Tim Pawlenty

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Tim Pawlenty
Governor of Minnesota
From: January 6, 2003 - January 3, 2011
Predecessor Jesse Ventura
Successor Mark Dayton
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Pawlenty
Religion Evangelical Christian

Tim Pawlenty is the former Republican governor of the State of Minnesota, having served from 2003 until 2011. Though he never won even 50% of the vote, Pawlenty's appeasement of liberals earned him high approval ratings during his governorship.[1] Though he pledged not to raise taxes, he balanced the state budget by imposing "state fees" on activities such as purchasing cigarettes, harvesting food, using emergency services, obtaining a marriage certificate, and public parking. He was reelected in 2006, beating Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) candidate Mike Hatch in a close election.[2] Pawlenty was considered one of the main contenders for the Republican Vice Presidential spot for John McCain in 2008.

In June 2009, Governor Pawlenty announced he would not seek a third term in the 2010 election, and instead seeks the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.[3] "I don't know what the future holds for me, I'm not ruling anything in or out." [4] Pawlenty has since dropped out of the race. Although described by some as being pro-life, Pawlenty gutted the "Woman's Right to Know" law that pro-lifers had spent nine years working on passing. Pawlenty arranged for a publicity stunt with a liberal medical group to justify removing the essential information that abortion causes an increase in breast cancer.[5][6] Abortions decreased only slightly in Minnesota while Pawlenty was governor - not significantly more than the slight decrease nationwide.

Early life

Tim Pawlenty was born on November 27, 1960, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Although he was raised as a Roman Catholic, he converted as an Evangelical Christian. His mother died of cancer when Pawlenty was 16. He was the only child in his family to graduate from college, where he earned a Political Science and Law Degree from the University of Minnesota, and later became a practicing attorney.

Political career

Pawlenty was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1992, and reelected five times. In 1998, he was elected as the state House Majority Leader. In 2002, Pawlenty was the Republican nominee for Governor. He faced strong opposition from Minnesota DFL state senator Roger Moe, and independent candidate, former Congressman Tim Penny. Opinion polls that showed the race tight, however he won the election by seven percentage points, mostly by winning voters in the suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

As Governor, Pawlenty balanced Minnesota's budget three times without raising taxes, despite facing record budget deficits. This was largely accomplished by raising $893 million in citizen "fees", which most voters considered the same as a tax. This included a "health fee" ($401 million) for all cigarette buyers which was ruled unconstitutional, a harvest fee for farmers, a 9-1-1 fee on all telephone lines, a fee for traditional marriage, and large increase in parking fees.[7] To balance these fees, he enacted a property tax cap and eliminated the marriage penalty. On November 30, 2005, a $701 million projected surplus was announced, the first budget surplus for the Minnesota state government since 2001. He proposed and signed into law welfare reform that requires able-bodied people to seek work.[8]

Pawlenty was the chairman of the National Governors Association from 2007 to 2008. He describes himself as pro-life and supports overturning Roe v. Wade. On gun control he supports statewide background checks to carry firearms.[9]

Governor Pawlenty speaking at the National Governors Association, 02/23/08.

Governor Pawlenty opposed Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, "Most Republican governors and most Republicans are concerned or opposed, or concerned for these reasons: The federal government is spending money it doesn’t have. They are deeply in debt and getting deeper in debt by the hour. They’re borrowing money to do that, mostly from the Chinese. And it’s money we don’t have." [10]

However, he still accepted the stimulus money for his state,

"What is the rule that you can’t participate in federal legislation if you’re concerned about it? If you’re a liberal governor and you’re opposed to military spending, does that mean you don’t take the National Guard money? If you’re opposed to No Child Left Behind, do you not take that money?"

In September 2009, Pawlenty accused President Barack Obama of imperiling the nation's security and pushing a far-left agenda that threatens to leave the nation drowning in debt. He reserved his harshest criticism for Obama's decision to scrap a controversial plan for a missile defense shield in Europe.

"Not only did President abandon missile defense, but he is opening negotiations with Iran and North Korea. The lessons of history are clear: Appeasement and weakness did not stop the Nazis, appeasement did not stop the Soviets, and appeasement did not stop the terrorists before 9/11."[11]


  1. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/2006/campaign/governor/pawlenty/
  2. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2006/11/07/mngov/
  3. http://www.startribune.com/politics/state/46726117.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aU1yDEmP:QMDCinchO7DU
  4. http://www.startribune.com/politics/state/46726117.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aU1yDEmP:QMDCinchO7DU
  5. https://www.lifenews.com/2003/12/30/state-281/
  6. http://www.health.state.mn.us/wrtk/handbook.html
  7. Duluth News Tribune: Fees soar as state taxes hold steady (2006)
  8. https://www.redstate.com/diaries/redstate/2008/aug/28/get-to-know-tim-pawlenty/
  9. http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Tim_Pawlenty_Gun_Control.htm
  10. http://www.pri.org/politics-society/government/tim-pawlenty-stimulus-bill.html
  11. Alex Isenstadt, "Pawlenty decries 'appeasement'," Politico Sept. 18, 2009

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