Jay Rockefeller Jay Rockefeller Office: Junior Senator, West Virginia Political party: Democratic Term of office: January 1985-Present Preceded by: Jennings Randolph Succeeded by: Incumbent (2009) Born: June 18, 1937 New York, New York Spouse: Sharon Percy John Davison Rockefeller IV (born on June 18, 1937), generally known as Jay Rockefeller, has served as a Democratic U.S. Senator from West Virginia since 1985. He was Governor of West Virginia from 1977 to 1985. As a great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, he is a member of the prominent United States Rockefeller family. He is also related to several prominent Republican former officeholders: He is a great-grandson of Rhode Island Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, a nephew of Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller and of U.S. Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller, and the son-in-law of Senator Charles H. Percy of Illinois.
Born in New York City to John D. Rockefeller III and Blanchette Ferry Hooker, Jay Rockefeller graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1954. He graduated from Harvard University in 1961 with a B.A. in Far Eastern Languages and History, after having spent three years studying Japanese at the International Christian University in Tokyo.
After college, Rockefeller worked for the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C. where he served as the operations director for their largest overseas program in the Philippines. He continued his public service in 1964-1965 as a VISTA volunteer, during which he moved to Emmons, West Virginia.
He was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1966, and to the office of West Virginia Secretary of State in 1968. He served as president of West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1973 to 1976.
Rockefeller was elected Governor of West Virginia in 1976 and re-elected in 1980. He served as Governor during some of the state's darkest years, when manufacturing plants and coal mines were closing as the national recession of the early 1980s hit West Virginia particularly hard. By working aggressively, taking a long-term view and emphasizing the loyalty and work ethic of West Virginia's workers, Rockefeller has attracted national and international companies to the Mountain State.
In 1984, he was elected to the United States Senate. He was re-elected in 1990, 1996 and 2002. He was chair of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs (1993-1995; January 3 to January 20, 2001, and June 6, 2001-January 3, 2003). He is currently vice-chairman of the Intelligence Committee.
Rockefeller voted against the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement.
Since 1967, Rockefeller has been married to the former Sharon Percy, the daughter of former U.S. Senator Charles Percy of Illinois. Senator and Mrs. Rockefeller have four children: Jamie, Valerie, Charles, and Justin. Jamie's wife Emily is the daughter of retiring NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The Rockefellers reside in Charleston, West Virginia.