Michael O. Leavitt was sworn in as the 20th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on January 26, 2005. As secretary, he lead national efforts to protect the health of all Americans and provide essential human services to those in need. He managed the largest civilian department in the federal government, with more than 66,000 employees and a budget that accounted for almost one out of every four federal dollars.
Prior to his most recent service, Leavitt served as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Governor of Utah. While at EPA, Leavitt signed the Clean Air Diesel Rule, implemented new, more-protective air quality standards for ozone and fine particle pollution and organized a regional collaboration of national significance to clean and protect the Great Lakes.
The people of Utah elected Mike Leavitt governor three times. Prior to leaving the statehouse to work in the Bush Administration, he was the nation's longest-serving governor. During his eleven years of service, Utah was recognized six times as one of America's best managed states. He was chosen by his peers as Chairman of the National Governors Association, Western Governors Association and Republican Governors Association because of his ability to solve problems across partisan lines.
Sec. Leavitt is widely recognized as a health care innovator and welfare reformer, and his record of achievement in Utah bears this out. In 1994, the Utah legislature passed Gov. Leavitt's "Healthprint," a comprehensive, incremental approach to health care improvement in the state. A decade later, Utah has more than 400,000 additional people with health insurance, marked increases in the number of children with health care coverage, dramatically improved immunization rates and per capita cost of healthcare 25% below the national average. He was chosen by the nation's governors to represent the states in Congress on welfare reform, Medicaid and children's health insurance.
The application of technology is a passion for Sec. Leavitt. During his tenure as Governor of Utah, the state's website was awarded "Best of Web," offering more than 110 services online. As Secretary of Health and Human Services he is committed to unleashing the power of technology to improve the quality of care, reduce mistakes and manage costs.
In Leavitt's previous public service he has always pursued three goals: to leave things better than he found them; to plant seeds for the next generation; and to give it his all. These were his goals as leader of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Born February 11, 1951, in Cedar City, Utah, Leavitt graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and business from Southern Utah University. He served as president and chief executive officer of a regional insurance firm, establishing it as one of the top insurance brokers in America. He is married to Jacalyn S. Leavitt; they are the parents of five children.
Governor Leavitt's Biography
Michael O. Leavitt, Utah's 14th and the nation's longest-serving governor, has led the state through more than a decade of unparalleled prosperity. The hallmarks of his service are visionary leadership and sound management that have positioned Utah to prosper in the 21st Century.
Six times during his administration, independent public policy analysts have ranked Utah among the best-managed states in the nation, including the most recent ranking in a June 2003 front-page analysis by USA Today. During Gov. Leavitt's service, taxes have been reduced 28 times for a cumulative tax reduction of $1.8 billion. At the same time, Utah doubled its investment in education and expanded its infrastructure, including reconstructing Interstate 15 - ahead of schedule and under budget - through the heart of Utah's metropolitan center.
During the Leavitt years, the air and water are cleaner and critical lands are better protected. Communities are safer, with Utah crime rates falling 25% during his service. Health care is more affordable, and 400,000 more Utahns now have health insurance. Utah's reputation in the world was enhanced by the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. One in every four jobs in Utah was created, as the state experienced its longest sustained economic expansion.
As a guardian of education, Leavitt has made education the highest funding priority of state government, improved choice and accountability in public schools, reduced class size, and is leading the nation's first statewide transition to competency-measured learning. In higher education, he has championed access, increased the number of engineers, computer scientists and math students, and helped found the Western Governors University, the nation's only online, competency-measured university with national and regional accreditation.
As a pioneer of collaborative environmental management, Gov. Leavitt co-authored with former Governor John Kitzhaber, D-Or, a balanced environmental philosophy known as Enlibra. Enlibra is derived from Latin roots and means "moving toward balance." The philosophy has been adopted by the National Governors Association and is being used by federal, state, local and private entities to accelerate environmental progress.
Born February 11, 1951, in Cedar City, Utah, Leavitt graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and business from Southern Utah University. After earning his degree, he eventually became president and chief executive officer of the Leavitt Group, a regional insurance firm, establishing it as one of the top insurance brokers in America. He is married to First Lady Jacalyn S. Leavitt; they are the parents of five children.
He is the former chair of the National Governors Association, Western Governors Association, Republican Governors Association and Council of State Governments. Before being elected governor of Utah in 1992, he served as an outside director of two large public corporations and was a member of the Utah State Board of Regents, overseeing the state's nine colleges and universities.
Leavitt embodies the hopes, dreams, and beliefs of Utah, a youthful, energetic state with great promise. Asked once by a reporter how he would like people to remember him and the Leavitt years, he replied: "I'd like them to say that I fulfilled our obligation to future generations, that there was never a question that I was looking after Utah's best interest, and that I left the state better than I found it."