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George Nathan Vance (b. October 5, 1946, Weatherby, Capitalia) is a Georgeland political figure, serving as Chief Minister of Capitalia from March 2001 to September 2009. Vance is considered to be one of the most enigmatic and idiosyncratic politicians in his party, and has a thirty-year political career in which he has served at all three levels of government; local, state and federal. Vance is also seen as one of the Liberal Democratic Party's most important powerbrokers. Vance stepped down from office in September 2009 after suffering a severe, but not life-threatening, stroke.

Vance
George Vance
Position 24th Chief Minister of Capitalia
Term in office March 23, 2001 - September 15, 2009
Preceded by Kevin McAlister
Succeeded by Anna Cole
Political party Liberal Democrat
Total time in office 8y, 5m, 23d
Born 5th October 1946
Spouse Judith Vance (married 1975)

Background

Vance was born in Weatherby, a small town in rural Capitalia, in 1946. His father, Alexander Patrick Vance, was a successful businessman and academic who had been an army officer during the Second World War and fought in the Pacific. Vance's mother, Joanna Barclay Vance, was in her own right a successful woman, having managed her husband's business (a manufacturing firm) during the war and later was the first woman to chair the Capitalia Business Council. Despite their prosperity and commercial background, normally a background of Conservatives, the Vance family had a history of social progressive views. In later years, both Alexander and Joanna Vance contributed heavily to charities and welfare organisations. Vance was educated at private schools and raised a Baptist, and excelled during his education. He was Dux of his class at St. John's School in 1961, and was given a scholarship to attend Cambridge University. He studied Law and Politics at Cambridge, and wrote extensively on those subjects throughout his university days, which included a year's study at Harvard and another at the Sorbonne. He earned two degrees, one in Law and one in Political Science, between 1968 and 1970, and travelled extensively in Europe and Asia.

Political career

In 1973, Vance made his first foray into politics, standing for election to his local council as an Independent. He failed, but developed a taste for campaigning and immediately joined the local branch of the Labour Party. He worked as a lawyer and writer until he was invited to join the staff of Prime Minister Bradley Van Goen in 1976. Vance worked in The Residence as a policy advisor and researcher until 1978, when Van Goen died. He then joined the staff of senior minister Andrew Solley, but when Labour lost office in 1979, Vance decided to strike out on his own. He stood as a Labour candidate for the New Kikipolis city council in 1980 (despite not having lived there for nearly five years) and won. In 1984 he was elected Mayor of New Kikipolis, a post he held for only three years. At the 1987 general election, Vance stood for the federal Senate, and represented Capitalia there until 1995.
In that year, Vance decided to make the shift to state politics, factional preselection deals forming part of this decision. He did not contest the first 1995 election and sought preselection for the state seat of Monroe Park at the by-election caused by the death of John Garrett. He won easily, and entered the state legislature.
Vance became the Shadow Minister for Commerce in 1998, appointed to that position by then-Opposition Leader Stephen Holt. Holt's leadership was under dire threat, and within three months, he was replaced by Brian Savage, who started to gain ground against the Tory government of Marina Armstrong. However, the 1999 Labour Split badly damaged the state party. Savage remained loyal to Labour, while Vance joined the fledgling Liberals. Vance was elected the Liberal Party's leader in Capitalia in August 1999. In July 2000, the resignations of two Labour legislators sealed the party's fate; Vance's Liberals won both seats, giving him enough to unseat Savage as Leader of the Opposition. Savage then resigned, and the Liberals won his seat as well. Vance's intelligence, experience and, in the words of journalist Margaret Frame, "the silky voice of a radio personality" gained him ground in the polls. The government, now led by the untested Kevin McAlister was becoming more unpopular due to high unemployment and a failing health system. At the 2001 state election, Vance's Liberals won power, forming a minority government with the support of Labour and the Greens, in coalition with the Democrats.

Chief Minister

Vance's first term as Chief Minister was dominated by an attempt to repair the state's ailing health system. Vance rallied state leaders into a unified front on healthcare, and forced the federal government to sign an agreement freeing up bureaucracy and allocating more money directly to state healthcare systems. Vance also increased doctor and nurse pay in an attempt to recruit more medical practicioners from out of state. His reforms met with some success, and by mid-2003, Vance led the Tory opposition by almost twenty points in the polls. Vance also altered the state's electoral system, moving from first-past-the-post to a proportional system.
Vance was re-elected at the 2005 election, though his government (by then wholly LDP) continued to be a minority government, relying on support from the Georgeland Alliance. Since this point, Vance's government has turned more towards the centre in order to have legislation agreed to by the Alliance.

Re-election and illness

Vance was re-elected in 2009 with a substantial majority and cemented himself as one of the country's most popular and successful political figures of the modern period. However, on September 10, 2009, just five months after the victory, Vance suffered a severe stroke, which left him unconcious for two days. He was rushed to hospital and placed in intensive care. On September 15, Vance officially resigned as Chief Minister and his deputy, Anna Cole, succeeded him. Vance's condition was reported as 'stable' and doctors later said he would 'very likely' recover, though the process would take months. On September 17, Vance made his first public appearance since the stroke, allowing select media into his hospital room. Vance spoke briefly to journalists and reported that he felt "dandy". Doctors later told the press Vance's recovery would be "long and arduous" and that it was "quite likely" he would suffer some sort of mobility and/or communication difficulty for a long time, if not permanently. Vance is not due to be released from hospital for at least several weeks.

Reputation

Vance's long career and intelligent, articulate style have won him many admirers, and he is one of the most popular figures in the Liberal Democrats. He is considered a power player even outside his own state - in 2005, his endorsement of Zoe Parker for the LDP leadership is said to have cemented her support, particularly among LDP members from Capitalia, that eventually led to her victory.

Future

Vance's popularity had led to speculation he may seek higher office, either by attempting to become Prime Minister or even President. His illness would seem to preclude this possibility, at least in the short-to-medium term.

Preceded by
Kevin McAlister
Chief Minister of Capitalia
March 23, 2001-September 15, 2009
Succeeded by
Anna Cole
Preceded by
Brian Savage
Leader of the Capitalia Opposition
July 7, 2000 - March 23, 2001
Succeeded by
Michael Armstrong

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