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Richard Green "Dick" Lugar (born April 4, 1932) is the senior United Statesmarker Senator from Indianamarker. He is a member of the Republican Party and served as the mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1976 and was elected to the United States Senate in 1976 where he has been the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1985 to 1987 and 2003 to 2007. Much of Lugar's work in the Senate is toward the dismantling of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons around the world.

On January 3, 2009, upon Ted Stevens' losing his reelection bid, and the retirement of Pete Domenici, Lugar became the most senior Republican in the U.S. Senate. By tradition, were the Republican Party to gain control of the Senate, Lugar would be elected the President pro tempore of the United States Senate.

Family background

Lugar was born in Indianapolismarker, Indiana, to Bertha Green and Marvin Lugar. He attended the public schools of Indianapolis. During this time he attained the Boy Scouts' highest rank: Eagle Scout. Later, he became a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He graduated first in his class at Shortridge High Schoolmarker in 1950 and from Denison University in 1954 where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi. He went on to attend Pembroke Collegemarker, Oxfordmarker, Englandmarker, as a Rhodes Scholar, and received a graduate degree in 1956. Lugar was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He served in the United States Navy from 1957 to 1960; one of his assignments was as an intelligence briefer for Admiral Arleigh Burke.

Lugar manages his family's 604-acre (2.4 km²) Marion Countymarker corn, soybean and tree farm. Before entering public life, he helped his brother Tom manage the family's food machinery manufacturing business in Indianapolis.

Senator Lugar is member of the United Methodist Church. He married Charlene Smeltzer on September 8, 1956, and the couple has four sons and thirteen grandchildren.

Charlene Lugar was arrested by Fairfax County police in Virginia on November 18, 2009, and charged with drunken driving and hit-and-run related to an incident where a parked vehicle was struck.

Political Career

Entry into politics

Lugar served on the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners from 1964 to 1967. At the age of 35, he was elected mayor of Indianapolis in 1967 and began serving the first of two mayoral terms in 1968. A political cartoon of the time questioned how an Eagle Scout could survive in the world of politics. He is closely associated with the adoption of Unigov in 1970, which unified the governments of Indianapolis and Marion Countymarker. He was reelected mayor in 1971. During this time he became known as "Richard Nixon's favorite mayor" due to his support for devolving federal powers to local communities.

Senate career and presidential ambitions

Lugar ran for the Republican nomination for President in 1996, but his campaign failed to gain traction. His announcement of candidacy speech was made on April 19, 1995, in Indianapolis. He finished fifth in the Republican primaries, with 127,111 votes or 0.83%.

Lugar has been influential in gaining Senate ratification of treaties to reduce the world's use, production and stockpiling of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. In 1991, he initiated a partnership with then-Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn – a fellow Eagle Scout – aiming to eliminate latent weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Unionmarker. To date, the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program has deactivated more than 5,900 nuclear warheads. In 2004, Senators Lugar and Nunn were jointly awarded the Heinz Awards Chairman's Medal for their efforts.

As Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, Lugar built bipartisan support for 1996 federal farm program reforms, ending 1930s-era federal production controls. He worked to initiate a biofuels research program to help increase U.S. dependency on ethanol and combustion fuels, and led initiatives to streamline the U.S.marker Department of Agriculturemarker, reform the food stamp program, and preserve the federal school lunch program.

Lugar has received numerous awards, including Guardian of Small Business, the Spirit of Enterprise, Watchdog of the Treasurymarker, and 34 honorary doctorate degrees. In October 2008 Lugar and Joe Biden, his partner in the Committee on Foreign Relations, received the Hilal-i-Pakistan (Crescent of Pakistan) Award from the government of Pakistanmarker for their continued support of the country. In July 2008 Lugar and Biden introduced a plan that would give $1.5 billion in aid per year to support economic development in Pakistan.

Senator Lugar is a member of the board of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

During the August recess of 2005, Lugar and freshman Senator Barack Obama visited Russiamarker, Azerbaijanmarker, and Ukrainemarker to inspect nuclear facilities there. He was detained for three hours at an airport in the city of Permmarker, near the Ural Mountainsmarker, where they were scheduled to depart for a meeting with the President and the Speaker of the House of Ukraine. He was released after a brief dialogue between U.S. and Russian officials, and the Russians later apologized for this incident. In January 2007, President Bush signed into law the Lugar-Obama Proliferation and Threat Reduction Initiative which was furthering Lugar's work with Senator Nunn in deactivating weapons in the former Soviet Union. The Lugar-Obama program focuses on terrorists and their use of multiple types of weapons.

In April 2006, Time magazine selected Lugar as one of America's 10 Best Senators.

On the day of the final 2008 presidential debate, Lugar gave a speech at the National Defense Universitymarker praising Obama's foreign policy approach, and warning against the isolationist, reactive policies espoused by Senator McCain. At that debate, Obama also listed Lugar as among the individuals "who have shaped my ideas and who will be surrounding me in the White House." There were rumors that either Obama or McCain would select Lugar to be Secretary of State, but that he would rather keep his Senate seat.

Although Lugar's party is in the minority in the Senate, he has good relationships with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Lugar was named an honorary co-chairman of their inauguration.

On March 18, 2009, Lugar cast his 12,000th Senate vote, putting him in 13th place for all-time most votes. In 32 years in the Senate, he has a better than 98% attendance record. Senator Lugar does intend to run for reelection in 2012.

2006 re-election campaign



Lugar was opposed by Steve Osborn, a Libertarian candidate in the 2006 election. The Democratic Party did not field a candidate – in part because of Lugar's popularity in Indiana – deciding instead to focus on key state and national races. Lugar won the election with 87% of the vote, the highest percentage of the 2006 senate elections despite a Democratic take-over of Washington.

Other Career activities

Lugar is a member of the board of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, an organization involved in international elections.

Political positions

Iraq War

On June 25, 2007, Senator Lugar, who had been "a reliable vote for President Bush on the war," said that "Bush's Iraq strategy [is] not working and... the U.S. should downsize the military's role."

Lugar's blunt assessment has been viewed as significant because it showed the growing impatience and dissatisfaction with President Bush's strategy in Iraq. Lugar's speech had particular resonance given his stature as one of the party's elder statesmen on foreign policy. After Lugar finished his remarks, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), a sharp critic of the war, praised Lugar's "thoughtful, sincere and honest" speech, which Durbin said was in "finest tradition of the U.S. Senate." Senator Durbin urged his Senate colleagues to take a copy of Lugar's speech home over the Fourth of July break and study it before returning to work. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, in reaction to Lugar's speech: "When this war comes to an end, and it will come to an end, and the history books are written, and they will be written, I believe that Sen. Lugar's words yesterday could be remembered as a turning point in this intractable civil war in Iraq."

Two days later, on June 27, 2007, Lugar said that Congressional measures aimed at curtailing U.S. military involvement in Iraq – including "so-called timetables, benchmarks" – have "no particular legal consequence," are "very partisan," and "will not work."

Abortion

Lugar's 2007 rating from NARAL was 40%. His 2007-2008 rating from the National Right to Life Committee was 85%. This shows a generally moderate stance on abortion.

Cuba

Lugar believes that the US sanctions on Cubamarker have failed and wrote to President Obama that "additional measures are needed...to recast a policy that has not only failed to promote human rights and democracy, but also undermines our broader security and political interests." He supports the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (S.428), which would lift the travel restrictions that have prevented U.S. citizens from visiting Cuba since the early 1960s.

Immigration

Senator Lugar has a generally liberal stance – for his party – on immigration, supporting the DREAM Act and the McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act.

Gay Rights

Senator Lugar voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, limiting the definition of marriage to one man and one woman. However, he also supported expanding hate-crimes legislation to protect homosexuals and transgendered people.

Committee assignments



Election history

References

  1. Ancestry of Dick Lugar
  2. http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=93969&catid=158
  3. How the Bush Dynasty Almost Wasn't - Hoover Digest
  4. The Heinz Awards, Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn profile
  5. Transcript of Final Presidential Debate
  6. The Swamp: Sen. Harry Reid: Lugar Iraq speech a 'turning point'
  7. "Lugar: Plans To End The War Are ‘Very Partisan,’ ‘Will Not Work’", ThinkProgress.com, June 27, 2007


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