The Honorable James J. Blanchard

Governor of Michigan (1983–1991); Meridian Chair Emeritus; Government Global Practices Group, DLA Piper
The Honorable James Blanchard
The Honorable James Blanchard

Governor James Blanchard is a senior partner at the global law firm of DLA Piper and serves as the chairman of the National Archives Foundation. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Spy Museum and co-chairs the Ambassadors Circle at the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Previously, Governor Blanchard served as Chairman of the Meridian International Center.

Governor Blanchard joined DLA Piper upon the conclusion of his duties as United States ambassador to Canada in April 1996. In recognition of his outstanding performance as ambassador, Secretary of State Warren Christopher presented Governor Blanchard with the Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service in a ceremony at the Department of State, making him one of only a handful of ambassadors to receive this prestigious award.

Governor Blanchard was named ambassador to Canada in May 1993, after serving two terms as governor of Michigan (1983 – 1991) and four terms as a member of the United States Congress (1975 – 1983). In 1992, he chaired President Bill Clinton's successful campaign in Michigan. Governor Blanchard is also former chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and the National Democratic Platform Committee, as well as a former member of the National Governors Association's executive committee.

During his tenure as ambassador, Blanchard managed a broad range of trade, natural resources, environmental and national security issues between the United States and Canada, providing support critical to the passage of both NAFTA and the Open Skies Agreement.

Governor Blanchard's eight years as Michigan's chief executive were notable for his success in turning around Michigan's finances, working with the private sector to attract business investment and trade from around the world. He won national acclaim for his innovative approaches to economic development, education, crime fighting, environmental protection and helping children and families.

Before running for governor, Blanchard served in Congress. During his four terms in Congress, he distinguished himself for his work to save the Chrysler Corporation, restore America's economic competitiveness, and oversee financial, monetary, trade and energy issues. Major assignments included the House Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee, including its subcommittees on Economic Stabilization, Housing and Urban Development, International Trade and Domestic Monetary Policy, and the Science and Technology Committee. He performed oversight of the Federal Reserve Board and participated in meetings of the International Monetary Fund.

Prior to his election to Congress, from 1969 to 1974 Governor Blanchard was assistant attorney general of Michigan.