LAWRENCE — Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota governor and former Republican presidential candidate, will speak at the University of Kansas next week. Pawlenty will be featured in a Dole Forum event at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Dole Institute of Politics. It is free and open to the public.
“Gov. Pawlenty governed a centrist state thoughtfully and successfully as a GOP conservative,” said Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute. “During his program here at the Dole Institute, I know he will provide a lot of insight into how the GOP nominee for president will run and govern if elected.”
Pawlenty served as the 39th governor of Minnesota from 2003 to 2011. He was a Republican presidential candidate in the 2012 election from May to August 2011. He previously served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003, where he served two terms as majority leader.
After winning a narrow Republican primary in 2002, Pawlenty won a three-way election for governor of Minnesota and was re-elected in 2006. His campaign platform focused on balancing the budget without raising taxes. During Pawlenty's governorship, he eliminated his state's budget deficit using spending cuts and borrowing heavily from earmarked funds. Pawlenty did not raise income taxes during his governorship but did enact targeted increases in sales tax and user fees.
His administration advocated for numerous public works projects, including work on the Northstar Commuter Rail Line and the construction of Target Field, a Major League Baseball stadium in Minneapolis. He signed a bill mandating 20 percent ethanol in gasoline by 2013. He cut health care spending to help balance the budget and signed an executive order rejecting federal funds related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In the 2007-2008 term, he served as chairman of the National Governors Association.
Pawlenty was born in Saint Paul, Minn., and raised in nearby South St. Paul. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s in political science and earned a doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School. His early career included working as a labor law attorney and as the vice president of a software company. After settling in the city of Eagan with his wife, Pawlenty was appointed to the city's Planning Commission and was elected to the Eagan City Council at age 28. He won a seat as a state representative in 1992. He was re-elected four times and voted majority leader by House Republicans in 1998. He and his wife, a former district court judge, have two daughters.