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Ed Rendell

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Collection: 1944 Births, American Jews, American Jews in the Military, American People of Russian-Jewish Descent, Democratic National Committee Chairs, Democratic Party State Governors of the United States, District Attorneys in Pennsylvania, Governors of Pennsylvania, Jewish American Mayors, Jewish American State Governors of the United States, Living People, Mayors of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Democrats, Pennsylvania Lawyers, United States Army Officers, University of Pennsylvania Alumni, University of Pennsylvania Faculty, Villanova University School of Law Alumni
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Ed Rendell

Ed Rendell
45th Governor of Pennsylvania
In office
January 21, 2003 – January 18, 2011
Lieutenant Catherine Baker Knoll
Joseph Scarnati
Preceded by Mark Schweiker
Succeeded by Tom Corbett
General Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
In office
September 25, 1999 – February 3, 2001
Preceded by Roy Romer
Succeeded by Terry McAuliffe (Chairman)
122nd Mayor of Philadelphia
In office
January 6, 1992 – January 3, 2000
Preceded by Wilson Goode
Succeeded by John Street
21st District Attorney of Philadelphia
In office
January 2, 1978 – January 6, 1986
Preceded by Emmett Fitzpatrick
Succeeded by Ronald Castille
Chairman of the National Governors Association
In office
July 14, 2008 – July 20, 2009
Preceded by Tim Pawlenty
Succeeded by Jim Douglas
Personal details
Born Edward Gene Rendell
(1944-01-05) January 5, 1944
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Marjorie Osterlund (1971–2011)
Children Jesse
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania (B.A.)
Villanova University (J.D.)
Religion Judaism
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1968–1974
Rank Second Lieutenant
Unit United States Army Reserve

Edward Gene "Ed" Rendell (; born January 5, 1944) is an American politician who served as the 45th Governor of Pennsylvania, from 2003 to 2011. Rendell, a member of the Democratic Party, was elected Governor of Pennsylvania in 2002, and his term of office began January 21, 2003. He was recently a member of the Democratic Governors Association Executive Committee and served as General Chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 presidential election. Rendell is also a football analyst on Comcast SportsNet's Eagles Postgame Live, hosted by Michael Barkann.

From 2008 to 2009, Governor Rendell was the Chairman of the National Governors Association. He was married to Marjorie Rendell, a federal judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit until they amicably separated in 2011. Rendell is also a faculty member of the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania, and chair of Team Pennsylvania Foundation.


  • Early life 1
  • Philadelphia District Attorney 2
  • Mayor of Philadelphia 3
  • Governor of Pennsylvania 4
    • 2002 primary 4.1
    • 2002 general election 4.2
    • First term 4.3
    • 2006 general election 4.4
    • Second term 4.5
  • Post-gubernatorial career 5
  • Presidential election involvement 6
  • Personal life 7
    • Sports fan 7.1
  • Gubernatorial electoral history 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Early life

Ed Rendell was born on January 5, 1944 in New York City, the son of Emma (née Sloat) and Jesse T. Rendell. His parents were Jewish, and all four of his grandparents were immigrants from Russia.[1] He attended Riverdale Country School before the University of Pennsylvania, where he joined the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity[2] in 1962 and earned a B.A. degree, 1965, and Villanova University School of Law, Juris Doctor, 1968. He served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1968 to 1974.

Philadelphia District Attorney

Rendell was elected District Attorney of Philadelphia in 1977, defeating the incumbent Democratic DA, Emmett Fitzpatrick, in the primary election. Rendell ran a campaign that emphasized that he was new to the political scene and not tainted by corruption. In 1980, Rendell received 28 delegate votes for Vice President[3] at the Democratic National Convention, although he was not a candidate. He served two terms as DA before leaving in 1986 to run for Governor of Pennsylvania. He was defeated in the Democratic gubernatorial primary by Bob Casey, Sr.

The 1985 police confrontation and bombing of MOVE, a black commune, occurred during Rendell's tenure as District Attorney as well as the trial of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Mayor of Philadelphia

In 1987, Rendell ran for the Democratic nomination against the incumbent mayor, Wilson Goode and lost. Rendell ran successfully four years later, in 1991. His opponent was to be Democrat-turned-Republican former Philadelphia Mayor, Frank Rizzo. Rizzo, however, died in the summer of 1991; in November 1991, Rendell won by more than a 2-1 margin against Joseph M. Egan, Jr., Rizzo's replacement on the Republican ticket.[4]

As mayor, Rendell inherited massive fiscal problems. The state legislature established a fiscal oversight board to monitor the City of Philadelphia's fiscal issues. During his career as mayor, Rendell cut a $250 million deficit; balanced Philadelphia's budget and oversaw five consecutive years of budget surpluses; reduced business and wage taxes for four consecutive years; implemented new revenue-generating initiatives, and dramatically improved services to Philadelphia neighborhoods. He also appointed Philadelphia's first ever Latino deputy mayors, with the naming of Benjamin Ramos and Manuel Ortiz. Rendell's cost-cutting policies brought him strong opposition from labor unions; however, he was re-elected in 1995, defeating Republican Joe Rocks with 80% of the vote.

Rendell's first term as mayor was chronicled in a best-selling book A Prayer for the City by journalist Buzz Bissinger. The author was given practically unlimited access to the Mayor during that term. The New York Times called Rendell's job as mayor "the most stunning turnaround in recent urban history."[5] On MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews has repeatedly compared former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani's successful mayoral term in NYC to Rendell's successful run as Philadelphia's mayor. Both Giuliani and Rendell have previously been dubbed "America's Mayor." Rendell was nicknamed "America's Mayor" by Al Gore and chaired the DNC during the 2000 presidential election.

Rendell also made a cameo appearance as the mayor of Philadelphia on TV in the 1993 film Philadelphia.

Governor of Pennsylvania

2002 primary

When he announced his intent to run for the Democratic Nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania, he did so without the backing of the state party. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party threw their support behind Bob Casey Jr., son of recently deceased former Governor Bob Casey Sr., whom the party saw as a more electable candidate against the liberal Rendell. In a bitter primary, Rendell won the nomination by winning only 10 out of 67 counties: Philadelphia and its suburbs: Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, and Delaware; its Lehigh Valley exurbs: Berks, Lehigh and Northampton; and Centre County, the home of Penn State University.[6]

2002 general election

In the November 2002 gubernatorial election, he defeated Republican State Attorney General Mike Fisher 53% to 44%.[7] Rendell won not only Philadelphia County, which is heavily Democratic, but also traditionally Republican suburbs of Philadelphia,[8] largely due to his popularity as mayor of Philadelphia. These traditionally Republican voters who backed Rendell were dubbed Rendellicans by the media and were a key part of the success of his campaign.[9]

In a 2002 PoliticsPA feature story designating politicians with yearbook superlatives, he was named the "Most Likely to Succeed."[10] Rendell's campaign website was described as having "cutting edge in design for a political site."[11]

First term

The first piece of legislation Rendell initiated was The Plan for a New Pennsylvania.[12] The Plan proposed using slot machine revenue to reduce taxes by $1.5 billion (an average 30% decrease for homeowners) and included $687 million in increased education funding. The plan was to be paid for with a proposed income tax increase from 2.80% to 3.75% plus increased taxes on utilities and beer. The governor's plan passed but with a smaller tax increase to only 3.07% and increased education funding of $450 million. The final budget deal included additional taxes on cigarettes and utilities.[13]

Later that year, the Rendell administration also passed a prescription drug plan that covered older Pennsylvanians.

In his first year, Rendell created the Office of Management and Productivity with the goal of cutting $1 billion in administrative expenses by the end of his first term. One of the most widely touted successes from Rendell's productivity initiative was strategic sourcing in which he overhauled the Commonwealth's antiquated procurement system, leading to $180 million in annual savings[14] and a quadrupling of Pennsylvania's minority and women owned business participation rate.

Rendell and Knoll

In 2004, Rendell persuaded the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pass measures to legalize and tax slot machine parlors, with the revenues from these measures to be used to reduce property taxes. Prior to this legislation, the only legal forms of gambling in Pennsylvania were horse racing and the state-run lottery. Rendell has been criticized by many opponents of legalized gambling.[15]

In a compromise with the legislature, Rendell accepted a provision requiring that tax reductions only occur in areas where local school boards voted to accept the funding. Act 72 funding, as it came to be known, was accepted by only one fifth of Pennsylvania's school districts. Rendell was criticized when he commented that PA voters were "misguided" when the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians voted against Act 72 in their districts.

Following Act 72, Rendell and the Pennsylvania legislature looked at other proposals to reduce property taxes, a key component of his 2002 campaign. The governor said he was willing to consider legislation that changes Act 72, and legislative proposals were made to force school districts to accept the money. Other proposed legislation would have required the issue to be voted on in each district as a ballot question, rather than decided by school boards. Property tax relief and Act 72 were issues of great controversy and have been subject to political gridlock, and it was unclear when changes would be made.

In early 2005, Rendell made statements that seemed to support President Social Security privatization proposal. Rendell addressed this issue in later speeches, saying that he opposes social security privatization, and that his previous comments were meant to show admiration for President Bush for taking on a politically risky subject. Nevertheless, Rendell's initial statements cost him support among Democrats who are against Social Security privatization.

In 2005, Rendell received much criticism from the public and press for signing a controversial pay raise for legislators. Later, he signed the measure's repeal.

2006 general election

Rendell won re-election on November 7, 2006, defeating Lynn Swann, a former professional football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rendell took 60% of the vote, or 2,470,517 votes, to Swann's 40%, or 1,622,135 votes.[16] He was sworn into his second term as governor of Pennsylvania on January 16, 2007.

During his re-election campaign, Rendell was also instrumental in the successful Senate candidacy of Bob Casey, Jr. who had run against him for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2002.[17]

Second term

In 2007, as a residual effect of the potent political power the pay raise issue had in central and western Pennsylvania, Rendell stepped up criticism of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and its executive salaries and expenses, following published newspaper reports, in an effort to leverage PHEAA's profits from federal student loan revenues to help finance the Commonwealth's need-based state grant program for undergraduate post-secondary education (both for grants and for the administration of the program). PHEAA, however, is not a direct state government department, created as a quasi-governmental agency in the 1960s by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and which is governed by a Board composed primarily of members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate.

In July 2007, Rendell ordered a partial government shutdown following a dispute with the state legislature over legislative initiatives unrelated to the state budget. Approximately 25,000 state workers were furloughed.[18] The shutdown was resolved within 24 hours.[19]

Governor Rendell, a capital punishment supporter,[20] has signed 78 execution warrants during his term,[21] but none of them were enforced due to stays.

In December 2008, Rendell received criticism for stating that Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano was "perfect" for the role of Secretary of Homeland Security because, "...for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19, 20 hours a day to it."[22][23]

Rendell drew some criticism following a late January 2009 preview of his budget proposal that would eliminate 100 budget line items, including programs such as the Pennsylvania Governor's Schools of Excellence and Drug Abuse Resistance Education ("D.A.R.E."). These program cuts are part of Rendell's proposal to cut state expenditures to a level 1 percent below the 2002-2003 budget in response to an expected 2.3 billion dollar budget shortfall.[24] As a result of the budget crisis, Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo resigned.[25]

Rendell called for reinstating the Federal Assault Weapons Ban in the wake of a police shooting in Pittsburgh.[26]

Post-gubernatorial career

Rendell was term-limited for the election of 2010. He was succeeded by Republican Tom Corbett on January 18, 2011. Following the end of his career as governor of Pennsylvania, Rendell returned to his former law firm, the Philadelphia-based Ballard Spahr.[27] In January 2011, he accepted a position as an on-air political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC,[27] and the following month took up a position as Senior Advisor at boutique investment bank Greenhill & Co.[28] In April 2011, Rendell joined Element Partners, a Philadelphia-based cleantech investment firm, as an Operating Partner.[29] Also in 2011, Rendell reportedly acted as a go-between for Range Resources Corp, an oil and gas exploration and production company, and then United States EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, regarding a Texas water contamination case; and has been a vocal proponent of shale gas extraction as part of a United States energy strategy.[30][31][32]

Presidential election involvement

Rendell was a potential candidate to serve as Senator John Kerry's running mate in the 2004 presidential campaign.[33] Rendell's popularity, particularly 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.

Rendell speaking in support of Barack Obama in Horsham, Pennsylvania, October 13, 2008

On August 30, 2007, The Wall Street Journal reported that while Hillary Clinton and other high-profile Democratic politicians were returning contributions from tainted political fundraiser Norman Hsu, Rendell said he intended to keep the $40,000 he had received from Hsu's fund-raising network. The newspaper also noted that last year Hsu hosted a 10-course dinner for Rendell at Per se (restaurant) in New York City, where meals cost $250 per person.

On January 24, 2008, Rendell announced his endorsement of Senator Clinton in the latter's race for the White House.[34] He stated that, "[Hillary] really cares about moving this country forward. She also has the best health-care plan for America."

As one of Hillary Clinton's staunchest supporters, Rendell argued that many media outlets' coverage of her campaign were biased. On March 31, 2008 he congratulated Fox News on what he considered to be the best campaign coverage. Addressing Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy, he said, "I think during this entire primary coverage, starting in Iowa and up to the present, Fox has done the fairest job, has remained the most objective of all the cable networks." Rendell continued, "You actually have done a very balanced job of reporting the news, and some of the other stations are just caught up with Senator Obama, who is a great guy, but Senator Obama can do no wrong, and Senator Clinton can do no right."[35]

Rendell endorsed Senator Barack Obama in June 2008 and made several campaign appearances on his behalf.[36][37][38]

As state governor, Rendell was one of the 768 superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention.

After Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, Rendell was often mentioned as a possible Obama pick for Secretary of Energy[39] or Secretary of Transportation.[40] However, Steven Chu was selected for Energy Secretary and Congressman Ray LaHood was selected as Transportation Secretary.

Personal life

His wife, Marjorie Rendell, is a Federal judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit who was appointed by President Bill Clinton. They married on July 10, 1971 and have one son, Jesse.[41] Rendell and his wife announced their separation shortly after he left office.[42]

Sports fan

Rendell's love of sports is well-known. Rendell is a Philadelphia Eagles fan and is part of the panel on the Comcast Sportsnet show "Post Game Live", which airs after every Eagles regular and post-season game. Rendell was among the crowd in attendance for Bounty Bowl II in 1989, in which the unruly fans threw snow and ice at the field; Rendell wagered (and lost) $20 expecting that a fellow fan could not throw a snowball from the stands of the stadium to the field.[43] He even made a friendly wager on the outcome of Super Bowl XXXIX, promising to wear a New England Patriots jersey and sing the National Anthem at a Philadelphia 76ers/Boston Celtics game if the Eagles lost, which they did. He would lose similar friendly wagers with the Governor of New York, David Paterson, in supporting the Philadelphia Phillies on their quest to defend their 2008 championship against the New York Yankees in 2009 and again with Governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, in supporting the Philadelphia Flyers in the quest to win the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks. In 2006, he won a bet with the Governor of Washington, Christine Gregoire in supporting the Pittsburgh Steelers in their quest to win Super Bowl XL over the Seattle Seahawks 21 - 10.

As a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Rendell frequently supports the Penn basketball team and can be seen at games at the Palestra. He has also assisted in finding new corporate sponsorship for Philadelphia International Championship, a 21-year-old Philadelphia bicycle race.

Also a Philadelphia Phillies fan, he spoke at a memorial service for Hall of Fame announcer Harry Kalas at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on April 18, 2009.

On December 26, 2010, the Philadelphia Eagles home game against the visiting Minnesota Vikings was postponed before any snow had fallen due to an impending blizzard in Philadelphia. Rendell said of the postponement, "My biggest beef is that this is part of what's happened in this country. We've become a nation of wusses. The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything. If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down."[44] As a result, the grounds crew piled snow on his reserved seat the following game, and topped it with a sign that said "This seat reserved for non-wusses".[45]

Gubernatorial electoral history

Pennsylvania Gubernatorial election 2002[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ed Rendell 1,913,235 53.4
Republican Mike Fisher 1,589,408 44.4
Libertarian Ken V. Krawchuk 40,923 1.14
Democratic gain from Republican Swing
Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Election 2006[16]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ed Rendell (Incumbent) 2,470,517 60.4 +7.0
Republican Lynn Swann 1,622,135 39.6
Democratic hold Swing

See also


  1. ^ William Addams Reitwiesner. "Ancestry of Gov. Edward G. Rendell". Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ 2011 Pi Lambda Phi Membership Directory
  3. ^ "US Vice President - D Convention". Our Campaigns. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  4. ^ Scott Farmelant (October 12–19, 1995). "Dead Men Can Vote- Voting fraud is alive and well in Philadelphia". Philadelphia City Paper. 
  5. ^ Democratic Governors Association: Governor Edward G. Rendell
  6. ^ Commonwealth of PA - Elections Information
  7. ^ a b Commonwealth of PA - Elections Information
  8. ^ Commonwealth of PA - Elections Information
  9. ^ 'Rendellicans' cross party lines - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  10. ^ "Keystone State Yearbook Committee".  
  11. ^ Drulis, Michael (2002). "Best & Worst Websites".  
  12. ^ PA House of Representatives Democratic Caucus
  14. ^ [2] Archived October 17, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Welcome | Casino-Free Philadelphia
  16. ^ a b Commonwealth of PA - Elections Information
  17. ^ "Governor Rendell Endorses Bob Casey for U.S. Senate". Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "Governor Orders Partial Shutdown of Pa. Offices". The Washington Post. July 9, 2007. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  19. ^ - Legislators, Gov. Reach Deal To End Budget Impasse
  20. ^ Ed Rendell on Crime
  21. ^ Execution Warrants Issued by Governor (1985 to Present)
  22. ^ Orr, Jimmy (2008-12-03). "Ed Rendell on Janet Napolitano: Perfect because she has no life!". The Vote Blog (The Christian Science Monitor). Retrieved 2008-12-03. 
  23. ^ Brown, Campbell (2008-12-02). "Commentary: Sexism sneaks in over open mic". (Cable News Network). Retrieved 2008-12-03. 
  24. ^ Rendell previews budget plan - - Altoona, PA | News, Sports, Jobs, Community Information - The Altoona Mirror
  25. ^ Penn Live, "Rendell's spokesman will resign after budget is passed", Retrieved August 19, 2009.
  26. ^ Mayor, chief: Ban assault weapons
  27. ^ a b Wereschagin, Mike (January 25, 2011). "Former Gov. Ed Rendell returns to old Philadelphia law firm".  
  28. ^ "Edward G Rendell to join Greenhill as a Senior Advisor (02-Feb-11)". 2 February 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  30. ^ Former Pa. Gov. Rendell pressed EPA in Range pollution case, emails show
  31. ^ Ed Rendell Intervened for Fracking Giant Range Resources to Stop Texas EPA Water Contamination Case
  32. ^ Governor Ed Rendell Talks Fracking
  33. ^ "Who Will it Be?". Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  34. ^ Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Clinton receives Rendell backing January 24, 2008
  35. ^ Clinton Surrogate Ed Rendell Praises Fox News For "Most Objective," "Balanced" Coverage - Media on The Huffington Post
  36. ^ Lehigh Valley Live Breaking News: Search
  37. ^ The Raw Story | Rendell: Obama hasn't changed his mind on telecom immunity
  38. ^ "Obama holds Philadelphia Fundraiser with Gov. Rendell". Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  39. ^ Sack, Kevin. "Edward G. Rendell". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  40. ^ "Transportation's Obama Factor". 
  41. ^ First Lady
  42. ^ Former Pa. Gov. Rendell, wife separating -
  43. ^ Meet Ed Rendell - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh
  44. ^ "". Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  45. ^ Klopman, Michael (December 29, 2010). "'"Ed Rendell's Seat At Eagles-Vikings 'Reserved For Non-Wussies. Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Emmett Fitzpatrick
District Attorney of Philadelphia
Succeeded by
Ronald Castille
Political offices
Preceded by
Wilson Goode
Mayor of Philadelphia
Succeeded by
John Street
Preceded by
Mark Schweiker
Governor of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Tom Corbett
Preceded by
Tim Pawlenty
Chairman of the National Governors Association
Succeeded by
Jim Douglas
Party political offices
Preceded by
Roy Romer
General Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
Served alongside: Joe Andrew
Succeeded by
Terry McAuliffe
as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee
Preceded by
Ivan Itkin
Democratic nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania
2002, 2006
Succeeded by
Dan Onorato
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