James A. Baker (1989–1992)

James A. Baker (1989–1992)

James Addison Baker was born on April 28, 1930, in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Princeton University in 1952 and served for two years in the Marine Corps. He then earned a law degree, with honors, from the University of Texas in 1957. After graduating, he began to practice law in Houston with the firm of Andrews and Kurth (1957-1975).

In 1970, Baker ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Senate for his close friend, George Herbert Walker Bush. During the administration of Gerald Ford, Baker was appointed undersecretary of commerce. He then ran President Ford's failed reelection campaign in 1976 and George H.W. Bush's failed run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980.

When President Ronald Reagan took office, he appointed Baker as his chief of staff, a position Baker held from 1981 to 1985. During Reagan's second term as President, Baker served as secretary of the treasury (1985-1988) and as chairman of the President's Economic Policy Council. Baker resigned prior to the end of Reagan's second term to run the successful presidential campaign of Vice President George H. W. Bush.

When Bush took office, he  appointed Baker as his secretary of state. Baker was widely considered an effective secretary of state and navigated the United States through such historic events as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, the Persian Gulf War, and renewed peace talks in the Middle East. Baker resigned his position in August 1992 to focus on Bush's reelection campaign, becoming the President's chief of staff and senior counselor until January 1993.

After President Bush lost reelection, Baker returned to the law as senior partner with Baker Botts. He also served as senior counselor for the Carlyle Group, the merchant banking firm based in Washington, DC. He sat on various corporate boards and was highly involved, on behalf of George W. Bush, in resolving the disputed presidential election of 2000.