Jane Swift

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Jane Swift
Jane Swift 2001.jpeg
Swift in 2001
Acting Governor of Massachusetts
In office
April 10, 2001 – January 2, 2003
Preceded by Paul Cellucci (as Governor)
Succeeded by Mitt Romney (as Governor)
69th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 7, 1999 – January 2, 2003
Governor Paul Cellucci
Preceded by Paul Cellucci
Succeeded by Kerry Healey
Secretary of Consumer Affairs of Massachusetts
In office
July 29, 1997 – February 5, 1998
Governor Paul Cellucci
Preceded by Michael Duffy
Succeeded by Daniel Grabauskas
Member of the Massachusetts Senate
from the Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin district
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by Peter Webber
Succeeded by Andrea Nuciforo
Personal details
Born Jane Maria Swift
(1965-02-24) February 24, 1965 (age 50)
North Adams, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Chuck Hunt
Alma mater Trinity College, Connecticut
Religion Roman Catholicism

Jane Maria Swift (born February 24, 1965) is an American politician, who served as the 69th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts from 1999 to 2003 and Acting Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 2001 to 2003.[1] She is the only woman to perform the duties of governor of Massachusetts, doing so from April 2001 to January 2003. At the time she became acting governor, Swift was 36 years old, making her the youngest female governor or acting governor in American history.[2] In 1990, at the age of 25, she was the youngest woman ever elected to the Massachusetts Senate. She was elected lieutenant governor in 1998. She currently[when?] resides in Shelburne, Vermont.

Early life[edit]

Part of an Irish-Italian family in North Adams, Massachusetts, Swift learned politics from her father who was active in the Berkshire County Republican Party. In 1987, she graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, with a degree in American studies. During her college years, Swift was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.[3]

Massachusetts politics[edit]

Swift served in the Massachusetts Senate from 1990 to 1996. In that seat she was active in education reform issues[4] and was instrumental in the passage of the Education Reform Act of 1993.[5] This legislation created the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System which has been instrumental in quantifying academic performance statewide.[6]

As a Senator, Swift was considered to be a "policy wonk."[citation needed] According to Governor William Weld's chief of staff, "She was among the best, if not the best of senators."[2] It was in this capacity that she developed her political themes of increased accountability, down-sizing government, reducing taxes, and reforming education and social services.[7]

In 1996, rather than seek re-election to the State Senate, Swift was a Republican candidate for United States Congress in Massachusetts's 1st congressional district. She was defeated by incumbent Democratic Congressman John Olver.

After leaving the Massachusetts State Senate, Swift served as an executive with the Massachusetts Port Authority. She was appointed by Governor Weld as Massachusetts' consumer affairs secretary in 1997, serving until her swearing-in as Lieutenant Governor in 1999.

While serving as Lieutenant Governor, Swift used her staffers to serve as unpaid childcare for her infant daughter Elizabeth, and also to help her family move house.[8]

Acting Governor[edit]

Swift was elected lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1998. She became acting governor in 2001, when incumbent Governor Paul Cellucci resigned when then President George W. Bush appointed him the United States Ambassador to Canada on April 10, 2001.

Swift became the first sitting governor in United States history to give birth when her twin daughters were born one month into her term of office. She continued to exercise executive authority during her maternity leave, including chairing a meeting of the Massachusetts Governor's Council by teleconference from her hospital bed.[2]

In 2000, Swift paid a $1,250 fine after admitting using a state helicopter as personal transport to her home in the western part of Massachusetts.[8]

In 2001, controversy emerged when it was revealed that Swift and husband Chuck Hunt marriage license stated that Hunt had been married only once before. In fact, it was Hunt's fourth marriage. The marriage license had been signed under penalty of perjury by both Swift and Hunt. Swift responded by saying that "Chuck had a desire to keep his private life private," while admitting that the decision to put false information on the license had been "misguided". Although the misdemeanor perjury offense was by that time no longer prosecutable under its statute of limitations, Swift and Hunt both agreed to pay the $100 maximum fine for the offense and to amend the marriage license retroactively.[8][9] It also emerged that Hunt had married his second wife before the divorce from his first wife had become final.[8] This information came to light after Swift's stepson Brian Hunt contacted the Boston Globe to complain about her record on gay and lesbian issues. Swift subsequently announced that she would extend some benefits to same-sex partners of state employees.[8]

Swift's tenure as acting governor was largely dominated by responding to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and managing the fiscal crisis that followed in Massachusetts. Swift insisted that polls remain open for a special congressional election scheduled for that day, and led a comprehensive, statewide response to prevent terrorism. In addition, Swift led 45 governors in urging Congress to create the Department of Homeland Security. The Boston Herald summarized her response to the crisis as, "Acting Gov. Jane Swift has had her finest hour during this crisis...she has been steady, stable, calming, decisive."[10]

Faced with a widening budget deficit as a result of the state response to the terrorist attacks, Swift cut nearly $300 million in programs and vetoed nearly $600 million in proposed spending.[11] She received high praise from the Massachusetts High Tech Council for her response to the budget crisis without resorting to massive tax increases.[12]

Swift drew widespread criticism in February 2002 for her refusal to commute the thirty-to-forty-year sentence of Gerald Amirault, who was convicted in the notorious 1986 Fells Acre Day School child sex abuse case and who had already served sixteen years in prison. Her decision, which went against the unanimous recommendation of the state parole board, came at the urging of Martha Coakley, then Middlesex district attorney and subsequently State Attorney General. Both Coakley's and Swift's motives in denying Amirault clemency have been impugned as politically inspired.[13]

Cabinet and administration[edit]

The Swift Cabinet
Governor Jane M. Swift 2001 – 2003
Lieutenant Governor Jane M. Swift 2001 – 2003
Secretary of Transportation James Scanlan 2001 – 2003
Director of Housing & Community Development Jane Wallis Gumble 2001 – 2003
Secretary of Environmental Affairs Robert Durand 2001 – 2003
Director of Consumer Affairs Jennifer Davis Carey 2001 – 2003
Secretary of Health and Human Services Robert Gittens
Ronald Preston
2001 – 2002
2002 – 2003
Secretary of Elder Affairs Lillian Glickman 2001 – 2003
Director of Labor & Workforce Development Angelo R. Buonopane 2001 – 2003
Secretary of Administration & Finance Stephen Crosby
Kevin J. Sullivan
2001 – 2002
2002 – 2003
Secretary of Public Safety Jane Perlov
James P. Jajuga
2001 – 2001
2001 – 2003

2002 election[edit]

In October 2001, Swift announced that she would run for her own term as governor in the 2002 election.[14] In January 2002 she named Patrick Guerriero, her deputy chief of staff, as her running mate.[15] Guerriero became the nation's first openly gay candidate for lieutenant governor.[16]

However, Swift was unpopular, due to political missteps and personal and ethical controversies.[14][17][18] Many Republicans viewed her as unable to win a general election against a Democrat and campaigned to persuade businessman Mitt Romney to run for governor.[19][20] On March 17, a Boston Herald poll showed Romney defeating Swift in a Republican primary by a 75 percent to 12 percent margin.[18][21] On March 19, 2002, Swift tearfully declared that she had decided not to seek her party's nomination, citing family reasons and also saying "I believe that this is in the best interest of our state, as it will allow the Republican Party's best chances of holding the governor's office in November."[21] Three hours later, Romney announced his candidacy.[14]

Romney went on to defeat Democrat Shannon O'Brien in the general election.

Post-acting gubernatorial career[edit]

After leaving office, Swift returned to Western Massachusetts. She and her husband owned and operated Cobble Hill Farm [22] and riding school in Williamstown, Massachusetts where they lived with their three daughters before relocating to Vermont in 2011.[23] She is active in marathon and running-related charity fundraising,[24][25] and she continues to be considered a “power player” within the Republican Party.[26] Her official portrait was unveiled in the Massachusetts State House in 2005.[27]

Swift became CEO of Middlebury Interactive Languages in August 2011.[28] She often speaks on the role of women in public service and is a lecturer in Leadership Studies at Williams College.[29] Additionally she is a contributor to Working Mother Magazine,[30] and active on several boards.

2008 presidential election[edit]

Swift endorsed Senator John McCain for president in February 2007, and campaigned on behalf of McCain throughout 2008.[31] Swift appeared on news and political commentary shows, providing point/counterpoint discussion on the campaign.[32] Swift was particularly outspoken about criticism of vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, which Swift regarded as unfair and sexist.[31][32]

Electoral history[edit]


  1. ^ The Massachusetts Constitution has used the term "acting governor" since it was written in 1779. All modern constitutions have rejected such archaic language. The Massachusetts courts have found, without rejecting the term, that the full authority of the office of the governor devolves upon the lieutenant governor upon vacancy in the office of governor, i.e., there is no circumstance short of death, resignation, or impeachment that would relieve the ‘acting governor’ from the full responsibilities of being the governor. In official and daily parlance, the acting governor is alternately referred to as ‘Governor,’ ‘Lieutenant Governor, Acting Governor’; and ceremonially as ‘Her Excellency.’
  2. ^ a b c "Swift’s Unusual Ride to the Governor’s Office". Boston Globe. April 8, 2001. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  3. ^ "Jane Swift Biography". Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  4. ^ "Sally Ride Science board of directors". Archived from the original on 2 July 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  5. ^ "Ed Reform Timeline". Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  6. ^ "The lessons of MCAS, By Scot Lehigh , Boston Globe, September 4, 2009". The Boston Globe. 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  7. ^ "Jane Swift: Former Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Mehren, Elizabeth (2001-08-20). "Harsh spotlight on governor:Personal becomes political in Massachusetts". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  9. ^ Taranto, James (2001-08-17). "Best of the Web". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  10. ^ "These are times that try an optimist, September 13, 2001". Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  11. ^ "Boston Magazine, January 2003". Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  12. ^ "High Tech Council Support Swift's Balancing of Budget" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  13. ^ "Gerald Amirault's Freedom". The Wall Street Journal. 2004-04-30. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. 
  14. ^ a b c Barone, Michael; Cohen, Richard E. (2004). The Almanac of American Politics 2004 (paperback). Washington: National Journal Group. pp. 772–773. ISBN 0-89234-106-8. 
  15. ^ Anderson, Lisa (February 12, 2002). "Massachusetts savors prospect of hot primary". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  16. ^ Wu, Janet (January 2002). "Swift Names Guerriero As Running Mate". WCVB Boston. 
  17. ^ Associated Press. "Massachusetts's first female governor takes office, under heavy statewide scrutiny" The Daily Texan, April 11, 2001. Retrieved October 29, 2006.
  18. ^ a b Mooney, Brian (June 29, 2007). "The Making of Mitt Romney: Part 6: Taking office, remaining an outsider". The Boston Globe. 
  19. ^ Frank, Mitch."Jane Swift Takes One For the Team:The Massachusetts GOP took a risk by choosing Mitt Romney over the more progressive Swift. Will their decision come back to haunt them?" Time Magazine, March 21, 2002. Retrieved October 29, 2006.
  20. ^ Berwick Jr., Bob and Roch, Lisa Riley. "Boston GOP beseeching Mitt: But hero of S.L. Games is coy about his future" Deseret News, February 22, 2002. Retrieved November 1, 2006.
  21. ^ a b "Swift exits, Romney joins Mass. governor's race" , CNN, March 19, 2002. Retrieved October 30, 2006.
  22. ^ CobbleHillFarm.com
  23. ^ "New Faculty 2008-2009". Archived from the original on 6 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  24. ^ "Boston Real Runners". Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  25. ^ Back in the Running[dead link]
  26. ^ "Boston Herald.com, September 5, 2008". Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  27. ^ Weiss, Joanna (2005-10-25). "Boston Globe: Capturing the legacy of a governor". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  28. ^ middleburyinteractive.com
  29. ^ / "Williams College, p. 190" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  30. ^ "Working Mother Media and Corporate Voices for Working Families Honor Congressional Members Making a Difference for Working Families". Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  31. ^ a b O'Keefe, Ed (2008-09-12). "The Return of Jane Swift". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  32. ^ a b http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Chuck_Todd_Obama_lipstick_gaffe_faux_0910.html

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Cellucci
Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Kerry Healey
Preceded by
Paul Cellucci
Governor of Massachusetts

Succeeded by
Mitt Romney