Will America like Mike?
Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York and founder, is contemplating jumping into this year’s presidential race as an Independent.
Bloomberg’s interest in a possible White House bid has apparently been fueled by Donald Trump’s continued dominance of the Republican field and the rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders among Democrats. He is reportedly willing to spend at least $1 billion of his own money on a campaign if he joins the race.
The 73-year-old is known best outside of the Big Apple for his campaigns against sugary drinks and guns. Below are a few other things that the rest of the country should know before backing or rejecting a Bloomberg run:
- Michael Rubens Bloomberg was born on Valentine’s Day in 1942 in Brighton, Massachusetts.
- He was raised in the Boston suburb of Medford, where he lived until he attended college.
- As a boy, he attained the highest ranking within the Boy Scouts organization, making Eagle Scout.
- After attending Johns Hopkins University as an undergraduate and earning a degree in electrical engineering, Bloomberg received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1996.
- He was the first openly Jewish member of Hopkins’ Phi Kappa Psi fraternity chapter.
- He worked as a parking lot attendant in college to help pay for his tuition.
- After earning his graduate school degree, Bloomberg applied to the Officer Candidate School of the U.S. Armed Forces in 1966, but wasn’t accepted because he has flat feet.
- Bloomberg’s first job after business school was with Salomon Brothers as a trading room clerk. He became a partner in 1972, but was fired from the firm after it was bought in 1981.
- Bloomberg used his severance package from Salomon Brothers to found his own company, called Innovative Market Systems, which focused on delivering financial information to Wall Street professionals via dedicated terminals. The company was renamed Bloomberg LP in 1987. In 2013, the company generated $8.3 billion in revenue and commanded around one third of the $25 billion market for financial data and analytics.
- In 2002, Bloomberg was elected as the 108th mayor of New York. He was re-elected in November 2005 and then pushed through controversial legislation that would allow him to run for a third term on the grounds that his financial skills and experience were necessary to guide the city through a rough economic climate. He secured his third four-year term in November 2009.
- As mayor, he took a salary of $1 a year.
- Originally registered as a Democrat, Bloomberg became a Republican for his mayoral run in 2001. He then dropped his party registration in 2007 and became an Independent.
- While in office, Bloomberg banned smoking inside all NYC restaurants and bars in 2003. He then expanded the ban to include parks, beaches, marinas, boardwalks and pedestrian plazas in 2011.
- Under his leadership, New York became the first city in the nation to ban restaurants from serving trans fats. He also implemented calorie counts on restaurant chain menus and fought against excess salt in restaurants and packaged food.
- He was ridiculed nationwide for attempting to restrict sugary soft drinks to just 16 ounces. The New York Supreme Court later rejected the “soda ban.”
- As mayor, Bloomberg’s Spanish language skills — or, more accurately, his accent — became the subject of Internet mockery, even spawning a widely followed parody Twitter account.
- Bloomberg returned to Bloomberg as CEO at the end of 2014.
- Forbes ranks Bloomberg as the 14th richest person in the world and the 10th in the U.S. His net worth is $36.5 billion.
- Bloomberg is variously listed as being 5’7” or 5’8” tall. Either way, he’d be among the shortest presidents in U.S. history.
- Bloomberg has two daughters with his ex-wife, Susan Brown, and two grandchildren.
- Bloomberg now lives with former New York State Superintendent of Banks Diana Taylor.
- On October 6, 2014, Queen Elizabeth II named Bloomberg an “Honorary Knight of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” because of his charity work and contributions to the British economy. Although he can’t use the title “Sir” because he’s not a citizen of the United Kingdom, he can put the initials “KBE” after his name.
- He owns more than 10 residences, including properties in Manhattan; New York State’s Westchester County and the Hamptons; Bermuda; London; and Vail, Colorado.
- Since he left office, Bloomberg has donated millions of dollars toward causes close to his heart, like increased gun control legislation, improved education, global warming awareness and marriage equality.
- Bloomberg holds a commercial pilot license and flies his own Agusta A109S helicopter. He’s on the waiting list to purchase an AgustaWestland AW609 Tiltrotor, a hybrid helicopter-plane that will be available sometime this year. It’s estimated to cost between $5 million and $30 million.