60 Facts About Tom Ridge

1.

Thomas Joseph Ridge was born on August 26,1945 and is an American politician and author who served as the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security from 2001 to 2003, and the first United States Secretary of Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005.

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2.

Tom Ridge was born in Munhall, Pennsylvania, and raised in veterans' public housing in Erie, Pennsylvania.

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3.

Tom Ridge then returned to Pennsylvania and completed his Juris Doctor degree at the Dickinson School of Law, graduating in 1972, and entered private practice.

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4.

Tom Ridge then ran for governor in 1994, despite being little-known outside of northwest Pennsylvania.

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5.

Tom Ridge won the election, and was reelected in 1998 with the most votes for a Republican governor in Pennsylvania in more than half a century.

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6.

Tom Ridge served in these roles for Bush's first term as president, then retired and returned to the private sector.

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7.

Tom Ridge is the founder and Chairman of Tom Ridge Global, a Washington, DC –based security consulting firm.

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8.

Tom Ridge spent time campaigning with Senator John McCain during his 2008 bid for the presidency and was believed by some to have been on the short list of potential running mates.

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9.

Tom Ridge was born in Munhall, Pennsylvania, in Pittsburgh's Steel Valley, the eldest of three children.

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10.

Tom Ridge's parents were Laura and Thomas Regis Ridge, who was a traveling salesman and Navy veteran.

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11.

Tom Ridge was raised in veterans' public housing in Erie, Pennsylvania.

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12.

Tom Ridge was educated at St Andrews Elementary School and Cathedral Preparatory School and did well both academically and in sports.

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13.

Tom Ridge attended Harvard College, where he paid his way through with construction work, played intramural baseball and football, and graduated with honors in 1967.

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14.

Tom Ridge waived an opportunity for officer training school because it would have required a longer service commitment.

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15.

In November 1969, Tom Ridge arrived as a sergeant in South Vietnam where he would serve for six months as a staff sergeant with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade, 23rd Infantry Division during the Vietnam War.

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16.

Tom Ridge became assistant district attorney in Erie County, Pennsylvania in 1980 and prosecuted 86 cases in two years.

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17.

Tom Ridge was reelected in 1998 with 57 percent of the vote in a four-way race.

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18.

Tom Ridge created and grew a "Rainy Day" Fund balance to over $1 billion to be utilized during an economic downturn or recession.

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19.

Tom Ridge pushed for legislation permitting competition among electric utilities and enhanced federal and state support for the Children's Health Insurance Program.

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20.

Tom Ridge 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.

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21.

Tom Ridge proposed the creation of public charter schools in Pennsylvania and in establishing alternate schools for disruptive students.

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22.

Tom Ridge launched new academic standards that established academic expectations for what students were expected to know in different grades.

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23.

Tom Ridge oversaw a number of e-government projects including renewing drivers' licenses and vehicle registrations to viewing historical documents and library catalogs.

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24.

Tom Ridge created the Link-to-Learn initiative to increase the effective use of technology in public schools and universities.

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25.

Tom Ridge signed two death warrants for African-American civil rights activist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing a police officer at a traffic stop.

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26.

Tom Ridge served as governor until he resigned to become the Director of Homeland Security in 2001, following the September 11 attacks.

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27.

Tom Ridge formally resigned as Pennsylvania's governor on October 5,2001.

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28.

Tom Ridge left the White House and became the first Secretary of Homeland Security.

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29.

Tom 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.

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30.

In January 2004, Tom Ridge was named among others in a lawsuit filed by a Syrian-born Canadian Maher Arar who said he was tortured in Syria after being deported by American authorities.

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31.

Tom Ridge is the founder and Chairman of Tom Ridge Global, an advisory firm in Washington, DC.

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32.

Tom Ridge served on a state-appointed incident review panel that investigated the Virginia Tech shooting.

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33.

Tom Ridge sits on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council.

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34.

Tom Ridge has served on a variety of corporate boards of directors and in other roles.

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35.

Tom Ridge was appointed to the board of directors of the Exelon Corporation electric utility in 2006, with starting director compensation of $35,000 annual retainer plus a $1,500 meeting fee or per diem fee and $60,000 in annual deferred stock units.

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36.

Tom Ridge was named to serve on the executive board of The Hershey Company in 2007, and was named senior advisor to Texas-based security technology company TechRadium, Inc in 2008.

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37.

Tom Ridge currently sits on the bipartisan advisory board of States United Democracy Center.

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38.

Tom Ridge served as a senior aide to Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain of Arizona, and was considered by some as a possible running mate for McCain.

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39.

Some Republicans thought Tom Ridge would have a better chance against Specter than would Toomey.

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40.

On May 7,2009, Tom Ridge announced that he would not be a candidate for the US Senate in 2010.

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41.

Tom Ridge originally endorsed former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman for president, in September 2011.

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42.

In 2013, Ridge was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v Perry case.

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43.

Tom Ridge spoke at a conference in support of the removal of the People's Mujahedin of Iran from the United States State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

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44.

In 2015, Tom Ridge served as co-chair of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, a commission that recommended changes to US policy regarding biodefense.

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45.

Tom Ridge headed the organization with former Senator Joe Lieberman, and the Study Panel assembled in Washington DC for four meetings concerning current biodefense programs.

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46.

In 2016, Tom Ridge endorsed Jeb Bush and subsequently John Kasich after Bush's withdrawal from the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.

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47.

Tom Ridge stated he would not endorse Donald Trump, following Trump becoming the presumptive nominee, or Hillary Clinton in the general election.

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48.

In July 2020, Tom Ridge criticized President Trump for saying in June that vote-by-mail leads to widespread voter fraud, responding that it is not a threat and that voters need a safe way to cast a ballot in the 2020 election, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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49.

Tom Ridge said that it was "sad" that the President wants to quash the legitimacy of the election.

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50.

Tom Ridge is a co-chair of VoteSafe, a bi-partisan group that promotes safe voting by mail and in person.

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51.

Also in July 2020, Tom Ridge slammed his former Department for sending in federal agents to detain rioters allegedly committing federal crimes in Portland, Oregon, after more than 50 days of protests and riots there.

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52.

Tom Ridge said, during an interview with radio host Michael Smerconish, that it would be a "cold day in hell" before he "would consent to an uninvited, unilateral intervention" in one of his cities in Pennsylvania.

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53.

In September 2020, Tom Ridge endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president in a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed.

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54.

Tom Ridge confirmed to CNN on November 6,2020, it was the first time he ever voted for a Democratic presidential candidate.

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55.

In 2022, Tom Ridge endorsed fellow Republican Mehmet Oz in the 2022 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania.

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56.

Tom Ridge explains the challenges and decision-making processes of the newly formed department, and gives his own views as to the future of the security of the United States of America.

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57.

Tom Ridge wrote in his memoir that then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft pressured him to raise the terror alert level, running up to the 2004 elections, because of a pre-election message critical of President Bush from Osama Bin Laden.

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58.

Tom Ridge was hospitalized in critical condition in Texas after a cardiac event on November 16,2017.

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59.

On June 16,2021, Tom Ridge suffered a stroke while at his home in Bethesda, Maryland.

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60.

Tom Ridge was hospitalized and underwent a successful procedure to remove a blood clot.

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