ROBERT L. EHRLICH, JR. was born in 1957 in Baltimore, and raised in Arbutus, Maryland. He received degrees from Princeton University (1979) and Wake Forest University Law School (1982). A lifelong Maryland resident, he served as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1987 to 1995 and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. On November 5, 2002, Ehrlich was elected governor, the first Republican to hold the office in 36 years. During his campaign for governor, he promised an administration that would promote fiscal responsibility, education, reduction of gridlock, and enhancement of public safety. Through successful bipartisan efforts and leadership, Ehrlich began the task of uniting the legislature and appointed a qualified, diverse team to tackle the budget crisis and other issues facing Maryland. He insisted that government be accountable for its past over-spending by proposing an $851-million reduction in spending. With just one legislative session under his belt, Ehrlich began tackling the education priorities he outlined during his campaign. As promised, the governor fully funded the Thornton Commission recommendations to ensure that students in failing schools get a quality education. He also won passage of a landmark charter school initiative, providing parents the opportunity to move their children into an innovative learning environment where they can realize their full potential. Ehrlich’s Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative ensured that quality teachers staff Maryland’s juvenile justice facilities, putting at-risk kids back on the path to success. He went to bat for Marylanders stuck in gridlock all over the state to allow people to spend more time with their families and less time in frustrating traffic. He successfully lobbied the Bush Administration to fast track planning for Montgomery County’s proposed Inter-County Connector and recommended federal funding for other highway and transit projects statewide. Ehrlich brokered an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to begin prosecuting certain gun crimes at the federal level in an effort to sentence violent criminals to longer prison terms. He convened the first cabinet-level Summit on Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security in Maryland and worked with then-U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and the governments of Virginia and the District of Columbia to implement a National Capital Region Homeland Security Plan.