Luke Ravenstahl became the 59th Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh on September 1, 2006, upon the untimely death of Mayor Bob O'Connor. At the time he was just 26 years old. Ravenstahl's ascent to the top of Pittsburgh government began in 2003 when he became the youngest member ever elected to Pittsburgh City Council. After serving only two years on council Ravenstahl was unanimously voted in as City Council President, a post he held for only 8 months before being sworn in as Mayor O'Connor's successor. Ravenstahl was officially elected Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, "America's Most Livable City," in a special election in November of 2007. The 29-year-old Pittsburgh native still holds the distinction of being the youngest mayor of any major U.S. city.
During his three years in office, Mayor Ravenstahl has taken a City that was on the brink of bankruptcy to a City whose bond rating has been upgraded four times, that has a healthy savings account of nearly $100 million, with a balanced budget and a "no new debt" policy. His efforts have been met with accolades by state overseers.
Under Ravenstahl, there is progress, job creation and more than $4.8 billion in economic development happening in downtown alone. The Mayor is retooling City government as a partner in this growth. Building permits and all indicators of investment in the City are at an all time high. Union halls are at full capacity and the City's unemployment rate is 2 percentage points below the national average. Despite the national economic downturn, Pittsburgh regularly garners national attention for its ability to survive and thrive.
Thanks to Mayor Ravenstahl's commitment to sustainability, Pittsburgh is becoming the black, gold and green city. Pittsburgh has become a national leader in green building, a hub for clean energy businesses, and home to top environmental education programs. Under Ravenstahl, the City hired its first Sustainability Coordinator, Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator, and Urban Forester. Recent green accomplishments include adoption of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan, expansion of single-stream recycling City-wide, and membership in the EPA Green Power Partnership in recognition of significant renewable energy purchases. The Mayor's Green Building Agenda offers reduced interest rates on qualifying business loans for projects that achieve certification under the United States Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED program. One of 25 Solar America Cities, Pittsburgh will host the first Northeastern Solar Cities conference in October 2009, as well as begin the first of five solar installations at a City firehouse.
Mayor Ravenstahl's Blueprint for Pittsburgh's Renaissance III, builds on the City's new economy. The plan emphasizes development of Pittsburgh's riverfronts and fosters and feeds the City's green initiatives. With a focus on continued revitalization of the City's neighborhoods the renaissance aims to keep Pittsburgh as "America's Most Liveable City" as well as one of its safest and cleanest cities. The Blueprint invests in the education of our children through the Pittsburgh Promise - an innovative student scholarship program co-created by Ravenstahl to improve our school system and expand the City's tax base. Mayor Ravenstahl, the first Pittsburgh Mayor to have a computer in his office, has made technology a top priority. Ravenstahl embraces technology to improve services, cut costs and solve problems in new ways and realizes the importance of establishing Pittsburgh as a technology and research business hub. Mayor Ravenstahl has made diversity a priority as well instituting programs to make our workforce as diverse as the City itself.
Mayor Ravenstahl is a 1998 graduate of North Catholic High School, located in the Troy Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. He received his B.A. in Business Administration from Washington and Jefferson College. He graduated with honors in December, 2002.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and his wife, Erin, live in Pittsburgh's Summer Hill neighborhood and are members of Holy Wisdom Parish. They welcomed their first child, Cooper Luke, in October 2008.