John Ashcroft

John Ashcroft

John Ashcroft will be inducted into the 2023 Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame.

A lawyer, politician and professor, John Ashcroft has dedicated his life to public service for over four decades.

He has served as Missouri auditor (1973–74), Missouri assistant attorney general (1974–76) and attorney general (1976–85), Missouri governor (1985–93), U.S. senator (1995–2001) and U.S. attorney general (2001–05).

As Missouri governor, Ashcroft balanced eight consecutive budgets and served as chairman of the Education Commission of the States. Fortune magazine rated him one of the top 10 education governors in the country, while Financial World and City and State magazines credited him with making Missouri one of the best financially managed states in the country.

During his time in the U.S. Senate, Ashcroft worked to combat illegal drugs, improve public education, reduce crime and protect the rights of crime victims. He also helped to reform laws regulating the banking, telecommunications, aviation, transportation and information technology industries as a member of several committees.

As U.S. attorney general, Ashcroft led the Department of Justice during a challenging and transformative period in the aftermath of 9/11. He championed the passage of the Patriot Act and reorganized the department to focus on preventing another terrorist attack.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Springfield, Missouri, Ashcroft received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his JD from the University of Chicago Law School. Before entering public service, he ran a law practice in Springfield with his wife, Janet, and taught business law at what was then Southwest Missouri State University.

Since 2005, Ashcroft has been a distinguished professor in the schools of Law and Government at Regent University. He’s the founder and chairman of The Ashcroft Group, LLC.

He has authored "Lessons from a Father to His Son," a tribute to his father, and “Never Again: Securing America and Restoring Justice.” He also co-authored multiple editions of two college law textbooks with Janet.

Ashcroft has received several awards for his work and service, such as the Wyman Award (National Association of Attorneys General, 1983) and Freedom Fighter Award (California Republican Assembly, 1991). He also holds many honorary degrees.

When announcing his decision to nominate Ashcroft to serve as U.S. attorney general in December 2000, President George W. Bush called him a “man of great integrity, a man of great judgment and a man who knows the law.”