The Lead

Former Pa. Gov. Ridge hospitalized after stroke, in critical but stable condition

By: - June 16, 2021 5:08 pm

Former Pa. Gov. Tom Ridge (WikiMedia Commons

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge is in the hospital after suffering a stroke Wednesday morning.

The 75-year-old, who also served in Congress, and was the first head of the Department of Homeland Security, was  in “critical but stable condition,” on Wednesday afternoon, according to a statement shared on his Twitter page.

“The family requests your prayers for a full recovery,” the statement read.

Ridge, a Republican, was born outside of Pittsburgh in 1945. He was a Vietnam War veteran and served as an assistant district attorney in Erie before running for the House of Representatives in 1982. He represented northwestern Pennsylvania for six terms before he successfully ran for governor in 1994.

A popular governor, he governed from the center-right, championing charter schools and law-and-order policies combined with his support for abortion rights.

He was reelected by a wide margin 1998, but resigned early during his second and final term in office to serve as former President George W. Bush’s Secretary of Homeland Security. He was the department’s inaugural head after Congress established the department in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

In a Tweet, Mark Schweiker, Ridge’s lieutenant governor who replaced him when Ridge resigned, said that “we know Tom Ridge is a fighter.”

“Our prayers are with him, Michele, Lesley, Tommy and the entire family,” Schweiker added.

After his time as a public servant ended, Ridge founded a Harrisburg-based lobbying firm. He also is the principal of Ridge Global, a Washington-based consulting firm that specializes in security issues.

In recent years, Ridge also made a name for himself as a vocal opponent of former Republican President Donald Trump.

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Stephen Caruso
Stephen Caruso

Stephen Caruso is a former senior reporter with Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Before working with the Capital-Star he covered Pennsylvania state government for The PLS Reporter.