Jesse Ventura was elected governor of Minnesota on November 3, 1998, the first-ever Reform Party candidate to win statewide office. With running mate Mae Schunk, the Ventura-Schunk ticket received the support of thousands of new voters across the state and sparked a renewed interest in making government work better-all while spending less than $400,000.
Ventura was born on July 15, 1951 to Sgt. George Janos, a steam fitter for the City of Minneapolis, and First Lt. Bernice Janos, a nurse anesthetist. He grew up in the south Minneapolis Longfellow neighborhood, attended Cooper Elementary School, and graduated from Roosevelt Senior High School in 1969.
After high school, Ventura joined the Navy and was trained as a SEAL. He served in the Navy for six years, four on active duty, two in the Reserves, and served in Vietnam. After his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1973, Ventura attended Community College on the GI bill.
For 11 years, Ventura enjoyed a successful career as a professional wrestler. In 1984, Ventura retired from wrestling and became an actor, starring in several films including Predator, with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He later became a radio talk show host.
In 1990, Ventura was prompted to run for Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota's sixth largest city. He served as Mayor until 1995, championing crime reduction.
Ventura is a member of the Make a Wish of Minnesota Board of Advisors and has been a volunteer football coach at Champlin Park High School for three years. He has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild for 11 years, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists for about 10 years.