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Ridge, Tom

Tom Ridge (Thomas Joseph Ridge), 1945–, U.S. politician and government official, first secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security (2003–5), b. Munhall, Pa. A graduate of Harvard (1967) and the Dickinson School of Law (1972) who served (1968–70) in the infantry in Vietnam, Ridge worked in private law practice and became active in the Republican party. In 1982 he was elected to the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania and served six terms. Elected governor of his home state in 1994, he was in his second term when President George W. Bush asked him to head the Office of Homeland Security in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (see Pentagon, the; World Trade Center). Chosen to head the newly established Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003, Ridge oversaw the integration of the 22 agencies that were consolidated and reorganized in the DHS.

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