Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Joe Kernan

Joe Kernan (born April 8, 1946) is an American politician. He became the Governor of Indiana on September 13, 2003 upon the death of Frank O'Bannon. Prior to becoming the governor, he had served as the Lt. Governor of Indiana. Kernan is a member of the Democratic Party.

Joe Kernan graduated from St. Joseph's High School in South Bend, Indiana. He graduated in 1968 with a degree in Government from the University of Notre Dame.

Kernan entered the United States Navy in 1969 and served as a Naval Flight Officer aboard the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. In May of 1972, Kernan was shot down by the enemy while on a reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. He was held as a prisoner of war. Kernan was repatriated in 1973 and continued on active duty with the Navy until December of 1974. Kernan received the Navy Commendation Medal, two Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1974 he was married to his wife, Maggie.

Joe Kernan was elected mayor of South Bend in 1987, 1991, and 1995. In 1996, Joe Kernan was elected as Indiana's Lieutenant Governor, and then re-elected in 2000. As lieutenant governor of Indiana, Kernan served as the president of the Indiana Senate, the director of the Indiana Department of Commerce, and as the commissioner of Agriculture.