Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel
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Chuck Hagel


Preceded by
Succeeded by

BornSeptember 04 1946 (1946--) (age 61)
North Platte, Nebraska
NationalityAmerican
Political partyRepublican
SpouseLilibet Hagel
Alma materUniversity of Nebraska at Omaha
ReligionEpiscopalian

Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel (born October 4, 1946) is the senior United States Senator from Nebraska. A member of the Republican Party, he was first elected in 1996 and was reelected in 2002. Considered by some as a potential candidate for the 2008 presidential election, Hagel announced on September 10, 2007 that he will retire from the Senate at the end of his present term and will not seek the presidency. [1]

Early life and family

Born in North Platte, Nebraska, to Betty and Charles Hagel, who had German and Polish ancestry.[2] He graduated from St. Bonaventure High School (now Scotus Central Catholic High School) in Columbus, NE, and the Brown Institute for Radio and Television in 1966 and from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1972. Hagel is a Vietnam War veteran, having served in the U.S. Army infantry, attaining the rank of Sergeant (E-5) from 19671968. While serving during the Vietnam War, he received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. After returning from Vietnam, Hagel worked as a bartender and radio newscaster while finishing college.

Hagel married Lilibet Ziller in 1985; the couple live with their daughter, Allyn, and son, Ziller, in Great Falls, Virginia. This is Hagel's second marriage. He was divorced after a brief, childless first marriage to Patricia Lloyd, now a development officer at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.[3]

Hagel's brother, Thomas, is a professor at the University of Dayton School of Law.

Career in Washington

In 1971, Hagel was hired as a staffer for Congressman John Y. McCollister (R-NE), serving until 1977. For the next four years, he worked as a lobbyist for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, and, in 1980, he served as an organizer for the successful presidential campaign of former California Governor Ronald Reagan.

After Reagan's inauguration as President, Hagel was named deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration. In 1982, however, he resigned his post over a disagreement with V.A. Administrator Robert P. Nimmo, who was intent on cutting funding for V.A. programs, and who had referred to veterans groups as "greedy", and to Agent Orange as not much worse than a "little teenage acne."

Business career

After leaving government employment, Hagel co-founded Vanguard Cellular, a mobile phone manufacturer that made him a millionaire several times over. While working with Vanguard, he served as president and chief executive officer of the United Service Organizations and the Private Sector Council, as deputy director and chief operating officer of the 1990 G7 Summit, and on the board of directors or advisory committee of the American Red Cross, the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute, Bread for the World, and the Ripon Society. He also served as Chairman of the Agent Orange Settlement Fund and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Although he was pressured by some to run for Governor of Virginia, where he had lived for 20 years, in 1992 Hagel moved back to Nebraska to become president of the McCarthy Group, an investment banking firm. He also served as CEO of American Information Systems Inc. (AIS), a voting machine manufacturer, which changed its name to Election Systems & Software (ES&S) in 1997.

Senate career

In 1996, Chuck Hagel ran for the US Senate against Ben Nelson, who was the sitting governor of Nebraska. Although many people believed he had no chance of winning, he won a "stunning upset" in the election, receiving 56% of the vote (Nelson was later elected to Nebraska's other Senate seat, in 2000). During his first campaign, Hagel indicated that, were he to be elected, he would retire in 2008 after two terms in the Senate. [1] Six years later in 2002, Hagel overwhelmingly won re-election with over 83% of the vote, the largest margin of victory in any statewide race in Nebraska history.

Since his election to the Senate in 1996, Hagel has served as deputy whip for the Republican Caucus. He has been chair of both the Senate Global Climate Change Observer Group and the Senate Oversight Task Force. He serves as co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also serves on the NATO Observer Group. Hagel is a member of four Senate committees: Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Rules and Administration.

In August 2004, Hagel acknowledged that he was considering a presidential campaign in 2008.

Hagel appeared as himself on the HBO series K Street in 2003, on the episode entitled "Week Four."

On immigration, Senator Hagel supports a "pathway to citizenship" and a "guest worker program" for illegal immigrants, which opponents call an amnesty. On May 25, 2006 he voted for S. 2611, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, which passed the Senate before reaching a stalemate in the House in late 2006.

On June 26, Hagel joined with Senator Ted Kennedy to support the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1639.

Due to displeasure over Hagel's stance on the war, Nebraska State Attorney General Jon Bruning has planned to challenge him in the primaries in 2008 should he not step down, or simply run outright if Hagel enters the 2008 presidential race.

In July 2007, Hagel was one of three Republican Senators who supported the legislation proposed by Democrats to require a troop withdrawal to begin within 120 days. "This thing is really coming undone quickly, and [Prime Minister] Maliki's government is weaker by the day. The police are corrupt, top to bottom. The oil problem is a huge problem. They still can't get anything through the parliament -- no hydrocarbon law, no de-Baathification law, no provincial elections," [Rovert Novac Inteview with Hagel published in the Washington Post" "Hagels Stand".]

The New York Times reported on Saturday, September 8, 2007 that Hagel would retire from the Senate at the conclusion of his present term.[4]

Criticism of the Bush Administration

On August 18, 2005, Hagel compared the Iraq War to Vietnam and openly mocked Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion that the Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes."[5]

In November 2005, Hagel made a much-publicized statement: "To question your government is not unpatriotic — to not question your government is unpatriotic." This was in reference to the increasing amount of debate surrounding the Iraq War, and his assertion that the United States should withdraw its troops.

In December 2005, in reference to Bush, the GOP, and the PATRIOT Act, Hagel made a much-publicized statement: "I took an oath of office to the Constitution, I didn't take an oath of office to my party or my president."[6]

In January 2006, Hagel took issue with Karl Rove over controversial statements the White House advisor made concerning the mindset of Republicans and Democrats. Hagel said, "Well, I didn't like what Mr. Rove said, because it frames terrorism and the issue of terrorism and everything that goes with it, whether it's the renewal of the Patriot Act or the NSA wiretapping, in a political context." He also said that "dark clouds" are hanging over the Republican party", and "If you look at the environment and the atmospherics politically in this town, read any poll. The sixth year of a governing party usually ... is not good ... the country is tired, a lot of complications in these international issues, we're at war."[7]

Hagel further criticized the Bush administration, saying, "National security is more important than the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. And to use it to try and get someone elected will ultimately end up in defeat and disaster for that political party."<ref name="UPI_Rove" />

In July 2006, Hagel again took issue with the Bush administration, this time on its handling of the Israel-Lebanon issue saying "The sickening slaughter on both sides must end and it must end now. President Bush must call for an immediate cease-fire. This madness must stop."[8]

After Republican losses in the 2006 midterm election, Hagel penned an editorial in the Washington Post highly critical of military strategies both employed and proposed for Iraq. He unequivocally declared that "There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq," and called for a "phased troop withdrawal"—making Hagel one of the most prominent voices in his party to do so.[9]

According to a SurveyUSA poll, Hagel has a 10% higher approval rating among Nebraska Democrats than Republicans.[10][11] OnTheIssues.org rates Hagel as a "libertarian-leaning conservative."

In January 2007, Hagel openly criticized President Bush's plan to send an additional 20,000 additional troops to Iraq. He called it, "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it's carried out."[12] Together with Democrats Joseph Biden and Carl Levin he proposed a non-binding resolution to the Democratic-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which rejected Bush's policy as "not in the national interest" in a 12-9 vote.[13] However, in a Senate vote of 94-2 to revoke executive power to replace federal prosecutors without a preliminary hearing, Senator Hagel and Senator Kit Bond were the only opposition.[14]

After an April 2007 visit to Iraq with Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Joe Sestak, Hagel expressed his belief that support of Iraq should not continue indefinitely and defended Congressional actions to set a timeline for an end in occupation.

In July 2007, Hagel expressed his intention to cooperate with Senate Democrats in voting for a bill that would set a timeline to get out of Iraq.[15]

Retirement

On September 10, 2007, Hagel announced that he would be retiring from the Senate at the end of his term in 2009.[16] The announcement ended speculation regarding a possible bid for the presidency in 2008.

Electoral History

  • 2002 Nebraska United States Senatorial Election
  • Chuck Hagel (R) (inc.),83%
  • Charlie A. Matulka (D), 15%
  • 1996 Nebraska United States Senatorial Election
  • Chuck Hagel (R), 56%
  • Ben Nelson (D), 42%

Awards and honors

Hagel is a Nebraska Admiral, an honorary title. On June 9, 2007, he gave the commencement address for North Central College and was given a honorary LL.D..[17]

References

1. ^ [2]
2. ^ Dufour, Jeff. "Glenn Close and Chuck Norris push pet projects". The Hill, online edition, Under The Dome, 11 May 2006. Retrieved 4 March 2007.
3. ^ Robert G. Kaiser. "The Political Veteran: He Survived Vietnam and Won the Senate. Could Chuck Hagel Take the White House?". "The Washington Post", Monday, November 15, 2004; Page C01. Retrieved 10 July 2007.
4. ^ [3]
5. ^ CNN. "Hagel: Iraq growing more like Vietnam; Republican Senator says Bush should meet with protesting mom". Politics. CNN, online edition, 18 August 2005. Retrieved 4 March 2007.
6. ^ Babington, Charles. GOP Senators Hold Firm Against Patriot Act Renewal More Safeguards Needed, They Say". Washington Post, online edition, 21 December 2005, p. A04. Retrieved 4 March 2007.
7. ^ UPI. "Hagel takes issue with Rove". United Press International, online edition, 30 January 2006. Retrieved 4 March 2007.
8. ^ CNN. "Key Republican breaks with Bush on Mideast; Nebraska's Sen. Hagel calls for immediate cease-fire". CNN, online edition, 31 July 2006. Retrieved 4 March 2007.
9. ^ Hagel, Chuck. "Leaving Iraq, Honorably". Washington Post, Opinion, p. B07, online edition. 26 November 2006. Retrieved 4 March 2007.
10. ^ News Poll #9977. SurveyUSA. 15 August 2006. Retrieved 4 March 2007.
11. ^ Profile Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel (Republican Jr Senator). On the Issues, Retrieved 4 March 2007.
12. ^ Barrett, Ted. "GOP senator: Bush plan could match Vietnam blunder", CNN, online edition, 11 January 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2007.
13. ^ BBC. "US Senate panel rejects Iraq plan". BBC News, online edition, Americas, 24 January 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2007
14. ^ [4]
15. ^ Barrett, Ted. "Dems Plan Senate All-nighter". CNN, Political Ticker blog, July 16, 2007. Retrieved July 16, 2007
16. ^ "Sen. Hagel Leaving Congress After '08", Associated Press (The New York Times), September 11, 2007.
17. ^ NCC. "Senator Chuck Hagel Commencement speaker". North Central College. Retrieved 9 June 2007.

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