John Breaux

John Breaux

Infobox Senator | name=John Breaux

jr/sr=United States Senator
term_start=January 6, 1987
term_end=January 3, 2005
preceded=Russell B. Long
succeeded=David Vitter
date of birth=birth date and age |1944|03|1
place of birth=Crowley, Louisiana
date of death=
place of death=
law school=Louisiana State University, 1967
spouse=Lois Daigle Breaux
religion=Roman Catholic

John Berlinger Breaux (IPAEng|bɹo:) (born March 1, 1944) is a former United States senator from Louisiana who served from 1987 until 2005. He was also a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1972 to 1987. He was considered one of the more Conservative national legislators from the Democratic Party. Breaux was a member of the New Democrat Coalition.

Early life and career

Breaux was born in Crowley, Louisiana, on March 1, 1944. He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now called the University of Louisiana at Lafayette) in Lafayette in 1964 and from Louisiana State University Law School in Baton Rouge in 1967. After graduation, he practiced law, and then served as an assistant to U.S. Representative Edwin Edwards. He also is a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity.

Breaux in Congress

Breaux was elected as a Democrat to the 92nd United States Congress in a special election on September 30, 1972, to fill the vacancy caused by Edwards' resignation. At the age of 28, he was then the youngest member of the House of Representatives. Breaux was re-elected to the seven succeeding Congresses and served until January 3, 1987. He was not a candidate for re-election to the House of Representatives in 1986, but was instead elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1986. In the 1986 jungle primary, Breaux finished second (447,328 or 37.3 percent) to Sixth District Republican Congressman W. Henson Moore, III, of Baton Rouge (529,433 or 44.2 percent). State Senator Samuel B. Nunez polled another 73,504 votes (6.7 percent). In the general election, Breaux turned the tables on Moore: 723,586 (52.8 percent) to 646,311 (47.2 percent), a margin of 77,275 ballots. Thereafter, Moore took a sub-Cabinet position with the administration of George H. W. Bush, and Breaux took the Senate seat that he would hold for eighteen years. Breaux was not seriously opposed in the 1992 and 1998 elections.

Breaux was seen as a centrist in a Senate divided along partisan lines, and was frequently sought out by Republican leaders to corral a few Democratic votes when they needed them; conversely he also often served as the Democratic emissary in attempts to gather a few moderate Republicans to win votes on their proposals. He was pro-life and a supporter of Second Amendment rights, though he gradually moderated his position on gun control. He was more conservative on taxes than most in his party and challenged many environmental protections. He voted in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), welfare reform, the balanced budget amendment, and tighter bankruptcy laws. He was a key Democratic supporter of Republican attempts to abolish the estate tax and in 2001 was among the minority of Democrats to support Bush's tax cut and opposed virtually all attempts by Democrats to alter it. However Breaux had voted with the majority of Democrats in favor of the 1993 Budget. In 2003 he submitted an amendment to reduce the tax cut to $350 billion. In 1995 he notably voted twice with more liberal elements of his party against the widely approved lawsuit reform measures, the Common Sense Product Liability and Legal Reform Act and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. Both acts were vetoed by President Bill Clinton, although the second act was passed over his veto.

In 1993, Breaux was elected by Senate Democrats as Deputy Majority Whip, a position he held until his retirement. He also held a number of key Senate committee positions. A senior member of the Finance Committee, Senator Breaux served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security and Family Policy. From his position on the Finance Committee, he helped build the coalition that passed welfare reform and health insurance reform bills in 1996. He also pushed for a reduction in the capital gains tax and for tax relief for college education expenses. In 1998, Breaux was selected by the White House and House and Senate leaders to chair the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. Also in 1998, Senator Breaux co-chaired the National Commission on Retirement Policy, which produced legislation to help reform Social Security.

Breaux was a founder of the Centrist Coalition of Senate Democrats and Republicans, and served as Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.

In the 2003 Louisiana gubernatorial campaign, after flirting briefly with the possibility of running himself, Breaux campaigned hard for the successful Democratic candidate, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Lafayette.

He announced that he would not run for re-election in 2004; by most accounts he was so popular that he would have breezed to a fourth term had he run again. He was succeeded in the Senate by Republican David Vitter of suburban New Orleans. Though Breaux was considered a popular politician in Louisiana, he was unable to dictate his successor in the Senate. He endorsed the losing Democratic candidate, Chris John, who represented same Seventh District that Breaux had once represented.

Since the Senate

In February 2005, Breaux took a position as Distinguished Professor in the Douglas Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Since 2005, Breaux has been a lobbyist for Washington, DC, firm Patton Boggs LLP, specializing in issues of health care and energy law.Since leaving office, Breaux has spearheaded his own national campaign, “Ceasefire on Health Care: Finding Common Ground for the Uninsured.” Breaux coined the campaign name as a play on the CNN TV program "Crossfire", which he points out has been canceled. Breaux has hosted multiple events with prominent members of both parties to establish a dialogue that will lead to real healthcare reform. Breaux developed the campaign alongside American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies.

Beginning in February 2007, there was much speculation among Louisiana political commentators as to whether Breaux would announce his candidacy in the 2007 Louisiana governors' race. Breaux, arguably the most popular Democratic politician in Louisiana, was considering entering the race, if Blanco would be willing to step aside for Breaux. [cite news
first= Clancy
title=Breaux ex Machina
work=Gambit Weekly
] [cite news
title=Breaux to the Rescue?
work=The Washington Post
] [cite news
first= John
last= Maginnis
title=Desperate Dems look to Breaux again
work=The New Orleans Times-Picayune
] [ [ Breaux may be ineligible to run for governor race] Louisiana State University "The Daily Reveille" February 27, 2007 Retrieved March 22, 2007] On March 20, 2007, Blanco announced that she would not run for re-election as governor. On March 29, 2007, John Breaux made his first Louisiana public appearance since speculation began concerning his potential candidacy. Breaux said that he intended to run, and would announce his candidacy as soon as Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti, a Democrat, gave a formal legal opinion on whether Breaux was eligible to run. It was alleged that he would not meet the residency requirements to run for Governor as he is registered to vote, and has listed his primary address in Maryland since 2005. At issue was the clause in the Louisiana constitution that states that a candidate for governor must be a 'citizen' of the State of Louisiana; what constitutes a citizen is not defined. [cite news
first= Ed
last= Anderson
title= Breaux moves forward with campaign
work=New Orleans Times-Picayune

On April 13 2007, Breaux released a statement that he would not be running for governor. Attorney-General Foti had declined to issue an opinion on Breaux's eligibility, stating it was an issue for the courts to decide. Breaux stated that he did not want the issue of eligibility to overshadow his campaign, as a court challenge would not occur until September. [cite news
first= Ed
last= Anderson
title= Breaux says he won't run for governor
work=New Orleans Times-Picayune

External links

* [ Bio from Ceasefire on Health Care website]


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