In 2018, 36 out of the nation’s 50 states held elections for governor. A record-shattering 16 women were major party nominees the position, nine of whom were successful, making the current number of female governors tied with the all-time high number set in 2004. The LGBTQ+ community also made historic strides, as Colorado’s Jared Polis became the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the United States, and Oregon’s Kate Brown, who is bisexual, was reelected in her state.

Fast forward to the 2022 elections, and 36 states will once again elect—or reelect— their governors. But who are these powerful politicians, and what were they doing before they took their states’ reigns?

Stacker analyzed the former roles every current governor had before taking office and found varying resumes, from positions as cabinet secretaries to the CEO of an ice cream company. Read on to find out where your state’s governor developed and honed the leadership skills that propelled them to public office or check out the national story here.

J.B. Pritzker (D-Illinois)

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was a leader in the creation and construction of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center as a descendant of Jewish refugees from Europe. Before being elected governor, Pritzker also founded an organization called 1871, a small business incubator that fosters the growth of entrepreneurs and their various ventures. In 2014, he organized the White House Summit on Early Childhood Education.

While all 50 governors bring with them experiences from different walks of life, some share several commonalities. A total of four current governors have served in the military, and 15 were at one point the lieutenant governor of their states. Eleven governors previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives, while just one was a former U.S. senator.

Keep reading below to see the former jobs of governors of other states in your region.


Although Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb earned his college degree in U.S. history, he’s spent most of his career working in the political realm. He worked as a campaign manager and district director for Republican congressman John Hostettler in the late 1990s and early aughts, and then a campaign manager and deputy chief of staff for Gov. Mitch Daniels between 2003 and 2011. In 2015, he decided to run for the U.S. Senate but quit the race when then-Gov. Mike Pence asked him to be Indiana’s lieutenant governor.


Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ first job was as an assistant to an independent pharmacist, followed by a role as a motor vehicles clerk in the Clarke County Treasurer’s Office. Not even four years later, she was elected county treasurer, launching her political career. She spent 14 years in the treasurer’s office overall before she ran for state senate.