The first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, a position created in October 2001 after the September 11, 2001, terrorist events. Prior to this appointment, Ridge was Governor of Pennsylvania from 1995–2001, was a member of the House of Representatives from 1983–1995, and is a Vietnam combat veteran. Tom Ridge resigned from his post as Secretary of Homeland Security on November 30, 2004 and stayed on the job until February 2005.
Ridge, the seventh cabinet member to announce his departure since George W. Bush was reelected U.S. President in October 2004, may be remembered for the heavily ridiculed color-coded terrorist warning system that he introduced, as well as for his comment that duct tape might be helpful in the event of a poison-gas attack. After he left his post, Ridge became a speaker worldwide on the importance of Homeland Security for all nations. For example, in a speech to a Toronto Bay Street audience on May 11, 2005, Ridge rejected recent U.S. complaints that Canada’s security and immigration systems are lax and therefore responsible for helping terrorists invade U.S. borders. He added, however, that Canada and the European Union should develop a unified approach to identifying suspected terrorists, suggesting that biometric scanning is a likely solution.
On December 2, 2004, President Bush announced that Bernard Kerik, who directed New York City’s emergency response to the September 11 attacks in his capacity as New York City’s police commissioner, was chosen to assume the leadership role of the Department of Homeland Security. Kerik soon withdrew his nomination, however, and was replaced by federal Judge Michael Chertoff.
CP. Canada’s Doing Its Part on Security, Ridge Says. The Globe and Mail, May 12, 2005, p. A14; GNU_FDL. Tom Ridge. [Online, 2004.] GNU Free Distribution License Website. http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Tom_Ridge; Koring, P. Ridge Quits U.S. Post. The Globe and Mail, December 1, 2005, p. A17; Riechmann, D. Bush Picks Ex-Police Officer as Homeland Security Chief. The Globe and Mail, December 3, 2004, p. A20.