Timothy James "Tim" Pawlenty ( /pəˈlɛnti/; born November 27, 1960) is president and CEO of Financial Services Roundtable, a Washington, D.C.-based industry advocacy group. He was a Republican politician who served as the 39th Governor of Minnesota (2003–2011). He previously served in the Minnesota House of Representatives (1993–2003), where he was majority leader for two terms. In 2011 he entered the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination and later was a potential vice presidential nominee before serving as co-chair of Mitt Romney's campaign.
Pawlenty was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and raised in nearby South St. Paul. He graduated from University of Minnesota with a B.A. in political science and a J.D. His early career included working as a labor law attorney and the vice president of a software as a service 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 the age of 28. He won a seat as a state representative in 1992, representing District 38B in suburban Dakota County. He was re-elected four times and was voted majority leader by House Republicans in 1998.
After winning a narrow Republican primary in 2002, Pawlenty won a three-way election for Governor of Minnesota, and was re-elected in 2006 by a margin of less than one percent. His campaign platform focused on balancing the budget without raising taxes. During Pawlenty's governorship he did not raise income taxes, 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% ethanol in gasoline by 2013. He cut health care costs in an attempt to balance the budget, and borrowed funds from the state's K-12 education and low income programs. He signed an executive order rejecting federal funds related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He also led worldwide trips for business leaders and trade delegations to explore trade opportunities. In the 2007–2008 term, he served as chairman of the National Governors Association.
Pawlenty was rumored to be a contender for both the Republican president and vice president nominations during the 2008 election, and he officially sought the 2012 Republican presidential nomination from May to August 2011. After withdrawing from that race, he became a finalist to join his party's nominee on the 2012 ticket as its vice presidential candidate. Pawlenty was not selected as Mitt Romney's vice presidential candidate, but served as co-chair of Romney's campaign. In September 2012 he left Romney's campaign to become a Washington lobbyist for financial institutions.