Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is an American businessman and the Republican Party's nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election. From 2003 to 2007, he served as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts.
Raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan by his parents Lenore and George W. Romney, Mitt Romney spent thirty months in France as a Mormon missionary beginning in 1966. He married Ann Davies in 1969, with whom he has had five children. By 1971, Romney had participated in the political campaigns of both his parents. In that year, he earned a Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young and in 1975, a joint Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration from Harvard. Romney then entered the management consulting industry and in 1977 he secured a position at Bain & Company. Later serving as its chief executive officer, he helped lead the company out of financial crisis. In 1984, he cofounded and led the spin-off company Bain Capital, a highly profitable private equity investment firm that became one of the largest of its kind in the nation. His considerable net worth, estimated in 2012 at $190–250 million, helped finance his prior political campaigns.
Active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Romney served during his business career as the bishop of his ward (head of his local congregation) and then stake president in his home area near Boston. After stepping down from Bain Capital and his local leadership role in the church, he ran as the Republican candidate in the 1994 Massachusetts election for U.S. Senate. Losing to longtime incumbent Ted Kennedy, he resumed his position at Bain Capital. Hired as the President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics, Romney succeeded in that role, and the resulting visibility enabled him to relaunch his political career.
Romney won the 2002 gubernatorial election in Massachusetts, and as governor helped develop and enact into law the Massachusetts health care reform legislation, the first of its kind in the nation, which provided near-universal health insurance access through state-level subsidies and individual mandates to purchase insurance. He also presided over the elimination of a projected $1.2–1.5 billion deficit through a combination of spending cuts, increased fees, and the closure of corporate tax loopholes. Romney did not seek re-election in 2006, instead focusing on his campaign for the Republican nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. He won several primaries and caucuses but lost the nomination to John McCain. In 2011, he began campaigning for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, eventually winning enough caucuses and primaries to be nominated with his chosen running mate, Representative Paul Ryan. Romney faces incumbent President Barack Obama in the November 2012 general election.