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Baker III

James A.

Former Chief of Staff under President Reagan, James Baker, III (b.1930) was appointed as the sixty-seventh Secretary of the Treasury on February 3, 1985, exchanging jobs with Secretary Donald Regan. A lawyer by training, he practiced law in Houston with the firm of Andrews & Kurth for more than twenty years. His introduction to Washington came when President Ford appointed him Under Secretary of Commerce. Considered a savvy political strategist, he also served on President Ford’s campaign staff as Deputy Chairman for Delegate Operations and four months later as the National Chairman of the President Ford Committee.

From January 1979 to May 1980 he served as national chairman of the George Bush for President Committee. During his tenure as Treasury Secretary, Baker is credited with guiding a major tax reform bill through Congress in 1986. His efforts in encouraging international economic cooperation by lowering the value of the dollar encouraged the sale of American products abroad. He was described as “the guy who rose to the challenge of international policy coordination” because of his efforts to encourage economic cooperation between the United States, Canada, Western Europe, and Japan. Secretary Baker resigned on August 17, 1988 to become Chairman of the Bush campaign and in 1989 became Secretary of State.

Baker is presently a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts. He is the honorary chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and serves on the board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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