GARY E. JOHNSON was born in Minot, North Dakota. He received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of New Mexico in 1975. In 1974 he began seeking construction and remodeling jobs, which, in 1976, led him to found a successful construction company. He was the first governor in the history of New Mexico to serve two consecutive four-year terms. In his first term, Governor Johnson cut taxes and reduced the number of state employees by 6 percent. He signed a $1.2 billion highway improvement package to upgrade 500 miles of state roads. He held growth of state government to around 4 percent. Under the governor's leadership, two new privatized prisons were built. Governor Johnson's top priority was to improve education. Nearly a half billion more dollars were invested in education each year, and he initiated education reform through his For the Children's Sake plan. He is a nationally ranked triathlete and the first governor to compete in Hawaii's Ironman Triathlon.