Christine Todd WhitmanU.S. politician, public official
Whitman was elected Governor of New Jersey (which has off-year elections) in 1993 and served in the post until 2000 when President George W. Bush asked her to head the Environmental Protection Agency. The youngest of four children in an affluent family active in Republican politics, she earned a B.A. in government from Wheaton College in 1968. She then worked as an outreach worker for the Republican National Committee, a staff member of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, an English-as-a-second-language teacher in New York City. In 1982 Whitman was elected to the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders (county commissioners), where she served until 1988 when Gov. Thomas Kean appointed her to the state Board of Public Utilities. In 1990 Whitman resigned to run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Bill Bradley. Although she had little name recognition, Whitman surprised pundits by getting 49 percent of the vote, narrowly losing to Bradley. In 1993 she defeated incumbent Gov. James Florio. Whitman has cut taxes, promoted business, streamlined government, and promoted tough anti-crime legislation. Her support of abortion and gay rights has made her unpopular with much of the Republican party. Environmentalists say she has a mixed record. She supported a measure allowing $1 billion to preserve some one million acres of land from development and imposed environmental reviews on new development's water and sewer facilities. Whitman also tried to promote business, reducing fines for polluters, streamlining the building permit process, and reducing staff at the state environmental protection office. She resigned her EPA post in May 2003. She is married to John Whitman, a financial consultant whose grandfather was governor of New York. They have two children and own two farms.