Michael Francis "Mike" Easley (born March 23, 1950) is an American politician who served as the 72nd Governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina, from 2001 to 2009. He is member of the North Carolina Democratic Party and became the first North Carolina governor to admit to a felony in a deal that halted a lengthy federal investigation. Easley is also North Carolina's second Catholic governor. Thomas Burke was the first, though Easley is the first elected by popular vote.
Easley was raised a Roman Catholic in otherwise overwhelmingly Protestant Nash County, North Carolina. His father, Alexander Easley, owned one of the two big tobacco warehouses in the area. Easley earned a degree with Latin honors in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1972. While at UNC he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. He then attended the North Carolina Central University School of Law, earning his J.D. degree, with Latin honors, in 1976.
Easley is married to Mary Easley (née Pipines), who worked in the Provost's Office at North Carolina State University until June 8, 2009, when her contract was terminated by the NC State Board of Trustees. She is a former law professor at North Carolina Central University and also worked for ten years as a prosecutor. The two have one son, Michael Easley, Jr.