Thursday, October 25, 2007
Persona Asides: Treasury Secretary Mentioned for Governor: At Conclusion of Term He May Follow Corzine and Rubin in the Public Sector.
Published Wednesday exclusively in The Chicago Daily Observer.
Its never too early to speculate who will run for governor of Illinois in 2010 as Rod Blagojevichs rocky road through controversy has stirred many to consider joining the lists.
The latest rumorcoming out of Washington, D. C. but with some impressive authorityis that the secretary of the treasury, Henry (Hank) Paulson, Jr. may be interested after the Bush administration leaves office.
Paulson, 61, was formerly chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the worlds largest investment banks. His net worth has been speculated at close to $700 million. If Paulson decided to run, he will be following in the footsteps of his predecessor at Goldman Sachs, Jon Corzine (an Illinois native) who of comparable wealth is now governor of New Jersey, having served as U. S. senator.
Paulson maintains a home in Barrington. His political background has been far more extensive than Corzineshaving served as staff assistant to an assistant defense secretary at the Pentagon from 1970 to 1972 and as an assistant to Nixon domestic issues chief John Ehrlichman from 1972 to 1973.
He joined Goldman Sachs in 1974, working in its Chicago office. He became a partner in 1982. He led the investment banking group for the Midwest region while working in Chicago and was managing partner of the Chicago office in 1988. Staying in Chicago he served as co-head of investment banking; then, moving to New York was chief operating office from December, 1994 to 1998. He succeeded Corzine as chief executive. His compensation package then was $37 million in 1005 and $16.4 million in 2006 with a net worth over $700 million.
Paulson was nominated as 74th secretary of the treasury by President Bush in May, 2006 and was confirmed by the Senate on June 28. His three immediate predecessors at Goldman Sachs left to serve the government: in addition to Corzine, Stephen Friedman and Robert Rubin. Friedman was chairman of the National Economic Council under Bill Clinton and Rubin both chairman of the NEC and treasury secretary for Clinton.
Paulson was born in Palm Beach, Fla. but was reared in Barrington Hills, Ill. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout and received his bachelors in English literature from Dartmouth (1968). At Dartmouth he was Phi Beta Kappa and won honorable mention as an All American football lineman. At Dartmouth he was active in a number of extracurricular groups including having served as president of the Christian Scientist organization.
He received a Harvard MBA in 1970. He met his wife Wendy during his senior year at Dartmouth. The couple have two children, Henry Merritt III and Amanda Clark and earlier this year became grandparents.
Paulson distinguished himself from his two Bush administration predecessors as treasury secretary by quickly identifying the gap between the richest and poorest Americans and has stressed his work to narrow the gap in recent appearances. He has been described as an avid nature loverhaving been a member of the Nature Conservancy for decades and its chairman and co-chair of its Asia-Pacific council. He has worked in that capacity with the former president of the Peoples Republic of China , Jiang Zemin to preserve the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan province. He donated $100 million worth of his Goldman Sachs stock to a family foundation thqat is dedicated to conservation and environmental education. He is on trhe board of the Peregrine fund, was founding chairman of the advisory board o the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua university in Bejing and has served as chairman of the Financial Services Forum.
In contradistinction to some of President Bushs cabinet, Paulson believes strongly in the effect of human activity on global warming.
Obviously Paulson cannot confirm and is expected to deny strenuously for now any interest in elective office as it would be improper and deleterious to his work as the administrations top economic official. Nor would he necessarily have to rush to get geared up for the activity following his service as treasury secretary.
Were he to signal an interest on returning to Barrington after completion of his term, he would undoubtedly rise to a preeminent position among the Republican challengers. At present some attractive Republican names mentioned for governor include Ron Gidwitz, retired chairman of Helene Curtis (who ran in 2006), state House Republican leader Tom Cross and State Sen. Bill Brady.
If he were to succeed in getting the nomination, Paulson would not necessarily have an easy time winning the election for all his prestige. Illinois has been listed as a blue state for the past several yearsparticularly in 2006 when all the state constitutional offices went to the Democrats as well as control of both houses of the legislature.
On the other hand, if there is any reason for voters to suffer fatigue from Democratic rule and seek a change, the coming gubernatorial election would be the time. Gov. Blagojevich may well seek a third term and there is every indication that he will be challenged by the popular Democratic attorney general Lisa Madigan. There have even been suggestions that U. S. Senator Barack Obama would run for governor in order to give his burgeoning resume a provision for administrative experience. All this means that the Democrats will have their hands full in an internecine primary and could well send a victor to the fray with diminished resources and a seriously divided party.