Photo courtesy of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Term: January 21, 2003 - January 18, 2011
Born: January 5, 1944
Edward G. Rendell, Pennsylvania's 45th governor, was born in New York City on January 5, 1944, the son of Jesse T. Rendell and Emma Sloat. All four of his grandparents were immigrants from Russia. He married Marjorie Osterland Rendell in 1971. They have a son, Jesse. An Army veteran, Rendell graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (B.A. 1965) and Villanova Law School (J.D. 1968). From 1992 through 1999, Governor Rendell served as the 121st Mayor of the City of Philadelphia. Among his many accomplishments as Mayor, Rendell eliminated a $250 million deficit, balanced the city's budget and generated five consecutive budget surpluses, reduced business and wage taxes for four consecutive years, and dramatically improved services to the City's neighborhoods. Before serving as Mayor, Rendell was elected district attorney of the City of Philadelphia for two terms from 1978 through 1985. Rendell served as general chair of the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 Presidential election, has always been active in the community through a variety of memberships on boards, and also teaches government and politics courses at the University of Pennsylvania.
Governor Rendell's unprecedented strategic investments energized Pennsylvania's economy, revitalized communities, improved education, protected the environment, expanded access to health care for all children, and provided affordable prescription drugs for older adults. He championed and signed into law Pennsylvania's first comprehensive measure to substantially reform the local tax system by providing urgently needed property tax relief to homeowners. During his tenure, taxpayers saved nearly $800 million in the first year of statewide property tax relief from gaming revenues.
Governor Rendell sought to make government more responsible to the public by cutting wasteful spending and improving government efficiency to save more than $1 billion. He pursued a legislative agenda that included commonsense political reforms to put progress ahead of partisanship.
Under Governor Rendell's leadership, Pennsylvania's economy rebounded sharply. Governor Rendell's economic stimulus plan invested more than $2.8 billion to create new jobs and revitalize communities. Under his administration, Pennsylvania ranked 15th in the nation for job growth, up from 41st at the beginning of Governor Rendell's first term. To ensure that all Pennsylvanians shared in the benefits of a growing economy, the Governor successfully championed the first minimum wage increase in nearly a decade.
Under Governor Rendell, student achievement rose at every grade level and in every subject. The Governor invested in proven education initiatives like pre-kindergarten, full-day kindergarten and tutoring. Pennsylvania went from being one of just nine states in the country that failed to fund pre-kindergarten to a national leader in early childhood investment, and for the first time ever more than half of Pennsylvania kindergartners attended full-day programs.
Governor Rendell also made Pennsylvania a leader in pursuing energy independence – creating jobs in the emerging alternative energy economy while developing effective strategies to reduce dependence on foreign oil and save families money.
Governor Rendell championed a dramatic increase in the number of older Pennsylvanians who received affordable prescription drugs through Pennsylvania's PACE and PACENET programs. He also saved older adults thousands of dollars a year that they would have been forced to pay under the federal Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
In addition, Governor Rendell won passage of the landmark Growing Greener 2 environmental investment package. The $625 million initiative went to cleaning up rivers and streams, improving parks, returning abandoned industrial sites to productive use, protecting open space and preserving farmland.
Governor Rendell accomplished all of this while being a careful steward of the commonwealth's finances. When he became Governor, the commonwealth faced a projected budget deficit of $2.4 billion. As one of his first acts, Governor Rendell cut government spending to close that deficit and implemented programs and policies to apply business principles of productivity and cost-savings to the operation of state government.