Jesse Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota on November 3, 1998, the first-ever Reform Party candidate to win statewide office. With running mate Mae Schunk, the Ventura-Schunk ticket received the support of thousands of new voters across the state and sparked a renewed interest in making government work better-all while spending less than $400,000.
Ventura was born James Janos on July 15, 1951 in Minneapolis. Immediately after high school, Ventura joined the Navy and was trained as a SEAL. He served in the Navy for six years during the Vietnam era-four on active duty, two in the Reserves. After his honorable discharge in 1973, Ventura attended North Hennepin Community College on the GI Bill.
In 1990, Ventura was prompted to run for Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota’s sixth largest city, due to the imminent destruction of a treasured wetland. He served as Mayor until 1995, championing crime reduction.
Jesse Ventura and his wife Terry live in Minnesota. They have two children.