Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Edward G. "Ed" Rendell (born January 5 1944) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party. He was elected Governor of Pennsylvania in 2002, and his term of office began January 21, 2003.
Rendell served as district attorney of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1978 to 1985. In 1986, he was defeated in the Democratic primary for Governor by the incumbent, Robert P. Casey, the father of his opponent in the 2002 primary election, Robert Patrick Casey, Jr.. He served as Mayor of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2000, before running for Governor in 2002. As mayor, he helped improve neighborhoods and balance the city's budget. These cost-cutting policies brought him strong opposition from labor unions; however, he was re-elected in 1995 with 80% of the vote. He was named "America's Mayor" by Al Gore.
Among the Mayor's notable accomplishments, Rendell cut a $250 million deficit; balanced Philadelphia's budget and started five consecutive budget surpluses; reduced business and wage taxes for four consecutive years; implemented new revenue-generating initiatives, and dramatically improved services to the City's neighborhoods. The New York Times referred to Rendell's job as mayor as "the most stunning turnaround in recent urban history."
Despite Rendell's success as Mayor, he has failed to take positive action to improve Philadelphia schools. Rendell's critics cite his close ties to the school district's massive administrative structure and the teacher's union which are major contributors to the political machine that elected Rendell as Mayor and Governor.
Rendell was sworn in as Pennsylvania's 45th Governor on January 21, 2003. The first piece of legislation Rendell initiated was The Plan for a New Pennsylvania. The Plan reduced taxes by one and a half billion dollars, an average 30% decrease for homeowners, and also took steps to improve the financial situation of many older Pennsylvanians and others who live on fixed incomes. It closes the resource gap between school districts while at the same time investing up to $1.25 billion annually within three years to fund proven programs that boost student achievement.
Many elements of the Rendell plan became law in the first two years of his administration. His signature achievement in the first year of his administration was to pass a prescription drug plan to cover older Pennsylvanians. In 2004, he persuaded the General Assembly to pass measures to legalize (and tax) slot machine parlors and to grant property tax relief.
Some experts and pundits initially considered Rendell to be a possible running mate for presidential candidate John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, although John Edwards was eventually chosen by Kerry. A Pennsylvania Democratic legislative leader who served in elective office concurrently with Rendell going back to Rendell's early years as District Attorney of Philadelphia, State Rep. Mark B. Cohen of Philadelphia, said that "Edwards' national campaigning and deep Southern roots was just too much for Rendell backers to overcome."
Rendell's popularity, especially in the suburban ring of counties around Philadelphia, was a key to Kerry's victory in Pennsylvania, one of the most hotly-contested "swing states" in the 2004 presidential election.
His political savvy and problem solving abilities along with an easy-going personality and speaking-style put him on the long list of possible future Presidential candidates, but it may be difficult for him to compete with better known national names for media attention and in fundraising. He recently said that he is "not really" interested in running in 2008.  Nevertheless, he is drawing considerable attention. His service as district attorney and Mayor demonstrated a law enforcement focus that could be a positive campaign asset, as could his military service. But in early 2005 he made statements supporting President George W. Bush's social security privatization proposal. This has cost him support among Democrats who are against social security privatization.
The mass snowballing of Dallas Cowboys former coach Jimmy Johnson is often attributed to Rendell. As the story goes, Rendell wagered twenty dollars that the person sitting next to him could not hit Johnson in the head with a snowball at an Eagles - Cowboys football game at Veterans Stadium. The incident 'snowballed' and resulted in many fans hurling snowballs at Johnson. Rendell remains a proud Eagles fan today and the Governor appears on a post-game television show to provide commentary each Sunday.
His wife, Marjorie Rendell, is a federal judge. They married July 10, 1971. They have one son, Jesse, a 2002 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and bassist for the southern New Jersey band Don't Look Down.
Ed Rendell is a possible Democratic candidate for the Presidency of United States in 2008. But in early 2005 he made statements supporting President George W. Bush's social security privatization proposal. This has cost him support among Democrats who are against social security privatization.
- Governor of Pennsylvania official page
- Article praising Rendell's term as mayor
- Article rather more critical of his term as mayor
- PA-Wiki Governor Rendell Entry
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