Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is an American businessman and politician. He was the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.
Romney is the son of George W. Romney (the former Governor of Michigan) and Lenore Romney. He was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and then served as a Mormon missionary in France. He received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University, and thereafter earned Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration joint degrees from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School. Romney entered the management consulting business which led to a position at Bain & Company, eventually serving as its CEO to lead it out of crisis. He was also co-founder and head of the spin-off company Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm which became highly profitable and one of the largest such firms in the nation, and the wealth Romney accumulated there would help fund all of his future political campaigns. He ran as the Republican candidate in the 1994 U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts but lost to incumbent Ted Kennedy. Romney organized and steered the 2002 Winter Olympics as President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, and helped turn the troubled Games into a financial success.
Romney won the election for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, but did not seek reelection in 2006. During his term, he presided over a series of spending cuts and increases in fees that eliminated a projected $3 billion deficit. He also signed into law the Massachusetts health care reform legislation, which provided near-universal health insurance access via subsidies and state-level mandates and was the first of its kind in the nation. During the course of his political career, his positions or rhetorical emphasis have shifted more towards American conservatism in several areas.