|68th Governor of Massachusetts|
January 3, 1991 – July 29, 1997
|Preceded by||Michael Dukakis|
|Succeeded by||Paul Cellucci|
|Born||William Floyd Weld
July 31, 1945
Smithtown, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Susan Roosevelt (1975–2002)
|Alma mater||Harvard University
University College, Oxford
- 1 Background
- 2 Political career
- 3 Later career
- 4 Candidacy for Governor of New York
- 5 Presidential endorsements
- 6 Personal life
- 7 Books authored
- 8 Electoral history
- 9 References
- 10 External links
William Weld's ancestor Edmund Weld was among the earliest students (Class of 1650) at Harvard College. He would be followed by eighteen more Welds at Harvard, where two buildings are named for the family. General Stephen Minot Weld Jr. fought with distinction in many major battles of the Civil War.
William Weld has a sense of humor about his background; when Massachusetts Senate president Billy Bulger publicly teased him about his all-American heritage and wealth, pointing out that his ancestors had come over on the Mayflower, Weld rose on the dais with a correction: "Actually, they weren't on the Mayflower. They sent the servants over first to get the cottage ready."
Weld's father David (1911–1972) was an investment banker; his mother, Mary Nichols Weld (1913–1986), was a descendant of William Floyd, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His siblings are Dr. Francis "Tim" Weld, David Weld (d. 2005) and Anne (m. Collins).
Weld was educated at Middlesex School. He graduated with an A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1966, studied economics at University College, Oxford and graduated with a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1970.
Following his appointment as United States Attorney for Massachusetts in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan, Weld expanded an ongoing public corruption investigation of the administration of Boston Mayor Kevin White. More than 20 city employees were indicted, pleaded guilty, or were convicted of a range of charges, including several key political supporters of the Mayor. He served for five years as United States Attorney.
U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts
In 1981, William Weld was recommended to President Reagan by Rudolph W. Giuliani, then Associate U.S. Attorney General, for appointment as the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. During Weld’s tenure, the Attorney General’s office prosecuted some of New England’s largest banks in cases involving money laundering and other white-collar crimes. In 1985, the Boston Globe said Weld “has been by far the most visible figure in the prosecution of financial institutions.”
Weld gained national recognition in fighting public corruption: he won 109 convictions out of 111 cases.
In 1983, the Boston Globe stated: "The U.S. Attorney's office has not lost a single political corruption case since Weld took over, an achievement believed to be unparalleled in the various federal jurisdictions."
Promotion to Justice Department
In 1986, President Reagan promoted Weld to head of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department in Washington, where Weld oversaw 700 employees. Weld was responsible for supervising all federal prosecutions, including those investigated by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as the work of the 93 U.S. Attorneys (who by then included Rudy Giuliani in Manhattan). During this time, Weld worked on some of the Reagan administration’s most significant prosecutions and investigations, including the capture of Panama’s Manuel Noriega on drug trafficking charges.
In March 1988, Weld resigned from the Justice Department, together with United States Deputy Attorney General Arnold Burns and four aides, in protest of improper conduct by U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese. In July 1988, Weld and Burns jointly testified before Congress in favor a potential prosecution of Meese for his personal financial conduct, following a report by a special prosecutor investigating Meese. Meese resigned from office in July 1988 shortly after Weld's and Burns' testimony.
Governor of Massachusetts
In 1990, Weld announced his candidacy for Governor of Massachusetts, to replace the out-going Michael Dukakis. Although Republicans made up under 14% of the Massachusetts electorate and a Republican had not won the gubernatorial election since 1970, Weld's moderate stances on social issues made him a viable candidate for office in the heavily Democratic state. At the state Republican convention, party officials backed Steven Pierce over Weld, and initial polling had Pierce ahead by 25 percentage points. Weld gained enough support to force a primary, and in an upset election, Weld won the Republican nomination over Pierce by a 60-40 margin.
In the general election, he faced John Silber, the president of Boston University. Polls showed Weld anywhere from a statistical tie to trailing by as many as ten points. Voter dissatisfaction with the state's Democratic majority gave Weld support for his promises to reduce the state deficit, lower the unemployment rate and cut taxes. On November 6, 1990, he was elected as the 68th Governor of Massachusetts by a 50-47 margin, to become the first Republican governor of Massachusetts since Francis W. Sargent left office in 1975.
During his governorship, Weld ended the state's borrowing, controlled Medicaid spending, reduced property taxes and balanced seven budgets in a row (in a state where a balanced budget is constitutionally mandated but haphazardly enforced) while passing 19 tax cuts and never raising taxes. The business community reacted strongly to Weld's leadership. In a 1994 survey of chief executives conducted by the Massachusetts High Technology Council, 83% of those polled rated the state's business climate as good or excellent—up from only 33% at the beginning of his term. Proponents might claim that Weld's leadership changed the minds of 50% of the CEOs surveyed while others would note the national economic trends or other factors might play a part. Weld also reaped the benefits of the 1990s prosperity, as the state's unemployment rate fell by more than 3 percentage points during his first term, from 9.6% in 1991 to 6.4% in 1994.
In 1994, Weld won reelection with an impressive 71% of the vote in the most one-sided gubernatorial contest in Massachusetts electoral history. Weld carried all but five towns in the whole state, even carrying Boston.
Cabinet and administration
|The Weld Cabinet|
|Governor||William Weld||1991 – 1997|
|Lt. Governor||Paul Cellucci||1991 – 1997|
|Secretary of Transportation and Construction||Richard L. Taylor
|1991 – 1992
1992 – 1997
|Secretary of Housing & Community Development||Steven Pierce
Mary L. Padula
|1991 – 1991
1991 – 1996
|Secretary of Environmental Affairs||Susan Tierney
|1991 – 1993
1993 – 1997
|Secretary of Consumer Affairs||Gloria Cordes Larson
|1991 – 1993
1993 – 1996
1996 – 1997
|Secretary of Health and Human Services||David P. Forsberg
Charles D. Baker, Jr.
Joseph V. Gallant
William D. O'Leary
|1991 – 1992
1992 – 1994
1995 – 1996
1996 – 1997
1997 – 1997
|Secretary of Elder Affairs||Franklin P. Ollivierre||1991 – 1997|
|Secretary of Labor||Christine Morris||1991 – 1996|
|Secretary of Administration & Finance||Peter Nessen
Mark E. Robinson
Charles D. Baker, Jr.
|1991 – 1993
1993 – 1994
1994 – 1997
|Secretary of Public Safety||James B. Roche
Thomas C. Rapone
|1991 – 1992
1992 – 1994
1994 – 1997
|Director of Economic Affairs||Stephen Tocco
Gloria Cordes Larson
|1991 – 1993
1993 – 1996
|Secretary of Education||Piedad Robertson
|1991 – 1995
1995 – 1996
1996 Senate Election
On November 30, 1995, Weld announced that he would challenge incumbent Democratic Senator John Kerry in the 1996 election. Weld, who was among the first reasonably well-funded Republican Senate candidates in Massachusetts since Edward Brooke was unseated in 1978, said of the race, "I've spent some time recently considering where I can do the most good for the people of Massachusetts, and right now the fights that matter most to the people of this state are in another arena, Congress."
The race was covered nationwide as one of the most closely watched Senate races that year. Kerry and Weld held several debates and negotiated a campaign spending cap of $6.9 million at Kerry's Beacon Hill mansion. In the end, Senator Kerry won re-election with 53 percent to Weld's 45 percent—the last seriously contested Senate race in Massachusetts until the special election for Ted Kennedy's seat in 2010.
Weld resigned the governorship after being nominated United States Ambassador to Mexico by President Bill Clinton. He was never confirmed by the United States Senate, however and hence never served as Ambassador. This was due mainly to opposition from Senate Foreign Relations committee chairman Jesse Helms, who refused to hold a hearing on the nomination, effectively blocking it. Though both were Republicans and though that party held the majority in the chamber, Helms objected to Weld's moderate stance on several social issues. This refusal to hold hearings was also rumored to be at the request of former attorney general and friend of Helms, Ed Meese. Meese had a long standing grudge against Weld stemming from Weld's investigation of Meese during the Iran-Contra affair.
Weld ran the Manhattan office of Chicago based international law firm McDermott Will & Emery. He has also worked for the New York Private Equity firm Leeds, Weld & Co. until his exit in 2005, when the company's name was changed to Leeds Equity Partners.
Weld has also flirted with the arts. He writes thriller novels for the mass market and has done a little acting.
William Weld was seen taking the New York State Bar examination at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on February 27 and 28, 2007. His name appeared on the pass list for the February 2007 New York State Bar Examination. Weld was admitted to practice law in the State of New York in 2008.
In February 2013, Weld publicly supported legal recognition for same-sex marriage in an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Candidacy for Governor of New York
Despite having served as Governor of Massachusetts, Weld has lived in New York since 2000. On April 24, 2005, it was reported that he was in talks with the New York Republicans to run for Governor of New York in 2006, against likely Democratic nominee Eliot Spitzer. Incumbent GOP Governor George Pataki announced on July 27 that he would not seek a fourth term. On August 19, 2005, Weld officially announced his candidacy for Governor of New York, seeking to become the second person after Sam Houston to serve as Governor of two different U.S. states. His main opponent in the GOP race was former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso. Early in the campaign, former New York Secretary of State Randy Daniels and Assemblyman Patrick Manning also waged campaigns for the governorship.
In December 2005, Weld received the backing of the Republican county chairs of New York State during a county chairs meeting. Several chairs of large counties abstained from voting or did not attend the meeting, which led to talk that Weld was not as popular as thought. During his early campaign, Weld was publicly endorsed by Republican State Chairman Stephen J. Minarik and was rumored to be backed by Pataki. Despite reports of a possible public endorsement by Pataki, no endorsement was made.
On May 31, 2006, Weld started the Republican State Convention by announcing his choice of New York Secretary of State Christopher Jacobs of Buffalo as his running mate for lieutenant governor. In the following days, Weld received some criticism for his choice of Secretary Jacobs, because Jacobs had donated $250 to the gubernatorial campaign of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in 2004. Weld said he chose Jacobs, a member of the Buffalo Board of Education, because of Jacobs' work on education reform and upstate economic development issues. Secretary Jacobs has been an advocate of charter schools and for the revitalization of the upstate economy. Weld also said he chose Secretary Jacobs because he was an "Albany outsider" and could bring this perspective to state government. When he was selected by Weld, Jacobs had only served for six weeks as secretary of state in Pataki's Cabinet.
On June 1, 2006, the Republican State Convention voted 61% to 39% to endorse Faso. On June 5, Stephen J. Minarik, the chairman of the state Republican Party, who had been Weld's most prominent backer, called on Weld to withdraw in the interest of party unity. Weld formally announced his withdrawal from the race the following day and returned to private life.
Spitzer would go on to defeat Faso by the largest margin in New York gubernatorial history, winning 70–28.
2008 presidential election
Weld publicly endorsed Mitt Romney for the presidency on January 8, 2007. Weld served as the co-chairman for Romney's campaign in New York State. On the same day that Weld endorsed Romney, Gov. and Mrs. Weld also raised $50,000 for Romney's exploratory committee. Weld personally made a donation of $2,100, the maximum allowed per person per election at the time. He later donated another $200 (the new maximum allowed was $2,300).
Weld was also active in campaigning for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in New Hampshire where both Governors have been known to travel together. Weld went on to endorse Barack Obama over John McCain for the presidency of the United States.
2012 presidential election
Weld's first wife, Susan Roosevelt Weld, formerly a professor at Harvard University specializing in ancient Chinese civilization and law and then General Counsel to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, is a great granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt. They married on June 7, 1975, and had five children (David, Ethel, Mary, Quentin and Frances). They divorced in 2002. His second and present wife, the writer and novelist Leslie Marshall, is a former daughter-in-law of Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post.
Weld was a principal at Leeds, Weld & Co., which describes itself as the United States's largest private equity fund focused on investing in the education and training industry. Weld co-chaired the Independent Task Force on North America under the Council on Foreign Relations, which studied the integration of the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Weld has written three novels for the mass market:
- Yardley, William (2013-10-01). "Arnold Burns, Who Left Justice Dept. in Protest, Dies at 83". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
- Butterfield, Fox (September 18, 1990). "Politics in Massachusetts: More Division Than Vision". New York Times.
- Butterfield, Fox (January 24, 1990). "Fiscal Crisis Could Open Door to the G.O.P. in Massachusetts". New York Times.
- Butterfield, Fox (September 19, 1990). "Silber Wins Democratic Contest in Massachusetts". New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- Butterfield, Fox (September 20, 1990). "THE 1990 CAMPAIGN; STUNNING PRIMARY IN MASSACHUSETTS". New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- Butterfield, Fox (November 1, 1990). "THE 1990 CAMPAIGN; Politics of Rage Dominate Contest in Massachusetts". New York Times.
- Butterfield, Fox (November 30, 1995). "Governor Weld of Massachusetts Is to Challenge Senator Kerry in '96Contest". New York Times.
- Avlon, John. "The Pro-Freedom Republicans Are Coming: 131 Sign Gay-Marriage Brief". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- Hammer of Truth
- Healy, Patrick (June 5, 2006). "G.O.P. Chief in N.Y. Urges Weld to Quit Governor's Race". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- "Spitzer elected New York governor". USA Today. AP. November 8, 2006.
- Mooney, Brian (January 9, 2007). "Weld backs Romney for Oval Office". Boston Globe.
- Rhee, Foon (October 24, 2008). "Weld backs Obama". The Boston Globe.
- USA Today interview July, 2000
- Clinton Impeachment testimony
- NACDL Notes on the Kevin White investigation
- Official Commonwealth of Massachusetts Governor Biography
|U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
|Party political offices|
|Republican nominee for Governor of Massachusetts
|Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
|Governor of Massachusetts