John R. Gregg

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John Gregg
John Gregg 2012.jpg
Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives
In office
November 17, 1996 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Paul Mannweiler
Succeeded by Patrick Bauer
Member of the Indiana House of Representatives
from the 45th district
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Bill Roach
Succeeded by Alan Chowning
Personal details
Born (1954-09-06) September 6, 1954 (age 60)
Sandborn, Indiana, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Vincennes University
Indiana University, Bloomington
Indiana State University
Indiana University, Indianapolis

John R. Gregg (born September 6, 1954) is an American politician, former interim university president,[1] attorney and author. He was a state representative in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1986–2002. He served as Speaker of the Indiana House from 1996–2002 and Majority Leader from 1990–1994. Gregg was named “Public Official of the Year” in 2002 by Governing Magazine. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Gregg was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2008. He served as Honorary Chairman of the Hillary Clinton for President, Indiana Campaign.

In 2012 Gregg was the Democratic nominee for Indiana Governor, losing to then Congressman Mike Pence in the closest gubernatorial election in 50 years. On April 30, 2015, John Gregg announced he was seeking the Democratic Party's nomination for governor again, citing current Indiana governor Mike Pence's focus on social issues, such as the " Religious Freedom Restoration Act," and his misguided attacks on public education and Hoosier workers.[2]

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

Born on September 6, 1954 to Don and June (née Blackwood) Gregg in the rural Indiana community of Sandborn in Knox County, he is a 1972 graduate of North Knox High School.

Gregg graduated with an associate’s degree from Vincennes University in 1974, and is a member of Sigma Pi Fraternity. He graduated from Indiana University (B.A., Political Science and History) in 1976; Indiana State University (M.P.A., Public Administration) in 1978; and the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law (J.D., Juris Doctor) in 1984.

Gregg served his Sandborn community as a Democratic precinct committeeman from 1974 until 1986. From 1978–1985, Gregg worked as a land agent for Peabody Coal Company and as a governmental affairs representative for Amax Coal Company. After earning his J.D. and passing the state bar in 1984, he opened a private practice in Vincennes until 2002, when he joined the Indianapolis law firm Sommer Barnard PC. In 2005 he became partner at the Vincennes, Indiana office of the law firm Bingham McHale LLP. He is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association and the Knox County Bar Association, where he served as President in 1992.

Indiana House of Representatives[edit]


In 1986 he ran against and defeated Republican incumbent Representative Bill Roach to represent District 45 in the Indiana House of Representatives. He was re-elected seven times: 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000. He represented Sullivan, Daviess, Greene, Knox, and Vigo counties.


He served as the House majority leader from 1990–1994 and as the House Democratic leader from 1994–1996.

Gregg was first elected Speaker of the House in 1996, when the general election had left an equally divided House with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. For the first time in Indiana history, the Speaker presided over an equally divided House. Gregg was re-elected Speaker following the 1998 general election when Democrats took control of the House of Representatives with a 53-47 majority. During his tenure as Speaker, Gregg championed many causes, including reforms in education, campaign finance, property tax, lobbying and ethics.

During his terms as Speaker, Gregg implemented improvements in House procedures, including on-time convening of sessions, the support of a bipartisan clerk's office, staffing parity for both caucuses, and the prohibition of smoking within the interior hallways and offices surrounding the House chamber. A House Resolution to honor Speaker Gregg on his retirement in 2002 credited him with returning civility and congeniality to the House chamber.

Gregg introduced measures to help streamline the workload of legislators and staff, including reducing the number of standing committees from 21 to 17 and initiating stricter adherence to House rules regarding how members vote and conduct themselves on the House floor.

Gregg was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2008.

In addition to his 2002 recognition as "Public Official of the Year” by Governing Magazine, Gregg has been honored with a Hoosier Hero Award (1996) an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Vincennes University in 2002, and four Sagamore of the Wabash awards (Governors Robert D. Orr, 1989; Evan Bayh, 1996; Frank O’Bannon, 2002; and Joe Kernan, 2003.

Committee assignments[edit]

  • House Committee on Joint Rules
  • House Committee on Rules & Legislative Procedures[3]

Post-legislative career[edit]

He is a partner in the Vincennes, Indiana office of the law firm Bingham McHale LLP.


Gregg’s book, “From Sandborn to the Statehouse,” was published in 2008. He is writing a second book about growing up in a small town.

Vincennes University[edit]

Following his service as an Indiana state representative, Gregg became interim president of Indiana’s oldest college, Vincennes University, from 2003–2004.

Radio show[edit]

Since 1999, Gregg has hosted a radio call-in show in Vincennes and in Washington, Indiana. Gregg hosted the popular early morning talk show, “Indiana Open Phones,” on WIBC, an Indianapolis radio station from 1999–2004. The forum covered topics from Indiana politics to folksy western Indiana cuisine.

2008 Clinton campaign[edit]

As an honorary chair of the Hillary Clinton for President, Indiana Campaign, Gregg accompanied former President Bill Clinton to events across Indiana during the 2008 primary.

2012 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

Gregg in 2015

Gregg was the Democratic Nominee for Governor of Indiana in the 2012 election. He faced Republican nominee Mike Pence. Although originally predicted to lose decisively to Pence, Gregg closed the gap late in the election, winning 46% of the vote to Pence's 49%. Gregg's campaign was focused on putting Indiana back to work in the midst of the economic recession, and called for an armistice on social issues. He attempted to brand Pence as an extremist, Washington politician, which was effective with some demographics, particularly women, but was not effective enough to win the election.

Personal life[edit]

Gregg chose to end his career as Indiana House Speaker to devote more time to his two sons, John Blackwood Gregg, born in 1992, and Hunter Wallace Gregg, born in 1993. In his parting announcement, he told his colleagues: “I think I’ve been a pretty good Speaker, but I want to be an even better father.”

Gregg lives with his wife, Lisa Kelly, in Sandborn. He is a member of Sandborn First Christian Church, and is a 33rd Degree Mason and past Master in the Sandborn Masonic Lodge #647.[4][5][6][7]

Electoral history[edit]


Democratic Indiana gubernatorial election primary in Indiana, 2012 [8]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Gregg 207,365 100
Total votes 207,365 100
2012 Indiana gubernatorial election [9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Mike Pence / Sue Ellspermann 1,264,877 49.62% -8.22%
Democratic John Gregg / Vi Simpson 1,183,213 46.42% +6.38%
Libertarian Rupert Boneham / Brad Klopfenstein 101,028 3.96% +1.84%
No party Donnie Harold Harris / George Fish (write-in) 34 0%
Margin of victory 81,664 3.20% -14.61%
Turnout 2,549,152 57.81% -2.08%
Republican hold Swing


  1. ^ Greene County Daily World
  2. ^
  3. ^ "John R. Gregg - CV" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  4. ^ Robertson, Lana (April 9, 2003). "Gregg to serve as Fourth of July parade marshal". Greene County Daily World. Retrieved February 3, 2010. 
  5. ^ "John R. Gregg, Partner". Bingham McHale LLP. Retrieved February 3, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Filed House Resolution 0088". 1954-09-06. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  7. ^ Mark, David (April 1, 2002). "State legislative battlegrounds". Campaigns & Elections. Retrieved February 3, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Indiana Primary Election, May 8, 2012-United States Senator". Secretary of State of Indiana. June 5, 2012. Retrieved June 11, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Election Results". November 28, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Jill Long Thompson
Democratic nominee for Governor of Indiana
Most recent