Harold Guy Hunt
|Harold Guy Hunt|
|Governor of Alabama|
From: January 19, 1987 - April 22, 1993
|Successor||Jim Folsom, Jr.|
|Spouse(s)||Helen Chambers (deceased)|
Harold Guy Hunt (June 17, 1933 – January 30, 2009) served as the Governor of Alabama from 1987 through 1993 and was a member of the Republican Party. Born in Cullman County, Alabama, Hunt received honorary doctor of law degrees from Troy State University, the University of North Alabama, and Alabama A&M University in 1987. He would go on to serve in the Korean War. When returning home he became a Baptist minister. After unsuccessfully running for the Alabama Senate in 1962 he was elected Probate Judge of Cullman County in 1964, a position he held for 12 years. Hunt held high positions in Ronald Reagan's presidential campaigns in 1976 and 1980. He got his reward when Reagan appointed him the state executive director of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service in 1981.
After being defeated for the governorship by Fob James in 1978, Hunt took advantage of a split in the Democratic Party and won the election in 1986. Hunt was easily reelected in 1990. Coming into office when Alabama was nicknamed "tort hell", he pushed through major tort reform that capped big punitive damage verdicts by juries. He worked to attract more industry and tourists to the state, however had difficulty working with the Democratic controlled state legislator. During his second term he was forced to resign after being convicted of illegally using campaign and inaugural funds to pay personal debts. However, in 1998 he was proved innocent and a parole board granted him a pardon.
Hunt spent the rest of his career preaching his religious beliefs until his death from lung cancer on January 30, 2009 in Birmingham. In 1998, when asked how he would want history to remember him, Hunt said "The thing that would thrill me the most is if every fourth-grade student in this state who reads Alabama history someday will have the understanding that this is an honest governor who ran an honest administration and would not knowingly violate the letter or the spirit of the law."