Jon Corzine on Recovering From Tragedy

Governor Corzine began his career on Wall Street in 1975 when he was recruited by the New York investment firm Goldman Sachs. After taking a job with the firm as a bond trader, he and his family settled in New Jersey. Corzine was named a partner in 1980, became a key player in crucial strategic decisions, and was eventually named chairman and chief executive officer in 1994. Three years later, Corzine was named as chairman of a presidential commission to study capital budgeting as a means of increasing federal investment in schools, technology, and infrastructure. During Corzine's tenure at Goldman Sachs, Fortune magazine named the firm one of the 10 best companies to work for in the United States, and Corzine was named by Time magazine as one of the top 50 technology executives in the country in 1997. He left Goldman Sachs in May 1999 after converting the investment firm from a private partnership to a public company – a bold move that yielded handsome profits both for stockholders and Goldman employees. Shortly after his departure from Goldman Sachs, Corzine entered public services upon election to the United States Senate in November 2000. While serving in the nation’s capitol, Corzine was the driving force behind a forward-looking, progressive agenda. As senator, Corzine served as a member of the Committees on Banking, Intelligence, the Budget, and Energy and Natural Resources, and parlayed his position in leadership to advance numerous initiatives beneficial both to New Jersey and the nation as a whole. As a member of the United States Senate, Corzine co-authored the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a piece of legislation designed to crack down on corporate malfeasance crafted in the wake of accounting scandals surrounding Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, and other major corporations. Corzine was also a sponsor of the Start Healthy, Stay Healthy Act, which expands children’s health care and expands coverage for pregnant women. He supported legislation outlawing the practice of racial profiling and, with Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, was chief sponsor of the Darfur Accountability Act to address genocide in the Sudan. Corzine was also only one of 23 members of the Senate to vote against the Iraq War Resolution. Corzine entered the New Jersey governor’s race in 2005, and shortly after his Election Day victory, resigned from the U.S. Senate to take the oath of office as New Jersey governor on Jan. 17, 2006. As governor, he has continued to build on his reputation as a progressive, yet fiscally-responsible public servant. Corzine is a 1969 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves until 1975. He received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago.
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Corzine: Well, first of all, I wear my seat belt. It has changed my personal habits in a way that I think are important. I think it has, more fundamentally, given me a perspective on life that each moment that we’re given is an important one and you ought to use those moments as ably as you can, whether it’s with your family or your friends or in your working life, in all aspects. Try to seize the moment because those can come to an end at any point in time. Life is a real luxury that one shouldn’t take for granted. So philosophically, spiritually, I think I’ve grown by the experience. And I guess the last thing I know is that I always knew that you had to do things or things were not always of your own creation. I’m alive because a lot of good people helped me get a chance to be alive in a certain… in the circumstances that had evolved. And if they hadn’t been there, I could’ve been the smartest guy, I could’ve been the richest guy, I could’ve been anything and still wouldn’t be alive. It’s because a lot of other people make things happen that I think all of us have a chance to be happy, be successful, be who we are.