Tom Ridge

Tom Ridge

Infobox Officeholder
name = Tom Ridge

|right|200px|Tom Ridge
imagesize =

caption =
order = 1st Secretary of Homeland Security
term_start = January 24 2003
term_end = February 1 2005
vicepresident =
viceprimeminister =
deputy =
president = George W. Bush
primeminister =
predecessor =
successor = Michael Chertoff
order2 = 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania
term_start2 = January 17, 1995
term_end2 = October 5, 2001
lieutenant2 = Mark S. Schweiker
viceprimeminister2 =
deputy2 =
president2 =
primeminister2 =
predecessor2 = Bob Casey
successor2 = Mark S. Schweiker
state3= Pennsylvania
district3 = ushr|Pennsylvania|21|21st
term_start3 = January 3, 1983
term_end3 = January 3, 1995
vicepresident3 =
viceprimeminister3 =
deputy3 =
president3 =
primeminister3 =
predecessor3 = Donald A. Bailey
successor3 = Phil English
birth_date = birth date and age|1945|8|26|mf=y
birth_place = Munhall, Pennsylvania, United States
death_date =
death_place =
nationality =
party = Republican
spouse = Michele Ridge
relations =
children = Lesley and Tommy
residence =
alma_mater =
occupation =
profession =
religion = Roman Catholic

website =
footnotes =

Thomas Joseph Ridge (born August 26 1945) is an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives (1983–1995), Governor of Pennsylvania (1995–2001), Assistant to the President for Homeland Security (2001–2003), and the first United States Secretary of Homeland Security (2003–2005). Since re-entering the private sector, Ridge has served on the boards of The Home Depot and The Hershey Company and as a senior advisor to Deloitte & Touche, and TechRadium. Ridge is also the founder and CEO of Ridge Global, LLC, a Washington, D.C. based security consulting firm. Ridge has spent time campaigning with fellow Republican Party Senator John McCain during his 2008 bid for the presidency and was believed by some to have been in the short list of potential running mates.cite web |last=Wedd |first=Justin |authorlink=Justin Webb |coauthors= |title=Veep predictions |work=BBC News |publisher=BBC |date=2008-08-20 |url= |format= |doi= |accessdate=2008-08-21]

Early life

Ridge was born in Munhall, Pennsylvania, in Pittsburgh's Steel Valley, the oldest of three children. His parents were Laura (née Sudimack) and Thomas Regis Ridge, who was a traveling salesman and Navy veteran. Ridge's maternal grandparents were immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia and his paternal great-grandparents emigrated from Great Britain. [cite news |last=Palattella |first=Ed |coauthors=Scott Wescott |title=Growing Up: Ridge's journey begins |date=2003-01-21 |work=Erie Times-News |url= |accessdate=2008-08-20] Ridge was raised in veterans' public housing in Erie, Pennsylvania. He was educated at St. Andrews Elementary School and Cathedral Preparatory School and did well both academically and in sports. He earned a scholarship to Harvard College, where he paid his way through with construction work, played intramural baseball and football, [cite news |first=Ed |last=Palattella |coauthors=Scott Westcott |title=Growing up: Ridge's journey begins |url= | |publisher=The Erie Times-News |date=2003-01-21 |accessdate=2008-08-30 ] and graduated with honors in 1967.

After his first year at the Dickinson School of Law, he was drafted into the United States Army, where he served as an infantry staff sergeant during the Vietnam War. He earned the Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. Later he was offered a position as an officer but turned it down when he learned that it would require an extra year of service.

A ruptured appendix cut short his tour and he returned home in 1970; service also aggravated a childhood ear infection. Since then Ridge has had a hearing aid in his left ear. Deafness forces him to lean in close and listen intently to whoever is speaking to him.

After returning to Pennsylvania, he completed his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree at the Dickinson School of Law, graduating in 1972, and entered private practice.

Public service in Pennsylvania

He became Assistant District Attorney in Erie County, Pennsylvania in 1980 and prosecuted 86 cases in two years. In 1982 he successfully ran for northwestern Pennsylvania's seat in Congress, and was re-elected six times. Ridge was notable as the first enlisted Vietnam combat veteran elected to the U.S. House. As of 2006, Ridge has never lost an election for public office.

In 1994, despite being little-known outside of northwest Pennsylvania, Ridge ran for governor of Pennsylvania, winning the election as a pro-choice Republican. He was reelected in 1998 with 57 percent of the vote in a four-way race. Ridge's share of the vote was the highest for a Republican governor in Pennsylvania (where Democrats outnumber Republicans by almost 500,000) in more than half a century. [cite web |title=Pennsylvania's Tom Ridge Appointed to Bush Cabinet |date=2001-09-20 |publisher=Online NewsHour |accessdate=2005-05-22 |url=] Ridge served as Governor until his resignation to become the Director of Homeland Security in 2001.

As governor, he promoted "law and order" policies, supporting a three-strikes law and a faster death penalty process. A death penalty supporter, [cite web |title=Tom Ridge on the Issues |publisher=On the Issues |date=2000 |accessdate=2008-02-28 |url=] Ridge signed more than 224 execution warrants [cite web |title=Execution Warrants Issued by Governor (1985 to Present) |publisher=Pennsylvania Department of Corrections |format=PDF |date=2008-08-19 |accessdate=2008-02-28 |url=] – five times the number signed over a 25-year period by the two previous governors – and oversaw three executions. On social issues, he opposed gay marriage, and, in spite of being a Roman Catholic, is pro-choice on abortion issues.

The Governor nominated Dr. Peter J. Jannetta to be his secretary of health. Dr. Jannetta was known to the governor to have testified perjuriously in Court, the Pennsylvania Superior Court stating, "We have little difficulty in concluding that Dr. Jannetta's testimony at deposition was different than, or inconsistent with, the testimony at trial." Levy v Jannetta, CCP Allegheny County, GD 81-7689; appeal -J. A370017/92 Levy v Jannetta et al, No. 00150 Pittsburgh, 1992. settled, 1995."Dr. Jannetta served as Governor Ridge's health secretary for 6 months.

Over Ridge's tenure, the Commonwealth's budget grew by two to three percent per fiscal year and combined tax reductions totaled over $2 billion. Ridge created and grew a "Rainy Day" Fund balance to over $1 billion to be utilized during an economic downturn or recession.

Ridge pushed for legislation permitting competition among electric utilities and enhanced federal and state support for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). He also separated the Commonwealth's environmental regulatory and conservation programs into two new agencies; the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Ridge proposed the creation of public charter schools in Pennsylvania and in establishing alternate schools for disruptive students. He launched new academic standards that established academic expectations for what students were expected to know in different grades. Ridge also proposed a school choice demonstration program.

Ridge oversaw a number of e-government projects including renewing drivers' licenses and vehicle registrations to viewing historical documents and library catalogs. The Commonwealth's portal won several national awards. One of the nation's first electronic grant systems was put into place at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Ridge also created the [ Link-to-Learn] initiative to increase the effective use of technology in public schools and universities.

2000 U.S. Presidential election

Ridge served as a close advisor to GOP presidential nominee George W. Bush, a close friend from their simultaneous tenures as governors, during the 2000 presidential campaign. In return, Bush named Ridge to his short list for possible running mates, along with New York Governor George Pataki, Michigan Governor John Engler, Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, former Missouri Senator John Danforth, and former American Red Cross President Elizabeth Dole. [cite journal |last=Starr |first=Alexandra |title=Running Mates: Who will be on the ticket in 2000? |date=July/August 1999 |journal=Washington Monthly |volume=31 |issue=7 |accessdate=2005-09-22 |url=]

However, Bush selected the man who was in charge of leading his search for the vice presidential nominee, former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, to be his running mate.

Ridge was also reportedly Colin Powell's choice to be Secretary of Defense in Bush's new cabinet. With his reputation as a former Congressman and a strong administrator as governor, in addition to his friendship with Bush and Powell, he was seen as a frontrunner for the post. But after much decrying by conservatives over his lack of defense experience, particularly by Republican primary candidate Gary Bauer, who decried Ridge as a "peacenik-type of congressman during the Reagan years" and Robert Novak who wrote of Ridge's lack of defense experience and his opposition to the Strategic Defense Initiative. There was also rumored to be a lot of animosity regarding the nomination between Powell and Dick Cheney regarding Ridge. With all of this Ridge promptly took his name out of the running and Donald Rumsfeld was eventually named as defense secretary.

Homeland Security Advisor and Secretary

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. President George W. Bush created the Office of Homeland Security within the White House, and named Ridge to head it. The charge to the nation's new director of homeland security was to develop and coordinate a comprehensive national strategy to strengthen the United States against terrorist threats or attacks. In the words of President George W. Bush, he had the strength, experience, personal commitment and authority to accomplish this critical mission. Ridge formally resigned as Pennsylvania's governor on October 5 2001.

In January 2003 and after the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Office of Homeland Security split into a Cabinet-level Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the White House Homeland Security Advisory Council. Ridge left the White House and became the first Secretary of Homeland Security. The Department's Mission "is to (A) prevent terrorist attacks within the United States; (B) reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism; and (C) minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery, from terrorist attacks that do occur within the United States" (From H.R. 5005-8 the Homeland Security Act of 2002). The newly created Department was the most comprehensive reorganization of the Federal government since the National Security Act of 1947. The Department of Homeland Security consolidates 22 agencies and 180,000 employees, unifying once-fragmented Federal functions in a single agency dedicated to protecting America from terrorism. Ridge worked with the employees from combined agencies to strengthen borders, provide for intelligence analysis and infrastructure protection, improve the use of science and technology to counter weapons of mass destruction, and to create a comprehensive response and recovery division. [ [ BBC profile of Tom Ridge] 9 November, 2004 [ Security Chief Ridge: 'The Task is Enormous'] ,, October 8 2001.] [ [ Newsmaker: Tom Ridge] , Online NewsHour, May 9 2002] [ [,8599,393066,00.html Person of the Week: Tom Ridge. Now for the hard part: After a week in which the Senate gave him a cabinet-level position, the Homeland Security chief is preparing to take on the toughest job in Washington] ,, November 22 2002] [ [ Ridge's journey to the national stage] , The Rising Son; updated January 21 2003. Locally produced biography of Tom Ridge] [ [ Herb Barness '48 is a major player in the Republican party at the state and national level] January 1996] [ [ Statement of the Hon. Rosa DeLauro on $10 Billion Accenture Government Contract] June 1, 2004]

On November 30 2004, he submitted his resignation to the President, saying, "After more than 22 consecutive years of public service, it is time to give personal and family matters a higher priority." [ [,,3-1382726,00.html Anti-terror supremo is latest to quit Bush team] December 1, 2004]

Work in the private sector

Ridge is the founder and CEO of Ridge Global, an advisory firm in Washington, D.C. [cite news |first=Katherine |last=Walsh |title=Five Things Tom Ridge Has Learned About Risk |url= |work=CIO magazine |publisher=CXO Media |date=2007-10-29 |accessdate=2007-11-10]

Ridge served on a state-appointed incident review panel which investigated the Virginia Tech massacre of April 2007. [cite news |title=Va. Tech gunman was 'well-prepared' to continue shooting spree |url= |publisher=USA Today |date=2007-05-21 |accessdate=2007-11-10]

Home Depot

In February 2005, Tom Ridge was named to the board of Home Depot. [cite news |title=Company News; Home Depot Names Tom Ridge a Director |url= |publisher=The New York Times |date=2005-02-25 |accessdate=2007-11-10] Ridge's compensation was expected to be about $100,000 per annum for this position. [cite news |title=Board work can be rewarding |url= |publisher=Atlanta Business Chronicle |date=2003-10-10 |accessdate=2007-11-10] Since April 2005, Ridge has also served on the board of Savi Technology, [cite news |title=Tom Ridge Joins Savi Technology Board of Directors |url= |publisher=RFID Update |date=2005-04-08 |accessdate=2007-11-10] the primary technology provider for the wireless cargo-monitoring network for the United States Department of Defense. [cite web |url= |title=Savi Fact Sheet |accessdate=2007-11-10 |work=corporate web site |publisher=Savi Technology]

Deloitte LLP

In November 2006, Tom Ridge was announced as a Senior Advisor for Deloitte & Touche USA LLP. [cite web |url= |title=Ridge joins Deloitte |accessdate=2008-02-06 |date=2006-11-02 |work=Federal Computer Week |publisher=Media, Inc.] [cite news
title=Meet Tom Ridge

The Hershey Company

In November 2007, Ridge was named to serve on The Hershey Company's Executive Board. After several years of poor stock holding the Hershey Trust Company which is the primary share holder of the company "requested" that a change take place. The board named Ridge to the board for his knowledge of economics. [ [ Big changes at Hershey] ]

TechRadium Inc

Announced in January 2008, Tom Ridge will serve as a senior advisor to TechRadium, Inc., a leading Texas-based security technology company that provides its patented alert and notificationsystem, IRIS (Immediate Response Information System), to a wide range of usersincluding municipalities, public schools and universities, utilities, and military programs. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Tom Ridge to Advise TechRadium On 'IRIS' Technology |url= |publisher=Yahoo! News |date=2008-01-09 |accessdate=2008-01-11]

2008 U.S. Presidential election

Tom Ridge serves as a senior aide to Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain of Arizona, [cite web |url= |title=Ridge A Leading Candidate For McCain VP Role? |publisher=The Bulletin |accessdate=2008-01-31] and was considered by some as a possible running mate for McCain.cite web |url= |title=McCain Campaigns with Ridge as VP Speculation Intensifies |accessdate=2008-08-12 |work=The Trail |publisher=The Washington Post |date=2008-08-11 ]


*Presented with the Woodrow Wilson Award by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
*Erie International Airport was co-named "Tom Ridge Field" in honor of Ridge.
*The Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania is named after the former governor. Ridge was instrumental in securing funds for the center.

Personal life

Tom's wife, Michele Ridge, is the former executive director of the Erie County Library System. They have been married since 1979 and have two children: Lesley and Tommy.


External links

* [ White House biography]

###@@@KEY@@@###U.S. Secretary box
before= None
after= Michael Chertoff
start= 2003
president= George W. Bush
department= Secretary of Homeland Security

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tom Ridge — Thomas Joseph „Tom“ Ridge (* 26. August 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) ist ein US amerikanischer Politiker (Republikanische Partei), der dem Kabinett von Präsident George W. Bush als erster Minister für innere Sicher …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tom Ridge — (n. 26 de agosto, 1945) Político estadounidense. Miembro del Partido Republicano. Secretario de Seguridad del Territorio Nacional (2003 2005). Director de la Oficina de Seguridad del Territorio Nacional (2001 2003). Gobernador de Pennsylvania… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Tom Ridge — Thomas Joseph Tom Ridge 1e Secrétaire à la Sécurité intérieure des États Unis 43e Gouverneur de Pennsylvanie Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tom Ridge Environmental Center — The Tom Ridge Environmental Center is a center on the grounds of Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania. Named after former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, it opened on 26 May 2006.cite web|publisher=Pennsylvania Department of… …   Wikipedia

  • Tom Corbett — is the current Attorney General of the state of Pennsylvania, United States, elected in 2004. He is a member of the Republican Party.Corbett also served as the Pennsylvania Attorney General from 1995 until 1997 when he was appointed by Governor… …   Wikipedia

  • Ridge — ist der Name von Antonia Ridge, Schriftstellerin John Rollin Ridge (1827–1867), indianischer Autor Tom Ridge (* 1946), US amerikanischer Politiker Ridge (Maryland), Ort in den Vereinigten Staaten Ridge (Texas), Ort in den Vereinigten Staaten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ridge, Tom — ▪ 2002       In response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., Pres. George W. Bush created by executive order a new department to counter future domestic threats the Office of Homeland Security and on September 20 selected his… …   Universalium

  • Ridge (disambiguation) — A Ridge can be a number of things in English:* Ridge, a geological feature that features a continuous elevational crest for some distance * Ridge, Dorset, a village in Dorset, England * Ridge, Hertfordshire, a village in Hertfordshire, England *… …   Wikipedia

  • Tom Dula — (Thomas C. Dula) también conocido como Tom Dooley , (22 de junio de 1845, Condado de Wilkes (Carolina del Norte), Estados Unidos 1 de mayo de 1868, Statesville, Condado de Iredell, Carolina del Norte, Estados Unidos) fue un soldado del Ejército… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Tom Newman — est un musicien et producteur anglais, connu pour son travail en tant que producteur de plusieurs disques de Mike Oldfield, notamment l album Tubular Bells, grand succès des années 1970. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Discographie 2.1 …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.