Birthday: August 26, 1945
Age: 74 Years, 74 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Virgo
Also Known As: Thomas J Ridge, Thomas Joseph Ridge
Born in: Munhall
Famous as: Former Governor of Pennsylvania, Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
political ideology: Republican
Spouse/Ex-: Michele Ridge
U.S. State: Pennsylvania
education: Pennsylvania State University - Dickinson Law, Harvard University, Harvard College, Cathedral Preparatory School
Elected as the Governor of Pennsylvania twice before tragedy struck America in the form of the 9/11 Attacks, Tom Ridge is a politician known for his commitment and high ethical standards. Under his tenure from 1995 to 2001, Pennsylvania thrived as a state fueled by a high rate of economic and infrastructural development. Following the unfortunate events of September 11th, 2001, Tom Ridge became the first Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. Though considered a successful and highly respected politician during the decade of the 2000s, Ridge’s entry into politics had been anything but spectacular. He had been off to a shaky start but persevered to eventually become a capable politician. As a child he had been diagnosed with an ear infection that diminished his hearing in one ear. But the young boy did not let this stop him from becoming a bright student who excelled in both academics and athletics. He joined the army where his blooming career was cut short by a medical condition. Undaunted by the challenges life threw at him; he studied to become a lawyer and had a successful practice. Eventually he decided to enter politics where again he found success due to his gritty determination. Today he is also a thriving businessman who serves as the CEO of Ridge Global.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born on August 26, 1945, as the eldest among three siblings to working class parents in Pennsylvania. His father Thomas Regis Ridge was a Navy veteran and a traveling salesman. He suffered from diminished hearing in one ear.
He went to St. Andrews Elementary School and Cathedral Preparatory school. He was a good student and excelled in both academics and athletics.
He won a scholarship to Harvard College. Hailing from a middle class background he took up construction works to support himself. He graduated with honors in 1967.
He decided to study law and enrolled at the Dickinson School of Law. After one year he drafted into the United States Army. He won several medals during his service.
He returned home from the army because of a ruptured appendix and proceeded to complete his Juris Doctor degree at the law school, graduating in 1972.
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He began his legal career with a private practice in 1972 eventually becoming the Assistant District Attorney in Erie County, Pennsylvania in 1980.
He ventured into politics in 1982 and ran for the District’s open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He beat Democratic Senator Anthony Andrezeski in a surprise win for the Republicans.
He won the re-elections six times and solidified his political career. Feeling ambitious, he ran for the Governor in 1994 and won the election becoming the governor in 1995.
In 1998 he was re-elected to the post with 57% of the vote. During his tenure, he promoted better law and order measures and provided for the creation of an emergency fund for facing any future disaster.
He supported the creation of separate schools for disruptive students and proposed that public charter schools be opened in Pennsylvania. He helped to create the Link-to-Learn initiative to ensure effective use of technology to promote education.
The then President George W. Bush created the Office of Homeland Security after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and made Ridge the head. He resigned as the governor to take up this post.
Ridge had to develop a comprehensive national strategy to strengthen the security of the United States against terror attacks in future.
The Homeland Security Act 2002 was passed and Ridge became the first Secretary of Homeland Security. It was a job involving a very high degree of planning and coordinating the activities of several departments in order to increase the country’s resistance to terror threats.
After being active in politics for many years, Ridge resigned from the post in 2004 stating that he needed more time to spend with his family and pursue other activities.
He founded Ridge Global, an advisory firm in Washington, D.C., which provides services in risk management, security and infrastructure protection, emergency preparedness, and other related fields.
In 2010 he lent his name to be used by two former Chiefs of Staff, Mark Campbell and Mark Holman, for opening a lobbying firm called Ridge Policy Group.
Today he also serves on the board of directors for Home Depot and The Hershey Company. He is a senior advisor to the auditing firm, Deloitte.
Ridge served as the Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2001 over the period of which he promoted law and order, supported competition among electric utilities, created a fund for facing recession, and promoted insurance programs.
Awards & Achievements
He was honored with the Woodrow Wilson Award by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Ridge had played a key role in securing funds for an environmental center in Pennsylvania which is named The Tom Ridge Environmental Center in his honor.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Michele in 1979 and has two children with her. His wife is the former executive director of the Erie County Library System.