Born August 26, 1945
, Governor Ridge grew up in veterans’ public housing in Erie
, PA. He went to Harvard
on a scholarship, graduating in 1967. He attended a year at The Dickinson School of Law
before he was drafted in the U.S Army. He served as an infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam
, and earned the Bronze Star
for Valor. Ridge has a wife, Michelle Ridge and two children. He is a Roman Catholic
and a Republican
After serving in Vietnam he return to complete his law degree and became a district attorney in Erie County. In 1982 he was elected to Congress, becoming the first enlisted Vietnam combat veteran elected to the U.S. House.
He was sworn in as Pennsylvania's 43rd governor on January 17, 1995, and then reelected on November 3, 1998. In May 2000, he signed the largest tax cut in state history -- nearly $775 million. Governor Ridge has cut taxes every year he's been in office.
On September 20, 2001 Ridge was named to head the new cabinet level division the Office of Homeland Security
Abortion: Ridge has been mentioned as a possible vice-president for various republican tickets, but he is not anti-abortion enough, since he thinks that it should be legal only in the first trimester, and only for cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the woman.
Education: Ridge supports sex education programs which stress abstinence, endorses teacher-led voluntary prayer in public schools. He also wants to allow schools the option of requiring school uniforms and providing parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any participating school (public, private, religious).
Environment: Supports “self-audit” legislation which creates incentives for industries to audit themselves and clean up pollution. Require a cost/benefit analysis to determine the economic impact of proposed environmental regulations before they are implemented. Ridge says, “State environmental regulations should not be stricter than federal law.”
Crime: Helped pass Megan’s Law, in 1995, and he has restored capital punishment by signing more than 100 death warrants; executions have followed. He also supports expanding the use of the death penalty for additional circumstances relating to murder and prosecuting juveniles who commit murder or other serious violent crimes as adults.