Michael Stanley Dukakis was born in Brookline, MA, on November 3, 1933. His parents, Panos and Euturpe (Boukis) Dukakis both emigrated from Greece to the mill cities of Lowell and Haverhill, MA before marrying and settling in the town of Brookline, just outside Boston.
Dukakis graduated from Brookline High School (1951), Swarthmore College (1955), and Harvard Law School (1960). He served for two years in the United States Army, sixteen months of which he spent with the Support Group to the UN Delegation to the Military Armistice commission in Munsan, Korea.
Dukakis began his political career as an elected Town Meeting Member in the town of Brookline. He was elected chairman of his town's Democratic organization in 1960 and won a seat in the Massachusetts legislature in 1962. He served four terms as a legislator, winning re-election by an increasing margin each time he ran.
In 1970 he was the Massachusetts Democratic Party's nominee for Lieutenant- Governor and the running mate of Boston Mayor Kevin White in that year's gubernatorial race which they lost to Republicans Frank Sargeant and Donald Dwight. Dukakis won his party's nomination for governor in 1974 and beat Sargeant decisively in November of that year. He inherited a record deficit and record high unemployment and is generally credited with digging Massachusetts out of one of its worst financial and economic crises in history. But the effort took its toll, and Dukakis was defeated in the Democratic Primary in 1978 by Edward King.
Dukakis came back to defeat King in 1982 and was re-elected to an unprecedented third four-year term in 1986 by one of the largest margins in history. In 1986 his colleagues in the National Governors Association voted him the most effective governor in the Nation. Dukakis won the Democratic nomination for the Presidency in 1988 but was defeated by George Bush. Soon thereafter, he announced that he would not be a candidate for re-election as governor and served his final two years as governor at a time of increasing financial and economic distress in Massachusetts and the Northeast.
After leaving office in January 1991, Dukakis and his wife, Kitty, spent five weeks in Australia as guests of the city of Melbourne and three months at the University of Hawaii where Dukakis was a visiting professor in the political science department and at the School of Public Health. While at the University of Hawaii, he taught courses in political leadership and health policy and led a series of public forums on the reform of the nation's health care system. Since then, there has been increasing public interest in Hawaii's first-in-the nation universal health insurance system and the lessons that can be learned from it as the nation debates the future of health care in America.
Since June of 1991, Dukakis has been a visiting professor at Northeastern University's political science department and has also taught in the senior executive program for State and Local managers at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has also taught for the past three years at Florida Atlantic University.
His research has focused on national health care policy reform and the lessons that national policy makers can learn from state reform efforts. He has authored articles on the subject for the Journal of American Health Policy (1992); the Yale Law and Policy Review (1992); the New England Journal of Medicine (1992); and Compensation and Benefits Management (1993). In addition, he co-taught with Professor Rochefort a graduate seminar in national health policy reform that included a series of public forums and an all-day conference that culminated in the publication of Insuring American Health for the Year 2000, a Northeastern University publication that has been distributed widely to health policy makers, legislators and others.
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