John Oxendine : biography
John W. Oxendine (born April 30, 1962) is an American politician who served four terms as Insurance Commissioner of the U.S. state of Georgia. Oxendine is of Lumbee heritage, an Indian tribe from North Carolina. A member of the Republican party, he was first elected commissioner in 1994 and was reelected in 1998, 2002, and 2006. Prior to entering politics, Oxendine owned and operated a small business and was a bar-certified lawyerhttp://www.gabar.org/directories/member_directory_search/member_detail/?id=NTU4MTU1 practicing in Gwinnett County, Georgia.
Oxendine began his career working on several gubernatorial campaigns and was later appointed by Governor Joe Frank Harris to the State Personnel Board.
Oxendine began his political life as a student assistant to Governor George Busbee. Oxendine later worked on the campaign staff of Joe Frank Harris, who was elected Governor and appointed Oxendine as chairman of the State Personnel Board.
Election as Insurance Commissioner
In the 1994 election, Oxendine opposed incumbent Democratic Insurance Commissioner Tim Ryles. After a long grueling campaign, Oxendine won with 50.98% of the vote.
Potential U.S. Senate candidacies
When United States Senator Paul Coverdell died suddenly in 2000, Oxendine was inundated with calls to run for United States Senator, but decided against running. Republican leaders later settled on former U.S. Senator Mack Mattingly as their consensus Republican candidate; Mattingly was defeated by former Governor Zell Miller.
In early 2003, Miller announced he would not seek reelection to the Senate, prompting Oxendine to again consider running for the seat. On January 8, 2003, Oxendine told the Atlanta Business Chronicle, "We've had countless people across the state asking us to run for the [U.S.] Senate, and I told people I was flattered by their faith in me and that I would consider it. I did consider it to the point of commissioning a poll and the results were every encouraging. It turned out I am one of the best-known and -liked politicians in the state." However, when long time friend Congressman Johnny Isakson announced his candidacy a month later, Oxendine endorsed Isakson and restated his intention to serve out the remainder of his term as Insurance Commissioner.
2006 Campaign for Lieutenant Governor
In early 2004, Oxendine announced his intent to run for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia and formed an exploratory committee in 2005. He showed his fundraising prowess by raising approximately $500,000 for his campaign in just a couple months. In February 2005, after State Senator Casey Cagle and Christian political consultant Ralph Reed joined the race for Lieutenant Governor, Oxendine later announced that he would run for reelection as Insurance Commissioner.
2006 Reelection campaign
In the November election, Oxendine had his largest challenge since being sworn in, a Roy Barnes protégé and Democratic attorney Guy Drexinger. Oxendine defeated Drexinger by the largest margin in the cycle among those candidates with challengers, taking 65.6 percent of the vote to Drexinger's 34.4 percent. Oxendine carried 153 of Georgia's 159 counties.
As Insurance Commissioner
As Insurance Commissioner, John Oxendine brought reforms to the office, expanding the office hours and creating Georgia's first Telemedicine Program.
Since becoming the first Republican to control a state agency, Oxendine has consistently run the department under budget, keeping the office open eleven hours a day (8am-7pm), and returning money to the taxpayers every year he has been in office.
Oxendine has brought the power of the private sector to bear in addressing Georgia's challenges. He created a public-private partnership to develop a comprehensive telemedicine program in the United States which expanded the availability of healthcare to every Georgia citizen without spending taxpayer dollars.
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