Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The son of Michigan Governor George Romney, Mitt Romney graduated from the Cranbrook Kingswood School, received his B.A. from Brigham Young University in 1971, then an M.B.A. and J.D. from Harvard University in 1975. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Prior to being elected Governor, Romney was a cofounder and managing partner of Bain Capital, a Boston private equity firm; the 1994 Republican U.S. Senate nominee, winning 41% of the vote versus Senator Ted Kennedy in the closest election of Kennedy's long Senate career; and from 1999 to 2002 the CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee in charge of planning the 2002 Winter Olympics. He has also sat on the board of office supply giant Staples, Inc..
Before the 2002 Republican primary for governor, the Republican incumbent, Jane Swift, was expected to run for governor. However, due to events under her tenure as acting governor she was seen by many Republicans as a liability who would be unable to win a general election against a Democrat. One poll taken at this time showed that Republicans favored Romney over Swift by a margin of more that 50 percentage points. With growing speculation that Romney would challenge Swift in what would be a bruising primary battle, Jane Swift decided not to seek her party's nomination.
During the general election Romney ran on a reform platform, as a major issue in the election was a serious state budget crisis. Supporters of Romney hailed his business record, especially his success with the 2002 Olympics, as that of one who would be able to bring in a new era of efficiency into Massachusetts politics. His detractors, on the other hand, cited his lack of government experience and claimed that he was ineligible to run for governor, as the state constitution requires 7 consecutive years of residency before a run and Romney had claimed residency in Utah as recently as 2000.
After much spirited debating Romney was elected Governor in November 2002 over Democrat Shannon O'Brien, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and Libertarian Carla Howell (50%, 45%, 4%, 1% respectively).
As Romney is still in the middle of his first term, his success as governor is still a subject of active debate. Proponents of the governor say that he has been effective in reducing government waste and moving towards a balanced budget, while opponents say that he has supported the interests of big business over his constituents and been more interested in traveling the country to promote his political ambitions than in being governor.
Romney was heavily involved in national and statewide attempts to block the Massachusetts' Supreme Court's November 2003 ruling which legalized same-sex marriage. He implored the state legislature to pass an amendment banning gay marriage (the amendment passed the first round and has to pass again in the 2005-2006 session to be put on the ballot) and unsuccessfully went to court to try to have the marriages put on hold until the amendment's fate was decided. He did succeed in his enforcement of a 1913 law which prohibits non-residents from marrying in Massachusetts if the marriage would be void in their home state; a decision many decried since the original purpose of the law was to block interracial marriages. Romney also testified in front of Congress, urging them to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment.
In what many viewed as efforts to kickstart his 2008 campaign for President of the United States, Romney campaigned for Bush in New Hampshire and Michigan and had a prime speaking slot at the 2004 Republican National Convention. However, the speech, in spite of Republicans telling the press to "keep an eye on Romney", generated little interest, and New Hampshire and Michigan both went to John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election. Romney's own popularity in Massachusetts slid possibly due to the public's unease over his frequent trips out of state as well as his harsh personal attacks against John Kerry. Perhaps more troubling for Romney were his efforts to gain enough seats in the Democratic-controlled state legislature to be able to override their vetoes. Romney and Republican leaders threw an estimated $4 million dollars into the elections, outspending many Democrats by a 5 or 6-to-1 margin. Romney concentrated on suburban areas where he won in 2002, and personally campaigned for many of the candidates. Some also believed that the Massachusetts voters would have a backlash against the state's recent court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, as had happened with civil unions in Vermont 4 years earlier. But instead of Democrats losing their supermajority, they managed to gain 3 seats. Romney announced on December 23 he would run for a second term.
Polls taken after the 2004 election showed a large majority of Massachusetts voters would not support Romney if he ran for President.
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