Governor of California
The world knows Arnold Schwarzenegger as a famous bodybuilder and a Hollywood action hero, but he is also a successful businessman, generous philanthropist and California's 38th Governor.
Governor Schwarzenegger's most notable accomplishments in his first five years in office include the nation-leading Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 - a bipartisan agreement to combat global warming by reducing California's greenhouse gas emissions - and overhauling the state's workers' compensation system - cutting costs by more than 35 percent. In addition, Governor Schwarzenegger is the first governor in decades to make major investments in improving California's aging infrastructure through his Strategic Growth Plan, helping to reduce congestion and clean the air. He established the Hydrogen Highway and Million Solar Roofs Plan, continuing his leadership in creating a greener environment.
As Governor, he has been California's most effective marketing tool, traveling across the country and around the world promoting California-grown products, cutting-edge technologies and the state's diverse travel destinations. In addition, using his background as an internationally recognized athlete, Governor Schwarzenegger has made restoring health and fitness a top priority. He signed legislation making the state's school nutrition standards the most progressive in the nation and continues to promote healthy habits by taking harmful trans fats out of California restaurants and ensuring nutritional information is available to diners.
Additionally, since he took office, Governor Schwarzenegger has worked to reform California's fiscal policies, create a better business environment, reduce burdens on employment, boost exports and stimulate job growth. Through the end of 2007, California's Gross State Product had grown by 29 percent since the governor took office in 2003.
This world-famous athlete and actor was born in Austria in 1947, and at 20 became the youngest person ever to win the Mr. Universe title. He came to America shortly after, winning an unprecedented 12 more world bodybuilding titles. Challenging both his body and mind, he earned a college degree from the University of Wisconsin and became a U.S. citizen in 1983. Three years later he married broadcast journalist Maria Shriver.
Governor Schwarzenegger's most gratifying accomplishments are rooted in public service - committing his time, energy and personal finances to charitable organizations around the world. He and Maria have remained closely involved in Special Olympics, an organization founded by Maria's mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. He was named Special Olympics International Weight Training Coach in 1979 and serves as a Global Ambassador.
Recognizing his passion for helping kids, in 1990 former President George Bush appointed Governor Schwarzenegger Chair of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, in which capacity he traveled all 50 states and recognized the overwhelming need for more after-school alternatives. He also served as Chair of the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Governor Pete Wilson.
Governor Schwarzenegger has committed himself to promoting physical education and after-school programs. In 2002, his support for Proposition 49, the After-School Education & Safety Act, led it to overwhelming victory. As Governor, he has aggressively worked to increase after-school funding, making California the first state in the nation to significantly invest in a comprehensive after-school program.
His many accomplishments have earned him the praise of numerous organizations, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center's "National Leadership Award" for his support of the organization's Holocaust studies. Schwarzenegger was the only actor to be in both categories of the American Film Institutes Hundred Years of Heroes and Villains. In 2002, Schwarzenegger was given the esteemed honor of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award, presented to him by Ali, a longtime friend and sports mentor.
Governor Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver have four children - Katherine, Christina, Patrick and Christopher.