Republican presidential candidate Willard Mitt Romney was born on March 12, 1947. He was named for his father’s best friend, hotel businessman J. Willard Marriott and Milton “Mitt” Romney, a relative who played football for the Chicago Bears. His father, George W. Romney, was a former Michigan governor, Housing and Urban Development Secretary, American Motors chairman and presidential candidate. His mother, Lenore, was an unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidate in 1970. Romney married his high school sweetheart, Ann Davies, in 1968. They have five sons, Tagg, Matt, Josh, Ben and Craig and ten grandchildren. Ann Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998.
Romney grew up Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, along with his three siblings, Lynn, Jane and G. Scott. After attending Stanford University for two semesters, Romney took a leave from school to serve a 30-month mission in France as an LDS missionary.
When he returned to the states, he transferred to Brigham Young University, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1971. In 1975, he graduated from a joint JD/MBA program between Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.
Born: March 12, 1947
Famous For: Republican candidate in 2008 presidential election. As governor of Massachusetts, he achieved a balanced budget every year.
Key Accomplishments: Top graduate at Brigham Young University, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School.
Significant Quote: “It’s time for innovation and transformation in Washington. It’s what our country needs. It’s what our people deserve.” (announcing his candidacy for President)
Fun Quote: “No, I represent the people. You represent the media. You’re supposed to be unbiased.”
After college, Romney spent some time working for the Boston Consulting Group before becoming a vice president at Bain & Company, another Boston-based management consulting firm. In 1984, he left the company to co-found Bain Capital, which soon grew into a highly successful private equity investment firm.
In 1990, Romney was asked to return to Bain & Company, which was facing financial collapse. Within one year, he led Bain & Company through a highly successful turnaround and returned the firm to profitability. After that year, he returned to Bain Capital. During Romney’s time there, the firm founded or invested in companies such as Staples, Brookstone, Domino’s and The Sports Authority. He left Bain Capital in 1998 to head the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee. In 1999, Romney was hired as the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. He contributed million to the Olympics and donated his 5,000 salary to charity. It was here that Romney first gained national recognition.
In 1994, Romney won the Massachusetts Republican Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate, but Senator Ted Kennedy went on to win the election with 58% of the votes to Romney’s 41%.
In 2002, after a battle over residency requirements, Romney was elected governor of Massachusetts with 50% of the vote over the Democratic candidate. He did not seek re-election. Instead, on January 3, 2007 (just two days before he stepped down as governor), he announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee. On February 13, 2007, Romney officially announced his presidential candidacy.
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported education reform and abortion rights, but has since described himself as pro-life. He supports the death penalty and advocates making health care more affordable.
Romney is one of only a few Mormons, including his father and Orrin Hatch, to run for president.