John Ashcroft is the attorney general of the United States. The attorney general is head of the Department of Justice and is the nation's chief law enforcement officer.
Upon confirmation by the Senate, Ashcroft pledged to renew the war on drugs, reduce the incidence of gun violence and combat discrimination so no American feels outside the protection of the law.
Prior to serving as Attorney General, Ashcroft served one term in the Senate where he worked to combat illegal drugs, increase the quality of public education, reduce crime and safeguard the rights of crime victims. Ashcroft worked closely with Missouri law enforcement officers, developing strategies to counter the state's methamphetamine problems. He co-sponsored the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. He fought to toughen the penalties for gun crimes by substantially increasing mandatory minimum prison sentences for the criminal misuse of firearms.
An Assemblies of God minister, Ashcroft is also the architect of the Charitable Choice program, which allows federal funding to go to faith-based groups that do social service work. During his time in the Senate, Ashcroft was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee.
Ashcroft served as governor of Missouri, elected in 1984 and and serving until 1993. During his tenure, he balanced eight consecutive budgets and served as chairman of the Education Commission of the States. He also spearheaded the state's efforts to reduce the use of illegal drugs. In 1991, the non-partisan National Governors Association elected him chairman.
The son and grandson of ministers, Ashcroft also was attorney general of Missouri, elected to the post in 1976 and 1980. He was appointed state auditor in 1973.
Prior to entering public service, Ashcroft taught business law at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield. He authored the book Lessons from a Father to His Son, a tribute to his father, and co-authored multiple editions of two college law textbooks with his wife, Janet.
Ashcroft attended Yale University, where he graduated with honors in 1964. He received his J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1967.
Ahscroft was born in Chicago, Ill. in May 1942. He was raised in Springfield, Mo. He and wife Janet have three children.