Biography of Michael O. Leavitt
Michael O. Leavitt was sworn in as the 10th Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency on November 6, 2003. Prior to leading the agency, Leavitt served as Utah's 14th governor and was a national leader on homeland security, welfare reform and environmental management. Six times during his administration, independent public policy analysts ranked Utah among the best-managed states in the nation. He now brings his proven management record to the EPA.
As a pioneer of collaborative environmental management, Leavitt helped clean up the air over the Grand Canyon. He served as vice-chair of the Grand Canyon Visibility Transport Commission and co-chair of the Western Regional Air Partnership. These efforts resulted in 70 recommendations to improve visibility on the Colorado Plateau and a regulatory commitment and strategies to dramatically reduce sulfur dioxide levels in 13 states.
Leavitt also led his state during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the most environmentally-sensitive games ever. Organizers achieved net zero air emissions, zero waste and full compliance with all safety and environmental regulations. One-hundred-thousand trees were planted as a lasting legacy of the environmental accomplishments.
As a thoughtful leader on environmental management, Leavitt co-authored, with former Governor John Kitzhaber, D-Or, a balanced environmental philosophy known as Enlibra. Enlibra, derived from Latin roots, means "moving toward balance" and emphasizes collaboration over confrontation.
Leavitt is a nationally recognized leader in the areas of health care and welfare reform. During his three terms as Utah governor, he was chosen by the nation's governors to represent states in working with Congress on welfare reform, Medicaid and children's' health insurance. The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) helped reduce the uninsured rates for children in Utah to its lowest point ever. His administration worked to increase the number of Utahns with health insurance by 400,000, improve immunization rates by nearly 75%, increase collection of child support and dramatically improve the child welfare system.
In Leavitt's previous public service he has always pursued three goals: to leave things better than he found them; to plant seeds for the next generation; and to give it all he has. These are his goals as leader of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Born February 11, 1951, in Cedar City, Utah, Leavitt graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and business from Southern Utah University. After earning his degree, he eventually became president and chief executive officer of a regional insurance firm, establishing it as one of the top insurance brokers in America. He is married to Jacalyn S. Leavitt; they are the parents of five children.