Home News Former PA gov, first DHS Secretary Tom Ridge suffers stroke

Former PA gov, first DHS Secretary Tom Ridge suffers stroke


Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who became the first-ever Secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush, suffered a stroke Wednesday morning at his Bethesda, Md., home.

Ridge, 75, was transported to a local hospital where he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot, according to a family statement posted on Twitter. The statement described him as being in critical but stable condition.

A Vietnam War veteran and former prosecutor, Ridge spent 12 years in the House of Representatives before being elected governor of the Keystone State in 1994. He was reelected by a wide margin in 1998, but cut his second term short to join the Bush administration as the first Homeland Security Adviser nine days after the 9/11 terror attacks.

“I’m saddened that this job is even necessary,” Ridge said at the time. “But it is … I will give it everything I have.”

Ridge formally became secretary of Homeland Security in January 2003, when the former Office of Homeland Security became a Cabinet-level department.

At DHS, Ridge headed a sprawling department composed of 22 agencies and some 180,000 employees. His efforts there included establishing a system of color-coded terror alerts, and his advocacy for “disaster kits” in 2003 triggered a run on duct tape and plastic sheeting.

Ridge left government service in 2005. More recently, he has led Ridge Global, a firm that consults on cyber security, international security and risk management.

In 2017, Ridge suffered a heart attack while attending a Republican Governors Association conference in Austin, Texas. His spokesman reported at the time that Ridge underwent a cardiac catheterization.

With Post wires

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