Bob Taft graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in government, received his master’s degree in government from Princeton University, and earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati Law School. Taft began his career in public service as a volunteer teacher for the Peace Corps in East Africa. He has served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, as a Hamilton County commissioner and as Ohio’s secretary of state. Since being sworn in as Ohio’s 67th governor on January 11, 1999, Taft has focused on attracting new, high-paying jobs, positioning Ohio as a leader in the knowledge economy, rebuilding schools, improving services for seniors, and restoring cities and rural communities.
He was elected to his second term as governor in November 2002. The Third Frontier Project is Taft’s job creation program to expand Ohio’s high-tech research capabilities and promote start-up companies. He has charged his Governor’s Commission on Higher Education and the Economy with evaluating the higher education system to maximize public investment and ensure that the needs of students, parents and the business community are being met. The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Financing Student Success is currently evaluating Ohio’s system of financing primary and secondary education in order to recommend better funding options. Ohio is providing good, safe centers of learning for children across the state through Taft’s 12-year, $10 billion school construction and renovation plan.
Under his Student Success agenda, Ohio is implementing an aligned system of clear, rigorous academic standards; improved student assessments; and an accountability process that deals with persistently failing schools. His OhioReads program has recruited more than 45,000 volunteer tutors to help every child read at grade level by the end of the fourth grade. He and First Lady Hope Taft lead by example by tutoring a Columbus middle school student weekly. Governor Taft’s father and grandfather both served in the United States Senate, and his great-grandfather, William Howard Taft, served as the 27th President of the United States and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Governor and First Lady Hope Taft have one daughter, Anna.