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Lamar Alexander

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Lamar Alexander
Official portrait, 2017
Official portrait, 2017
United States Senator
from Tennessee
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byFred Thompson
Succeeded byBill Hagerty
Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byTom Harkin
Succeeded byPatty Murray
Chair of the Senate Republican Conference
In office
December 19, 2007 – January 26, 2012
LeaderMitch McConnell
Preceded byJon Kyl
Succeeded byJohn Thune
5th United States Secretary of Education
In office
March 22, 1991 – January 20, 1993
PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush
DeputyDavid T. Kearns
Preceded byLauro Cavazos
Succeeded byRichard Riley
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
August 6, 1985 – August 26, 1986
Preceded byJohn W. Carlin
Succeeded byBill Clinton
45th Governor of Tennessee
In office
January 20, 1979 – January 17, 1987
LieutenantJohn Wilder
Preceded byRay Blanton
Succeeded byNed McWherter
President of the University of Tennessee
In office
1988–1991
Preceded byEdward J. Boling
Succeeded byJoseph E. Johnson
Personal details
Born
Andrew Lamar Alexander Jr.

(1940-07-03) July 3, 1940 (age 82)
Maryville, Tennessee, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse
Leslee Buhler
(m. 1969; died 2022)
Children4
EducationVanderbilt University (BA)
New York University (JD)

Andrew Lamar Alexander Jr. (born July 3, 1940) is a retired American lawyer and politician who served as a United States Senator from Tennessee from 2003 to 2021. A member of the Republican Party, he also was the 45th governor of Tennessee from 1979 to 1987 and the 5th United States Secretary of Education from 1991 to 1993, where he helped the implementation of Education 2000.

Born in Maryville, Tennessee, Alexander graduated from Vanderbilt University and the New York University School of Law. After establishing a legal career in Nashville, Tennessee, Alexander ran for Governor of Tennessee in 1974, but was defeated by Democrat Ray Blanton. Alexander ran for governor again in 1978, and this time defeated his Democratic opponent. He won re-election in 1982 and served as chairman of the National Governors Association from 1985 to 1986.

Alexander served as the president of the University of Tennessee from 1988 until 1991, when he accepted an appointment as Secretary of Education under President George H. W. Bush. Alexander sought the presidential nomination in the 1996 Republican primaries, but withdrew before the Super Tuesday primaries. He sought the nomination again in the 2000 Republican primaries, but dropped out after a poor showing in the Iowa Straw Poll.

In 2002, Alexander was elected to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Fred Thompson. Alexander defeated Congressman Ed Bryant in the Republican primary and Congressman Bob Clement in the general election. He served as Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference from 2007 to 2012 and as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee from 2015 to 2021. He introduced the Every Student Succeeds Act, which supplanted the No Child Left Behind Act in 2015. On December 17, 2018, Alexander announced that he would not run for a fourth term in the Senate in 2020.

Discover more about Lamar Alexander related topics

Governor of Tennessee

Governor of Tennessee

The governor of Tennessee is the head of government of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The governor is the only official in the Tennessee state government who is directly elected by the voters of the entire state.

Maryville, Tennessee

Maryville, Tennessee

Maryville is a city in and the county seat of Blount County, Tennessee, and is a suburb of Knoxville. Its population was 31,907 at the 2020 census.

1974 Tennessee gubernatorial election

1974 Tennessee gubernatorial election

The 1974 Tennessee gubernatorial election was held on November 5, 1974. Democratic nominee Ray Blanton defeated Republican nominee Lamar Alexander with 55.4% of the vote.

Democratic Party (United States)

Democratic Party (United States)

The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States. Founded in 1828, it was predominantly built by Martin Van Buren, who assembled politicians in every state behind war hero Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party. Its main political rival has been the Republican Party since the 1850s, with both parties being big tents of competing and often opposing viewpoints. Modern American liberalism — a variant of social liberalism — is the party's majority ideology. The party also has notable centrist, social democratic, and left-libertarian factions.

1978 Tennessee gubernatorial election

1978 Tennessee gubernatorial election

The 1978 Tennessee gubernatorial election was held on November 7, 1978. Republican nominee Lamar Alexander defeated Democratic nominee Jake Butcher with 55.8% of the vote.

George H. W. Bush

George H. W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush was an American politician, diplomat, and businessman who served as the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as the 43rd vice president from 1981 to 1989 under President Ronald Reagan, in the U.S. House of Representatives, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and as Director of Central Intelligence.

2002 United States Senate election in Tennessee

2002 United States Senate election in Tennessee

The 2002 United States Senate election in Tennessee was held on November 5, 2002. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Fred Thompson decided to retire. Republican Lamar Alexander won the open seat.

Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson

Freddie Dalton Thompson was an American politician, attorney, lobbyist, columnist, actor, and radio personality. A member of the Republican Party, he served as a United States Senator from Tennessee from 1994 to 2003; Thompson was an unsuccessful candidate in the Republican Party presidential primaries for the 2008 United States presidential election.

Ed Bryant

Ed Bryant

Edward Glenn Bryant is an American politician who is a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Tennessee (1995–2003). From 1991–1993, he served as the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. On December 12, 2008, Bryant was sworn in as a United States magistrate judge for the Western District of Tennessee. He retired from this position on February 28, 2019.

Bob Clement

Bob Clement

Robert Nelson Clement is an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party. He served in the United States House of Representatives, representing Tennessee, from 1988 until 2003, when he retired to run (unsuccessfully) for the United States Senate.

Every Student Succeeds Act

Every Student Succeeds Act

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is a US law passed in December 2015 that governs the United States K–12 public education policy. The law replaced its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), and modified but did not eliminate provisions relating to the periodic standardized tests given to students. Like the No Child Left Behind Act, ESSA is a reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which established the federal government's expanded role in public education.

2020 United States Senate election in Tennessee

2020 United States Senate election in Tennessee

The 2020 United States Senate election in Tennessee was held on November 3, 2020, concurrently with other elections to the United States Senate. The 2020 U.S. presidential election and elections to the U.S. House of Representatives were also held, as well as the State Senate and State House elections. Incumbent Republican Senator Lamar Alexander announced that he would not run for re-election on December 17, 2018. The former United States Ambassador to Japan, Bill Hagerty won the open seat by a large margin defeating his Democratic opponent Marquita Bradshaw.

Early life and education

Alexander was born and raised in Maryville, Tennessee, the son of Genevra Floreine (née Rankin), a preschool teacher, and Andrew Lamar Alexander, a high school principal.[1][2] His family is of Scotch-Irish descent.[2] He attended Maryville High School, where he was class president,[2] and was elected Governor of Tennessee Boys State.[3]

In 1962, Alexander graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American studies. He was a member of Sigma Chi.[4][1] Alexander was the editor of The Vanderbilt Hustler, the primary student newspaper on campus, and he advocated for the open admission of African Americans.[5] At Vanderbilt, he was a member of the track and field team.[6] In 1965, he obtained his Juris Doctor from the New York University School of Law.[7][8]

Discover more about Early life and education related topics

Maryville, Tennessee

Maryville, Tennessee

Maryville is a city in and the county seat of Blount County, Tennessee, and is a suburb of Knoxville. Its population was 31,907 at the 2020 census.

Maryville High School (Tennessee)

Maryville High School (Tennessee)

Maryville High School (MHS) is currently a three-year public high school with grades 10–12. It was founded in 1918 in Maryville, Tennessee and is a part of the Maryville City Schools system.

Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa

The Phi Beta Kappa Society (ΦΒΚ) is the oldest academic honor society in the United States, and the most prestigious, due in part to its long history and academic selectivity. Phi Beta Kappa aims to promote and advocate excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, and to induct the most outstanding students of arts and sciences at only select American colleges and universities. It was founded at the College of William and Mary on December 5, 1776, as the first collegiate Greek-letter fraternity and was among the earliest collegiate fraternal societies. Since its inception, 17 U.S. presidents, 40 U.S. Supreme Court justices, and 136 Nobel laureates have been inducted members.

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University is a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1873, it was named in honor of shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided the school its initial $1-million endowment in the hopes that his gift and the greater work of the university would help to heal the sectional wounds inflicted by the Civil War.

Latin American studies

Latin American studies

Latin American studies (LAS) is an academic and research field associated with the study of Latin America. The interdisciplinary study is a subfield of area studies, and can be composed of numerous disciplines such as economics, sociology, history, international relations, political science, geography, gender studies, and literature.

Sigma Chi

Sigma Chi

Sigma Chi (ΣΧ) International Fraternity is one of the largest North American fraternal literary societies. The fraternity has 244 active undergraduate chapters and 152 alumni chapters across the United States and Canada and has initiated over 350,000 members. The fraternity was founded on June 28, 1855, at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, by members who split from the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The Vanderbilt Hustler is the main student newspaper at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the oldest newspaper in Tennessee.

Juris Doctor

Juris Doctor

The Juris Doctor, also known as Doctor of Jurisprudence, is a graduate-entry professional degree in law and one of several Doctor of Law degrees. The J.D. is the standard degree obtained to practice law in the United States; unlike in some other jurisdictions, there is no undergraduate law degree in the United States. In the United States, along with Australia, Canada, and some other common law countries, the J.D. is earned by completing law school.

New York University School of Law

New York University School of Law

The New York University School of Law is the law school of New York University, a private research university in New York City. Established in 1835, it is the oldest law school in New York City and the oldest surviving law school in New York State. Located in Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan, NYU Law offers J.D., LL.M., and J.S.D. degrees in law.

Career

Early political career

Alexander with President Richard Nixon in 1970
Alexander with President Richard Nixon in 1970

After graduating from law school, Alexander clerked for United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Judge John Minor Wisdom in New Orleans, Louisiana, from 1965 to 1966.[9]

In 1967, Alexander worked as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Howard Baker. While a staffer, he was briefly roommates with future U.S. Senator Trent Lott, and met his future wife at a staffer softball game. In 1969, he worked for Bryce Harlow, President Richard Nixon's executive assistant.[9] In 1970, he moved back to Tennessee, serving as campaign manager for Memphis dentist Winfield Dunn's successful gubernatorial bid.[1] Dunn was the first Republican in 50 years to win the governorship.[10] After this campaign, Alexander co-founded[6] and worked as a partner in the Nashville law firm of Dearborn and Ewing.[1] Meanwhile, Alexander rented a garage apartment to Thomas W. Beasley, a student at the Vanderbilt Law School who later co-founded Corrections Corporation of America.[11]

The Tennessee State Constitution at the time prevented governors from serving consecutive terms, so with Dunn unable to run, Alexander sought the party's nomination for governor in 1974. He defeated his two chief opponents, Commissioner of Mental Health Nat T. Winston, Jr., and Southwestern Company president Dortch Oldham, 120,773 votes to 90,980 and 35,683, respectively.[12] He faced the Democratic nominee, Ray Blanton, a former congressman and unsuccessful 1972 Senate candidate, in the general election. Blanton attacked Alexander for his service under Nixon, who had resigned in disgrace several months earlier as a result of the Watergate scandal, and defeated Alexander on election day, 576,833 votes to 455,467.[10]

After the 1974 campaign, Alexander returned to the practice of law.[10] In 1974, TIME Magazine named Alexander one of the 200 Faces of the Future.[13] In 1977, Alexander once again worked in Baker's Washington office following Baker's election as Senate Minority Leader.[10]

Governor of Tennessee

Alexander as governor.
Alexander as governor.

Although the Tennessee State Constitution had been amended in early 1978 to allow a governor to succeed himself, Blanton chose not to seek re-election, due to a number of scandals. Alexander once again ran for governor, and made a name for himself by walking from Mountain City in the far northeast of the state to Memphis in the far southwest, a distance of 1,022 miles (1,645 km), wearing a red and black flannel shirt that would become something of a trademark for him.[1][14][15]

Alexander with President Ronald Reagan in 1986
Alexander with President Ronald Reagan in 1986

Investigative news reports, disclosed late during the 1978 Tennessee gubernatorial campaign, revealed that Alexander once transferred the non-profit charter of a Christian church to his Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain that he served as a director in order to sell liquor-by-the-drink in the once "dry town" of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.[16] During the campaign, Alexander, then a Nashville attorney, vowed to place his $62,676 interest in the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain into an untouchable trust.[17]

After winning the Republican nomination with nearly 86% of the vote, he defeated Knoxville banker Jake Butcher in the November 1978 election, 665,847 votes to 523,013.[10]

In early 1979, a furor ensued over pardons made by Governor Blanton, whose administration was already under investigation in a cash-for-clemency scandal.[18][19] Since the state constitution is somewhat vague on when a governor must be sworn in, several political leaders from both parties, including Lieutenant Governor John S. Wilder and State House Speaker Ned McWherter, arranged for Alexander to be sworn in on January 17, 1979, three days earlier than the traditional inauguration day, to prevent Blanton from signing more pardons. Wilder later called the move "impeachment Tennessee-style."

In February 1979, shortly after his inauguration, Alexander created an Office of Ombudsman, which was charged with cutting government red tape.[1] He also gave state employees a 7% raise,[10] and replaced state prisoners working at the Governor's Mansion with a paid staff.[2] One of Alexander's biggest accomplishments as governor was the relationship he cultivated with the Japanese corporate community, which resulted in the construction of a $660 million Nissan assembly plant in Smyrna in 1980, the largest single investment in the state's history up to the time.[20] Alexander was also instrumental in the location of General Motors' Saturn Manufacturing Facility in Spring Hill, which began operations in 1990.[21]

In 1982 Alexander took advantage of the 1978 constitutional amendment allowing governors to serve a second consecutive four-year term. He ran again and defeated Knoxville mayor Randy Tyree, 737,963 votes to 500,937.[10] During his second term, he served as chairman of the National Governors Association from 1985 to 1986, and was chair of the President's Commission on American Outdoors, 1985 to 1986.[1] He also oversaw the "Tennessee Homecoming" in 1986, in which local communities launched numerous projects that focused on state and local heritage.[22]

In 1983, Alexander implemented his "Better Schools" program, which standardized basic skills for all students, and increased math, science and computer education.[23] A portion of this plan, known as "Master Teachers," or "Career Ladder," called for income supplements for the state's top teachers. Due to staunch opposition from the Tennessee Education Association, which derided the plan's method of teacher evaluations, the bill initially died in the state legislature. Later that year, Alexander convinced House Speaker Ned McWherter to support an amended version of the bill, which passed.[20]

In 1986, Alexander proposed the "Better Roads Program" to fund a backlog of needed highway projects. The project increased the state's gasoline tax by three cents, and funded fifteen priority projects and six interstate-type projects including Interstate 840, the outer southern beltway around Nashville, and the eastern extension of the Pellissippi Parkway near Knoxville, now signed as Interstate 140.[24] A similar initiative based on the Better Roads Program, the "IMPROVE Act", was signed by Governor Bill Haslam in 2017.[25]

After opting out of the 1984 US Senate contest for the open seat of retiring Majority Leader Howard Baker, Alexander was constitutionally ineligible for a third term and stepped down from the governorship on January 17, 1987. He was succeeded by Ned McWherter.[10]

President of the University of Tennessee

Alexander along with his family moved to Australia for a short time in the late 1980s. While there he wrote a book titled Six Months Off.[26] Upon returning to Tennessee, he served as president of the University of Tennessee from 1988 to 1991.[27]

United States Secretary of Education

Alexander with President George H. W. Bush in 1991
Alexander with President George H. W. Bush in 1991

Alexander served as the United States Secretary of Education from 1991 to 1993. As Education Secretary, he sparked controversy after he approved Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) to accredit schools despite an advisory panel that repeatedly recommended against it in 1991 and 1987.[28][29][30][31]

In 1993, Steve Levicoff published a book-length critical discussion of TRACS and Alexander's decision in When The TRACS Stop Short.[32][33]

Former Department of Education employee and writer Lisa Schiffren has stated that, "His fortune is founded on sweetheart deals not available to the general public, and a series of cozy sinecures provided by local businessmen. Such deals are not illegal..." Schiffren further notes that, in 1987, Alexander helped found Corporate Child Care Management, Inc. (now known as Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc.), a company that – via a merger – is now the nation's largest provider of worksite day care. While businessman Jack C. Massey spent $2 million on this enterprise, Alexander co-founded the company with only $5,000 of stock which increased in value to $800,000, a 15,900 percent return within four years. Also in 1987, he wrote a never-cashed investment check for $10,000 to Christopher Whittle for shares in Whittle Communications that increased in value to $330,000. In 1991, Alexander's house, which he had recently purchased for $570,000, was sold to Whittle for $977,500. Alexander's wife obtained an $133,000 profit from her $8,900 investment in a company created to privatize prisons. Alexander frequently shifted assets to his wife's name, yet such transfers are not legal under federal ethics and security laws.[34] In his 2005 U.S. Senate financial disclosure report, he listed personal ownership of BFAM (Bright Horizons Family Solutions) stock valued (at that time) between $1 million and $5 million. He taught about the American character as a faculty member at Harvard Kennedy School.[35]

United States presidential bids

Alexander made two unsuccessful runs for President of the United States, in 1996 and 2000. In 1996, he finished third in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, and dropped out before the Super Tuesday primaries. After dropping out of the race, Alexander took on an advisory role in the Dole/Kemp campaign. In 2000, during his second candidacy, he traveled around the US in a Ford Explorer, eschewing a campaign bus or plane. That journey lasted less than six months, from the announcement of Alexander's candidacy on March 9, 1999, to his withdrawal on August 16, 1999, after a poor showing in the Ames Straw Poll. He ended both of his presidential campaigns in Nashville, Tennessee.[36][37]

U.S. Senate

Alexander with President George W. Bush in 2004
Alexander with President George W. Bush in 2004
Senator and Mrs. Alexander with the Presbyterian Chaplain of the 844th from Rhea County in 2005
Senator and Mrs. Alexander with the Presbyterian Chaplain of the 844th from Rhea County in 2005

Elections

2002

Despite vowing not to return to elective office, Alexander was nevertheless persuaded by the White House to run for the open seat of retiring Senator Fred Thompson in 2002. Seen as a moderate Republican by Tennessee standards, his candidacy was vigorously opposed by conservatives, who instead supported US Representative, and a House manager during the 1998 impeachment of Bill Clinton, Ed Bryant.

Alexander was better-funded and armed with more prominent endorsements, however, and edged Bryant in the primary, 295,052 votes to 233,678.[38] Democrats had high hopes of retaking the seat that they lost in 1994 with their candidate, US Representative Bob Clement, a member of a prominent political family. However, Clement's campaign never really caught on, and Alexander defeated him in the general election with 54 percent of the vote. With his election to the US Senate, he became the first Tennessean to be popularly elected both governor and senator. At the age of 62, Alexander also became the oldest elected freshman US senator from Tennessee since Democrat Lawrence D. Tyson in 1924.

2008

In April 2007, Alexander announced he would run for re-election to the Senate in 2008.[39]

Alexander was favored throughout the entire campaign, due to his long history in Tennessee politics and a disorganized Democratic opposition. His rivals were former state Democratic Party Chairman Bob Tuke, who won a heated primary, and Libertarian candidate Daniel T. Lewis.

Alexander won reelection, taking 65 percent of the vote to Tuke's 32 percent. Alexander also carried all but one of Tennessee's 95 counties; he lost only in Haywood County in western Tennessee, which was secured by Tuke. He won the normally Democratic strongholds of Davidson and Shelby counties—home to Nashville and Memphis, respectively. Alexander also benefited from riding the coattails of John McCain, who won the state with a solid majority.

2014

In December 2012, Alexander announced he would be seeking re-election to a third Senate term in 2014.[40] Alexander's campaign had a war chest of $3.1 million in cash going into his 2014 re-election bid.[41]

In an August 2013 letter to Alexander signed by over 20 Tennessee Tea Party groups, the groups called on Alexander to retire from the Senate in 2014, or face a primary challenge.[42] The letter stated: "During your tenure in the Senate we have no doubt that you voted in a way which you felt was appropriate. Unfortunately, our great nation can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous. America faces serious challenges and needs policymakers who will defend conservative values, not work with those who are actively undermining those values."[43][44]

Although Alexander was initially thought to be vulnerable to a primary challenge from the right, he worked to avoid this and ultimately did not face a high-profile challenger. He declared his intention to run early, quickly won the endorsement of Governor Bill Haslam, every living former Tennessee Republican Party chair person, and the state's entire Republican congressional delegation, except for then scandal-hit Scott DesJarlais. He also raised a large amount of money and worked to avoid the mistakes of ousted Senators Bob Bennett and Richard Lugar by trying to stay in touch with his constituents, especially in East Tennessee. Moreover, out-of-state conservative organizations such as the Senate Conservatives Fund made little effort to defeat Alexander.[45]

Alexander won the Republican primary, defeating State Representative and Tea Party challenger Joe Carr. However, Alexander recorded the lowest winning percentage (49.7%) and lowest margin of victory (9.2 points) ever in a primary for a Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee. Carr won a larger percentage of the vote (40.5%) than the previous 11 challengers to sitting Republican U.S. Senators in Tennessee history combined (40.3%).[46] Alexander won the general election with 62% of the vote.

Tenure

In 2006, a newly discovered species of springtail found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park was named Cosberella lamaralexanderi in Alexander's honor, because of his support of scientific research funding in the park and because the springtails' patterning is reminiscent of the plaid shirts Alexander typically wears while campaigning.[47]

On October 6, 2018, Alexander was one of 50 senators (49 Republicans, 1 Democrat) who voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.[48]

Republican leadership

In late 2006, Alexander announced that he had secured the requisite number of votes to become the Republican Party's Minority Whip in the Senate during the 110th Congress. Even though he was seen as the preferred choice of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Bush Administration, he lost the election to former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott by one vote (25–24).[49]

Alexander would get a second shot at entering his party's leadership a year later when Lott announced his intent to resign from the Senate by the end of 2007. Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, then Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, ran for Whip and was elected without opposition. With the Conference Chair vacant, Alexander announced that he would seek the position.[50] He would go on to defeat Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina by a margin of 31–16.[51]

Alexander stepped down as Conference Chairman in January 2012, citing his desire to foster consensus. He said, "I want to do more to make the Senate a more effective institution so that it can deal better with serious issues." He added, "For these same reasons, I do not plan to seek a leadership position in the next Congress", ending speculation that he would run for the position of Republican Whip after Jon Kyl retired in 2013.[52]

On December 17, 2018, Alexander announced that he would not seek another term in 2020.[53] In an interview with Politico, he stated that he had made the decision as early as August 2018.[54]

For his tenure as the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in the 116th Congress, Alexander earned an "F" grade from the non-partisan Lugar Center's Congressional Oversight Hearing Index.[55]

2013 presidential inauguration role

As co-chairman of the Joint Congressional Inaugural Committee, Alexander was one of the speakers at the Second inauguration of Barack Obama on January 21, 2013, alongside the committee's chair, Senator Charles Schumer.

Committee assignments
Caucus memberships
Legislation sponsored

The following is an incomplete list of legislation that Alexander introduced in the Senate.

Discover more about Career related topics

President of the United States

President of the United States

The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon

Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th president of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a representative and senator from California and was the 36th vice president from 1953 to 1961 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. His five years in the White House saw reduction of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, détente with the Soviet Union and China, the first manned Moon landings, and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Nixon's second term ended early, when he became the only president to resign from office, as a result of the Watergate scandal.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following federal judicial districts:Eastern District of Louisiana Middle District of Louisiana Western District of Louisiana Northern District of Mississippi Southern District of Mississippi Eastern District of Texas Northern District of Texas Southern District of Texas Western District of Texas

John Minor Wisdom

John Minor Wisdom

John Minor Wisdom, one of the "Fifth Circuit Four", and a Republican from Louisiana, was a United States circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit during the 1950s and 1960s, when that court became known for a series of crucial decisions that advanced the goals of the Civil Rights Movement. At that time, the Fifth Circuit included not only Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, but also Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and the Panama Canal Zone.

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans is a consolidated city-parish located along the Mississippi River in the southeastern region of the U.S. state of Louisiana. With a population of 383,997 according to the 2020 U.S. census, it is the most populous city in Louisiana, third most populous city in the Deep South, and the twelfth-most populous city in the southeastern United States. Serving as a major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast region of the United States.

Howard Baker

Howard Baker

Howard Henry Baker Jr. was an American politician and diplomat who served as a United States Senator from Tennessee from 1967 to 1985. During his tenure, he rose to the rank of Senate Minority Leader and then Senate Majority Leader. A member of the Republican Party, Baker was the first Republican to be elected to the US Senate in Tennessee since the Reconstruction era.

Trent Lott

Trent Lott

Chester Trent Lott Sr. is an American lawyer, author, and politician. A former United States Senator from Mississippi, Lott served in numerous leadership positions in both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate. He entered Congress as one of the first of a wave of Republicans winning seats in Southern states that had been solidly Democratic. Later in his career, he served twice as Senate Majority Leader, and also, alternately, Senate Minority Leader. In 2003, he stepped down from the position after controversy due to his praising of senator Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist Dixiecrat presidential bid.

Bryce Harlow

Bryce Harlow

Bryce Nathaniel Harlow was a congressional staff member, army officer, advisor to U.S. presidents, and corporate lobbyist.

Garage apartment

Garage apartment

A garage apartment is an apartment built within the walls of, or on top of, the garage of a house. The garage may be attached or a separate building from the main house, but will have a separate entrance and may or may not have a communicating door to the main house. A garage apartment is one type of "accessory dwelling unit" or ADU, a term used by architects, urban planners and in zoning ordinances to identify apartments smaller than the main dwelling on one lot or parcel of land. Other examples of ADU's include granny flats, English basements, mother-in-law suites, and auxiliary units.

Thomas W. Beasley

Thomas W. Beasley

Thomas W. Beasley is an American lawyer, political activist and businessman based in Tennessee. He served as the chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.

Democratic Party (United States)

Democratic Party (United States)

The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States. Founded in 1828, it was predominantly built by Martin Van Buren, who assembled politicians in every state behind war hero Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party. Its main political rival has been the Republican Party since the 1850s, with both parties being big tents of competing and often opposing viewpoints. Modern American liberalism — a variant of social liberalism — is the party's majority ideology. The party also has notable centrist, social democratic, and left-libertarian factions.

Ray Blanton

Ray Blanton

Leonard Ray Blanton was an American businessman and politician who served as the 44th governor of Tennessee from 1975 to 1979. He also served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1967 to 1973. Though he initiated a number of government reforms and was instrumental in bringing foreign investment to Tennessee, his term as governor was marred by scandal over the selling of pardons and liquor licenses.

Political positions

Iraq

Before the Iraq War began, Alexander supported sending troops to Iraq and expressed his agreement with President Bush that Iraq must be dealt with immediately.[60] A year after the war began, Alexander stated that the Iraq War had provided "lessons" to the nation, but went on to say that American troops should not be withdrawn, saying "It would be even worse if we left before the job was done."[61] In 2007, Alexander touted implementing the Iraq Study Group recommendations, noting that he believes Bush will be viewed as a Truman-esque figure if he implements the Group's recommendations.[62][63]

Health care reform

On July 15, 2009, Alexander voted against President Obama's health care reform bill in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.[64] Alexander stated that he opposed the bill because, he said, it would result in higher state taxes, an increased federal debt, government-run health care, and Medicare cuts; he instead supported a different approach to reform.[65] Alexander voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009,[66] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[67] Alexander was part of the group of 13 Senators who drafted the Senate version of the failed American Health Care Act of 2017 behind closed doors.[68][69][70][71]

Bipartisanship

Lamar Alexander with U.S. Senators Bob Corker & Richard Burr, Congressmen John Duncan, Phil Roe, & Heath Shuler, Governor Phil Bredesen, and Dolly Parton at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2009
Lamar Alexander with U.S. Senators Bob Corker & Richard Burr, Congressmen John Duncan, Phil Roe, & Heath Shuler, Governor Phil Bredesen, and Dolly Parton at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2009

According to the 2009 annual vote studies by Congressional Quarterly, Alexander was one of the most bipartisan Republican members of the Senate.[72] According to National Journal's 2009 Vote Ratings, he was ranked as the 32nd most conservative member in the Senate.[73]

Alexander broke ranks with conservative Senate Republicans when he announced his support for the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.[74]

Gun laws

In April 2013, Alexander was one of 46 senators to vote against the passing of a bill which would have expanded background checks for all gun buyers. Alexander voted with 40 Republicans and 5 Democrats to stop the bill.[75]

National security

Alexander critiqued President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail immigration from 7 Muslim-majority countries that were claimed to have increased terrorism risk until better screening methods were devised. He stated that the executive order was "inconsistent with our American character."[76]

Saudi Arabia

In March 2018, Alexander voted to table a resolution spearheaded by Bernie Sanders, Chris Murphy, and Mike Lee that would have required President Trump to withdraw American troops either in or influencing Yemen within the next 30 days unless they were combating Al-Qaeda.[77]

Energy and environment

Alexander has voiced support for nuclear power on multiple occasions, and is a critic of wind power, believing wind turbines to be eyesores and dangerous to threatened bird populations.[78] After the release of former Vice President Al Gore's global warming film An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, Alexander criticized the omission of nuclear power in the film as a suggestion for mitigating climate change. He stated "Maybe it needs a sequel: 'An Inconvenient Truth 2: Nuclear Power.'" Alexander also stated that "Because (Gore) was a former vice president and presidential nominee, he brings a lot of visibility to (the issue). On the other hand it may be seen as political by some, and they may be less eager to be a part of it."[79]

Alexander opposed the proposed Green New Deal, saying that it is not the proper solution to climate change and calling it "an assault on cars, cows, and combustion," and in response proposed what he calls the "New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy" (named after the World War II-era Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bomb).[80] The proposed plan contains ten major points of developing advanced nuclear power, more efficient natural gas, carbon capture, more efficient batteries, more efficient buildings, more electric vehicles, cheaper solar power, fusion power, advanced computing, and doubled funding for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.[81] Alexander proposed a similar plan by the same name in 2008.[82]

Trade

In November 2018, Alexander was one of twelve Republican senators to sign a letter to President Trump requesting the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) be submitted to Congress by the end of the month to allow a vote on it before the end of the year, as they were concerned "passage of the USMCA as negotiated will become significantly more difficult" if having to be approved through the incoming 116th United States Congress.[83]

Judiciary

In March 2016, around seven months before the next presidential election, Alexander declared his opposition to the Senate considering President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court. Alexander said: "I believe it is reasonable to give the American people a voice by allowing the next president to fill this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court." In September 2020, with less than two months to the next presidential election, Alexander supported an immediate vote on President Trump's nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy caused by the death of justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Alexander declared that "even during a presidential election year", "no one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican president’s Supreme Court nomination".[84]

Impeachment of Donald Trump

Alexander with President Donald Trump in 2019
Alexander with President Donald Trump in 2019

In the First impeachment trial of Donald Trump, Alexander was seen as a key swing voter in the bid to allow witness testimony in the trial. Near midnight on January 30, he said that he would vote against witnesses in the trial.[85]

On January 31, Alexander voted against considering any motion to subpoena witnesses or documents. Alexander additionally voted for tabling four amendments: an amendment to subpoena John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, OMB employee Michael Duffey, and White House aide Robert Blair over the Ukraine scandal, an amendment to subpoena Bolton regarding the Ukraine scandal, an amendment to have Bolton give oral deposition and to testify before the Senate, and an amendment to have the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, to decide motions from any Senator or party to subpoena relevant witnesses and documents that have relevance to the Impeachment articles. Alexander voted for a Senate resolution to the trial that passed, which concluded the witness testimony portion of the trial and moved to closing statements.[86][87]

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Personal life

In 1969, Alexander married Leslee "Honey" Buhler,[88] who grew up in Victoria, Texas, and graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts.[89] They had met during a softball game for Senate staff members.[90] Together they have four children: Drew, Leslee, Kathryn, and Will. Drew passed away in 2021. [90] After a six-month trip to Australia with his family in the late 1980s, Alexander wrote about their adventure in a book entitled Six Months Off.[91]

Alexander is a classical and country pianist. He began taking lessons at age three, and won several competitions as a child.[2] In April 2007, he played piano on singer Patti Page's re-recording of her 1950 hit "Tennessee Waltz". He appeared on the record at the invitation of record executive Mike Curb. Alexander and Page performed the song live at an April 4 fundraiser for his senatorial re-election campaign in Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center.[92]

Alexander is a member of Sons of the Revolution.[93] He is a member and elder of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA).[94][95][96]

Alexander is an Eagle Scout, and used his Scouting experience in the Senate, sponsoring a 2010 resolution recognizing February 8, as "Boy Scouts of America Day."[97]

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Tennessee Waltz

Tennessee Waltz

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Mike Curb

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Schermerhorn Symphony Center

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Sons of the Revolution

Sons of the Revolution

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Presbyterian Church (USA)

Presbyterian Church (USA)

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Boy Scouts of America

Boy Scouts of America

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Electoral history

Tennessee US Senate election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lamar Alexander 849,748 61.9
Democratic Gordon Ball 437,175 31.8
Tennessee US Senate Republican primary election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lamar Alexander 331,705 49.7
Republican Joe Carr 271,324 40.6
Republican George Shea Flinn 34,668 5.2
Republican Christian Agnew 11,320 1.7
Republican Brenda Lenard 7,908 1.2
Republican John King 7,748 1.2
Republican Erin Kent Magee 3,366 0.5
Tennessee US Senate election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lamar Alexander 1,571,637 67.3 +13.0
Democratic Bob Tuke 762,779 32.6
Tennessee US Senate election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lamar Alexander 888,223 54.3
Democratic Bob Clement 726,510 44.2
Tennessee US Senate Republican primary election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lamar Alexander 295,052 53.8
Republican Ed Bryant 233,678 42.6
Republican Mary Taylor-Shelby 5,589 1.0
Republican June Griffin 4,930 0.9
Republican Michael Brent Todd 4,002 0.7
Republican James DuBose 3,572 0.7
Republican Christopher Fenner 1,552 0.3
Republican Write-ins 102 0.0
Tennessee gubernatorial election, 1982
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lamar Alexander 737,693 59.56 +3.72
Democratic Randy Tyree 500,937 40.44
Tennessee gubernatorial election, 1978
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lamar Alexander 661,959 55.84
Democratic Jake Butcher 523,495 44.16
Tennessee gubernatorial election, 1974
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ray Blanton 576,833 55.88
Republican Lamar Alexander 455,467 44.12

1996 United States presidential election (Republican primaries):[98]

Republican Senate Minority Whip[99]

  • Trent Lott (MS) – 25 (51.02%)
  • Lamar Alexander (TN) – 24 (48.98%)

Senate Republican Conference Chairman[100]

  • Lamar Alexander (TN) – 31 (65.96%)
  • Richard Burr (NC) – 16 (34.04%)

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Joe S. Carr

Joe S. Carr

Joe S. Carr is a former member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, and a member of the Tennessee Republican Party. Representative Carr was first elected as a state representative from the 48th legislative district in 2008 for the 106th Tennessee General Assembly. He served from 2008 through 2014 before stepping down to run against Senator Lamar Alexander in the Tennessee Republican Primary. Representative Carr ran an unsuccessful campaign for the United States Senate in the Republican primary, challenging incumbent Republican Lamar Alexander. On May 3, 2022, Carr won the Republican nomination for Rutherford County Mayor, and he went on to win the general election on August 4, 2022.

Bob Tuke

Bob Tuke

Robert Dudley Tuke was the Democratic nominee for the 2008 United States Senate election in Tennessee, having won the Democratic primary in August. He faced incumbent Republican Lamar Alexander in the general election in November, losing by approximately 33% of the final vote.

Bob Clement

Bob Clement

Robert Nelson Clement is an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party. He served in the United States House of Representatives, representing Tennessee, from 1988 until 2003, when he retired to run (unsuccessfully) for the United States Senate.

Jake Butcher

Jake Butcher

Jacob Franklin Butcher was an American banker and politician. He built a financial empire in East Tennessee and was the Democratic Party nominee for governor of Tennessee in 1978. He was also the primary promoter of the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, and lost his business and his personal fortune after he was found to have engaged in bank fraud.

Ray Blanton

Ray Blanton

Leonard Ray Blanton was an American businessman and politician who served as the 44th governor of Tennessee from 1975 to 1979. He also served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1967 to 1973. Though he initiated a number of government reforms and was instrumental in bringing foreign investment to Tennessee, his term as governor was marred by scandal over the selling of pardons and liquor licenses.

1996 United States presidential election

1996 United States presidential election

The 1996 United States presidential election was the 53rd quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 5, 1996. Incumbent Democratic President Bill Clinton defeated former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, the Republican nominee, and Ross Perot, the Reform Party nominee and 1992 presidential candidate.

Bob Dole

Bob Dole

Robert Joseph Dole was an American politician and attorney who represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996. He was the Republican Leader of the Senate during the final 11 years of his tenure, including three non-consecutive years as Senate Majority Leader. Prior to his 27 years in the Senate, he served in the United States House of Representatives from 1961 to 1969. Dole was also the Republican presidential nominee in the 1996 election and the vice presidential nominee in the 1976 election.

Source: "Lamar Alexander", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, March 15th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamar_Alexander.

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See also
References
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Further reading
  • Alexander, Lamar. The Tennesseans: A People and Their Land. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1981.
  • Alexander, Lamar. Friends, Japanese and Tennesseans: A Model of U.S.-Japan Cooperation. New York: Harper and Row, 1986.
  • Alexander, Lamar. Steps Along the Way: A Governor's Scrapbook. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1986.
  • Alexander, Lamar. Six Months Off: An American Family's Australian Adventure. New York: William Morrow, 1988.
  • Alexander, Lamar. We Know What to Do: A Political Maverick Talks with America. New York: William Morrow, 1995.
  • Alexander, Lamar. Lamar Alexander's Little Plaid Book. Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 1998.
  • Alexander, Lamar. Going to War in Sailboats: Why Nuclear Power Beats Windmills for America's Green Energy Future. 2010.
  • Hunt, Keel. Coup: The Day the Democrats Ousted Their Governor, Put Republican Lamar Alexander in Office Early, and Stopped a Pardon Scandal (Vanderbilt University Press, 2013) 275 pp.
  • Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
  • Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
  • Profile at Vote Smart
External links
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