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Michael Okerlund Leavitt (born February 11, 1951 in Cedar City, Utah) is an American politician, and is currently the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Additional recommended knowledge
A US Republican, Leavitt was the 14th governor of the state of Utah. He was first elected in 1992, then he was re-elected in 1996 (with the largest vote total in state history) and in 2000 became only the second governor in Utah history to be re-elected to a third term. As Governor, he held leadership positions in national and regional organizations, such as the Council of State Governments, over which he presided for a year.
While governor, Leavitt and Roy Romer of Colorado were the two key founders of Western Governors University (WGU) one of the first exclusively online schools in the nation. In addition to Leavitt and Romer, seventeen others were signatory governors creating WGU as a non-profit private university.
On August 11, 2003, Governor Leavitt was nominated by President George W. Bush to be the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency at a press conference in Aurora, Colorado. He was confirmed to this office on October 28, 2003 by a vote of 88-8 in the United States Senate. Leavitt resigned the Utah governor's office on November 5. He was sworn in as the 10th Administrator of the EPA the following day. On December 13, 2004, Leavitt was nominated by Bush to succeed Tommy Thompson as Secretary of Health and Human Services and was confirmed by the Senate by voice vote on January 26, 2005.
Mr. Leavitt has described the avian influenza virus as the most serious threat to American security. Mr. Leavitt's cited the work of the World Health Organization's Dr. Michael McCoy as the most probative scientific work into the threat of the avian flu.
Leavitt also serves on the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
The Michael O. Leavitt Online Digital Collection is found at: http://www.leavittcollection.org
In August 2007, Leavitt became the first cabinet-level blogger in U.S. history.
In June of 2006, Leavitt came under criticism for misappropriation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Gulfstream III Emergency Response aircraft to, primarily, promote the newly reformed Medicare plan.
Critics argue that Leavitt has irresponsibly used the aircraft since January of 2006, logging over $700,000 worth of flight time in the 14 seat private jet. Leavitt’s office maintains that the use of the aircraft was necessary and legal since the Senate Appropriations Committee approved his use of the aircraft, and commercial services could not meet the deadlines required by his engagements. During two recent emergencies that the CDC has required use of the aircraft, they were forced to privately charter a different plane since the CDC’s GIII was in use by Leavitt.
Leavitt Foundation controversies
There has been controversy over Leavitt's family charitable foundation, the Dixie and Anne Leavitt Foundation, which the Leavitt family established in 2000 and to which it has donated nearly $9 million of assets. It has provided them with tax write-offs for the donated assets. About a third of the foundation's assets have been loaned back to family businesses, such as a $332,000 loan to Leavitt Land and Investment Inc., in which Mike Leavitt has a substantial interest. (Future affiliate transactions are prohibited because of a law passed by Congress in August 2006..)
In July 2006, National Public Radio reported that nearly $500,000 in charitable contributions from the foundation went to the Southern Utah Foundation, which then gave the money to the Southern Utah University as housing scholarships. About 50 students were placed, rent-free, in apartments owned by the Cedar Development Co., which is owned by the Leavitt family, and the university then paid the donated money to the company as rent.  The students filled vacant apartments which the company had not been able to rent out.
Total charitable grants from the foundation during its first six years were $1,468,055. The foundation's principal beneficiaries have been Southern Utah University and the LDS Church. Other beneficiaries have included arts, educational and humanitarian organizations, including the Leavitt family genealogical society. (Leavitt is a descendant of an old Massachusetts Puritan family, and a direct descendant of Dudley Leavitt, a Mormon pioneer who was named for his ancestor Thomas Dudley, the second colonial governor of Massachusetts.)
Leavitt graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and business from Southern Utah University and married Jacalyn Smith. They are the parents of five children.
Leavitt is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. According to Jon Krakauer's book "Under the Banner of Heaven", Leavitt is also a direct descendant of Dudley Leavitt, a participant in the brutal Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mike_Leavitt". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|