide and served as governor until 2004. As governor, McGreevey closed $14 billion in budget gaps and balanced the state budget without raising taxes. McGreevey made education and literacy a top priority by allotting $8.6 billion to school construction over the next 10 years and placing reading coaches in 100 of the poorest performing schools. He signed the Highlands Act into law, creating the most comprehensive set of water protections in the nation, and his health programs provided $56 million for cancer care and research. McGreevey also changed the way auto insurance companies operate in New Jersey by creating a reform package which helped 37,000 uninsured drivers gain affordable coverage.
In August 2004, McGreevey made history when he stepped before microphones, declared “My truth is that I am a gay American,” and announced his resignation. The story made international headlines but what led to that moment was a human and political drama more complex and fascinating, than anyone knew. In his extraordinarily candid New York Times best-selling memoir, The Confession, McGreevey shares his story of a life of ambition, moral compromise, and redemption.