Born on November 23, 1945, to James E. Doyle Sr. and Ruth Bachhuber Doyle, James Doyle and his three sisters grew up in Madison. Doyle is married to Jessica Laird Doyle and they have two adult sons, Gus and Gabe.
His parents were founding members of the modern Democratic Party in Wisconsin and he credits them for instilling in him the belief that politics and government are honorable professions, and that public service is a way to improve people’s lives.
Former Governor Doyle attended Stanford University for three years, then finished his senior year at UW-Madison. He is a 1972 graduate of Harvard Law School.
Inspired by John F. Kennedy’s call to public service, after college Jim and his wife worked for two years as teachers in Tunisia, Africa in the Peace Corps. After he graduated from law school, he and Jessica moved to the Navajo Indian Reservation in Chinle, Arizona to work as an attorney and teacher, respectively.
In 1976, Doyle was elected Dane County District Attorney and served three terms from 1977-82. When he left that office, he spent eight years building his own private law practice until he was elected Wisconsin Attorney General in 1990. He was reelected as Attorney General in 1994 and 1998.
Doyle was elected as Wisconsin’s Governor in 2002 and reelected in 2006 with more votes than any candidate for Governor in Wisconsin history.