DES MOINES – Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced today that he is running for President, telling voters at a town hall event in Des Moines, Iowa that “it’s time for new leadership, with a new approach.”
“The time has come for America’s president – and anyone who wants to be president – to look you in the eye and tell you the truth,” Gov. Pawlenty said. “If we don’t change directions in 2012, if we do not move quickly and decisively, if we are not willing to chip in to sacrifice some of our own comfort and convenience for the lives and liberties of our children, it may be too late.”
Gov. Pawlenty’s official announcement kicks off a week-long, multi-state tour devoted to telling Americans the truth about the challenges facing America, and laying out specific ideas for getting the country back on track. Pawlenty will host a Facebook town hall on Tuesday and deliver remarks at the Cato Institute on Wednesday. He will travel to New Hampshire and New York on Thursday and Friday.
“Tomorrow I’m going to Florida, to look both young people and seniors in the eye and tell them the truth, that our entitlement programs are on an unsustainable path. And that inaction is no longer an option,” Pawlenty said in Des Moines. “Conventional wisdom says you can’t talk about ethanol in Iowa or Social Security in Florida or financial reform on Wall Street. But someone has to say it. Someone has to finally stand up and level with the American people. Someone has to lead.”
With the nation facing difficult challenges, Governor Pawlenty pointed to his record in Minnesota as evidence that conservative leadership can lead to a brighter future.
“In Minnesota, I cut taxes, cut spending, instituted health care choice and performance pay for teachers, reformed our union benefits, and appointed constitutional conservatives to the Supreme Court,” Governor Pawlenty said. “The problems we face as a nation are severe. But if we could move Minnesota in a common sense, conservative direction, we can do it anywhere — even in Washington D.C.”
Governor Pawlenty’s announcement comes less than five months after he completed his second term as Governor of Minnesota. First elected governor in 2002, Governor Pawlenty promised to balance budgets without raising taxes — a promise he kept. Instead, he was honest with voters about the choices necessary to restrain out-of-control spending. It wasn’t easy: His budget fights led to the first government shutdown in Minnesota’s history, a 44-day transit strike, and a record number of vetoes and budget unallotments. His success earned him an A grade in fiscal responsibility from the Cato Institute — one of only four governors to receive the libertarian group’s highest ranking.
One of five children, Pawlenty grew up near the stockyards of South St. Paul. His father was a truck driver and his mother passed away when he was young. Pawlenty worked while attending the University of Minnesota, becoming the first in his family to graduate from college. He went on to earn his law degree and become a criminal prosecutor before being elected to the Eagan City Council in 1989, and the Minnesota state House in 1992.
Tim Pawlenty has been married for over 20 years to his wife, Mary, a former district judge. The Pawlentys have two teenage daughters, Anna and Mara, and attend Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.