(1947 - )
Mitt Romney is an American businessman and politican. He served as governor of Massachusetts from 2002 to 2006 and ran for U.S. President in 2008 and 2012.
Romney (born March 12, 1947) was born in Detroit, Michigan. His father, George, came from humble origins and never graduated from college but he apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter and sold aluminum paint before beginning a career that brought him to the head of American Motors and then the governorship of Michigan.
In 1969, Romney married Ann Davies. They first met in elementary school when he was a Cub Scout; he remembers tossing pebbles at her when she rode by on a horse. When they met again years later at a friend's house, he was smitten. Between them, they have five sons and eighteen grandchildren, who are the center of their lives.
Like any family, the Romneys have faced hardship: Ann was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, and more recently fought a battle with breast cancer. She credits her husband's unwavering care and devotion to her for helping her through these ordeals.
Romney is not a career politician. He has spent most of his life in the private sector, where he learnerd about the inner workings of the economy. In addition to his business endeavors, he has served as a public servant.
When Romney was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, the state was in severe disarray, its budget was out of balance, spending was soaring, and taxpayers were being required to pay more and more in taxes for diminishing services. The state economy was in a tailspin, with businesses cutting back on investment or even closing, and unemployment ticking up. Romney successfully brought state spending under control by restructuring and consolidating government programs, paring back where necessary and finding efficiencies throughout.
Facing a state legislature dominated by Democrats, Romney cast more than 800 vetoes as he brought conservative principles to state government. He cut red tape for small businesses, signed into law job-creating incentives, and fought hard to bring new businesses to the state. He eliminated a $3 billion deficit without borrowing or raising taxes. By 2007, at the end of his term, the state had accumulated a $2 billion rainy day fund in its coffers. This stringent fiscal discipline provided an essential backdrop for economic recovery. While Romney was in office, the state unemployment rate fell from 5.6% to 4.7% and the Massachusetts economy added tens of thousands of new jobs.
In 1999, the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics was on the verge of collapse. Romney was asked to take over due to his managerial experience and solid reputation as a businessman. The event had been bogged down in a bid-rigging scandal, sponsors were fleeing, and the budget was bleeding red ink. The attacks of September 11, 2001, just months before the start date, created a security nightmare. Some were contemplating scaling back the competition or even moving it out of the country.
In a remarkably short period, Romney revamped the organization's leadership, trimmed the budget, and restored public confidence. He oversaw an unprecedented security mobilization to assure the safety of the athletes and millions of international visitors, staging one of the most successful games ever held on U.S. soil.
Romney's business skills did not come out of nowhere. After graduating from Brigham Young University in Utah in 1971, he earned dual degrees from Harvard Law and Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After working as a business consultant for several years, Romney founded the investment firm Bain Capital in 1984. Under his leadership, Bain Capital helped to launch or rebuild over one hundred companies, including household names such as Staples, Bright Horizons, and The Sports Authority. As Bain Capital was growing in prominence, Romney returned to his old consulting firm, Bain & Company, as CEO. In a time of financial turmoil at the company, he led a successful turnaround.
In 2012, Romney ran for and won the Republican party's nomination for the U.S. Presidency. In the general election, however, he fell to incumbent President Barack Obama.
Source: Mitt Romney for President (August 2012)