Class of 2014
Governor Rendell began a long career in positions of elected public service when he became Philadelphia’s District Attorney in 1978. After eight years in that office, followed by some years in private practice, he was elected Mayor of Philadelphia in 1991. During his two terms as Mayor of Philadelphia (1992-2000), Rendell eliminated a crippling deficit, balanced the City’s budget, and generated five consecutive budget surpluses. Philadelphia’s renaissance, which The New York Times called “the most stunning turnaround in recent urban history,” is largely attributed to his determination, inspiration, and energy.
Rendell went on to be elected Governor of Pennsylvania. He served two terms (2003-2011) and oversaw a budget of $28.3 billion in the 6th most-populous state. As Governor, he successfully cut wasteful spending and improved efficiency leading to savings of over $1 billion. Through his unprecedented strategic investments, Rendell energized Pennsylvania’s economy, revitalized communities, improved education, protected the environment, expanded access to health care to all children, and made affordable prescription drugs available to older Pennsylvanians.
Perhaps no other issue has been and continues to be as important to Governor Rendell as America’s dire need to rebuild and reinvest in its infrastructure. As Governor, Rendell worked with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to create “Building America’s Future.” Rendell currently serves as Co-Chair of the organization and travels throughout the country speaking about this issue.
Governor Rendell grew up as a sports fan. That did not end; in fact it appears to have grown stronger, as he took one public office after another. He has served and continues to serve as a sports commentator on both radio and television, and his unrelenting support for Philadelphia’s professional sports teams as well as his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, is well known.
Governor Rendell served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 Presidential election. He currently sits on several boards, is a Brookings Fellow and teaches government and politics courses at the University of Pennsylvania. He recently penned his first book, A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great. In the book, hechronicles his storied political career with his trademark candor while making a strong statement about the state of American leadership.