Kent Conrad

Kent Conrad

Infobox Officeholder
name = Kent Conrad

imagesize =

caption =
order = Senior Senator
from North Dakota
term_start = December 14, 1992
Serving with Byron Dorgan
term_end =
predecessor = Jocelyn Burdick
successor =
term_start2 = January 6, 1987
term_end2 = December 14, 1992
predecessor2 = Mark Andrews
successor2 = Byron Dorgan
order3 = Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget
term_start3 = January 4, 2007
term_end3 =
predecessor3 = Judd Gregg
successor3 =
term_start3 = January 4, 2007
term_end3 =
predecessor3 = Judd Gregg
successor3 =
term_start4 = June 6, 2001
term_end4 = January 3, 2003
predecessor4 = Pete Domenici
successor4 = Don Nickles
term_start5 = January 3
term_end5 = January 20, 2001
predecessor5 = Pete Domenici
successor5 = Pete Domenici
order6 = Tax Commissioners of North Dakota
term_start6 = 1981
term_end6 = 1987
governor6 = Allen I. Olson
George Sinner
predecessor6 = Byron Dorgan
successor6 = Heidi Heitkamp
birth_date=birth date and age|1948|03|12
birth_place=Bismarck, North Dakota
spouse=Pam Schafer (divorced),
Nicholas Hudson
children=Jessamyn Conrad
religion=Unitarian Universalist [ [ Kent Conrad on the issues] ]
alma_mater=Stanford University
residence= Bismarck, North Dakota
occupation= taxation civil servant

Gaylord Kent Conrad (b. March 12 1948, Bismarck, North Dakota) is a United States senator from North Dakota. He is a member of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party, the North Dakota affiliate of the Democratic Party. He is the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Early years and education

Kent Conrad was born in Bismarck, North Dakota to German-American parents and lived much of his early life in Bismarck. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised by his grandparents. He attended Roosevelt Elementary and Hughes Junior High, and several years of high school in Tripoli, Libya. He graduated in 1966 from Phillips Exeter Academy, like his opposite on the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Judd Gregg. He went to college at Stanford and received an MBA from George Washington University.

Conrad has been married twice. His first wife, Pam, is the sister of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer. [ [ Meet the nominee for Secretary of Agriculture ] ] [ [ Bush nominates former North Dakota governor as Agriculture secretary (10/31/07) - ] ] They had one daughter, Jessamyn. Following their divorce, Conrad married Lucy Calautti, a lobbyist for Major League Baseball.

Initial career

After graduating college, he became became a civil servant, working as an assistant to the North Dakota tax commissioner, Byron Dorgan, who later became his colleague in the Senate. Conrad made his first entry into politics when he ran unsucessfully for the North Dakota Auditor's office in 1976. In 1980, Conrad succeeded Dorgan as tax commissioner. Conrad was state tax commissioner until 1986, when he ran for Senate.

Senate career


In the 1986 election, Conrad defeated the Republican incumbent, Mark Andrews, by 2,100 votes in what some may consider an upset; Andrews had represented North Dakota at the federal level since 1963 (he had previously served in the House before moving to the Senate in 1981).

During the campaign, Conrad pledged that he would not run for re-election if the Federal budget deficit had not fallen by the end of his term. By 1992 it became obvious that this would not be the case, and although polls showed that the electors would have welcomed him going back on his pledge, Conrad considered his promise binding and did not run for re-election. Dorgan won the Democratic primary election.

Conrad got an unusual opportunity to remain in the Senate when the other North Dakota senator, long-serving Dem-NPLer Quentin Burdick, died on September 8, 1992. Burdick's widow, Jocelyn Birch Burdick, was appointed to that seat temporarily, but a special election was needed to fill the rest of the term. As this was not running for re-election, Conrad ran for and secured the Democratic-NPL nomination. He won the special election and was sworn in December 14, 1992, resigning his other seat the same day. (The first seat was then filled by Dorgan, who was appointed by the governor on December 15, 1992 to fill the seat for the brief interim until he would have been sworn in under normal circumstances.)

Despite North Dakota's Republican lean, Conrad was handily reelected in 1994 — a year in which marginal seats everywhere fell to Republicans. He hasn't faced serious opposition since.

Political positions

Conrad has been very vocal in his opposition to the spending policies of the Bush Administration. He contends that they have worsened the problems of national debt. Conrad is opposed to most free-trade measures and is a strong supporter of farming subsidies to family farmers.

Conrad is more moderate than many in his own party on the issues of abortion and gun control. He is one of the few members of the Democratic Party to have voted consistently in favor of banning the procedure commonly referred to as "partial-birth" abortion. He also opposes public funding of abortion. However, Conrad voted in favor of lifting the ban on military base abortions. [ [ Kent Conrad on Abortion ] ] Conrad also has a mixed record on gay rights. While he personally is opposed to gay marriage, he voted against a propsed constitutional ban on the matter and has supported bills that prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. On January 31, 2006, Conrad was one of only four Democrats to vote in favor of confirming Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.

Conrad voted against approving use of military force in Iraq in 1991 and was one of only 23 senators to vote against the war resolution of 2002. While he initially voted in favor of the PATRIOT Act, he has been a staunch opponent of warrantless wiretapping and of the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.

In April 2006, he was selected by "Time" as one of "America's 10 Best Senators". That same year, he was commended by "The American" for his knowledge of econoimc issues.

Conrad is widely known for being very detailed in his analysis of monetary policies and budget issues. He almost always uses charts, graphs, and other visuals at press conferences as well as on the Senate floor. He considers himself a "deficit hawk" because of his calls for a balanced federal budget [] . Conrad has been an outspoken supporter of creating a more progressive taxation system. He has voted against Republican proposals to repeal the estate, death, and alternative minimum taxes. He supports lowered middle class taxes, but increasing them for those making over $1 million per year, and Conrad also believes that the Bush tax cuts should be repealed and that revenues made from doing so should go to education and deficit reduction.

Kent Conrad was one of the very first Senators to have endorsed Senator Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic Presidential Race.

Conrad is also a leading member of the "Gang of 10", a bipartisan group which has created a compromise for American energy policy.

Countrywide Financial loan scandal

In June 2008, it was reported that Senate Conrad had received mortgages on favorable terms for a second home and an apartment building due to his association with Countrywide CEO Angelo R. Mozilo. [ Countrywide's Many 'Friends'] Conde Nast Portfolio, June 12, 2008] Conrad has acknowledged he spoke with Angelo Mozilo, the Countrywide CEO, by phone. [ ] In an April 23, 2004, email about one of Senator Conrad loans, Mozilo encouraged an employee to “make an exception due to the fact that the borrower is a senator.” Conrad denied any prior knowledge of such treatment and gave away the mortage discount to charity. [ [ James R. Hagerty, Damian Paletta and Glenn R. Simpson, "Conrad, Dodd Deny Special Treatmant on Mortgages," "Wall Street Journal" June 14, 2008; Page A3] ] [] Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has called on the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Conrad. []

2006 re-election campaign

In 2006, Republicans heavily wooed popular Governor John Hoeven to face him. Hoeven was considered by many analysts to be the only Republican who could possibly defeat Conrad. However, Hoeven declined, effectively handing Conrad a fourth full term.

The only Republican to file by the deadline was Dwight Grotberg, an Anderson town councilman and farmer from Sanborn in Barnes County.

As of August 2006, Conrad had the highest approval rating among his constituents of any U.S. Senator, at 74% approval to only 21% disapproval, despite his being a Democrat in a historically Republican state. []

Committee assignments

*Committee on Finance
**Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure
**Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy
**Subcommittee on Taxation, IRS Oversight, and Long-Term Growth (Chairman)
*Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
**Subcommittee on Domestic and Foreign Marketing, Inspection, and Plant and Animal Health
**Subcommittee on Energy, Science and Technology (Chairman)
**Subcommittee on Production, Income Protection and Price Support
*Committee on the Budget (Chairman)
*Committee on Indian Affairs
*Joint Committee on Taxation

Electoral history

Conrad is the only person ever to hold two U.S. Senate seats on the same day.Fact|date=May 2008

1988: United States Senate

* Kent Conrad (D) 49.8%
* Mark Andrews (R) (inc.) 49%

1994: United States Senate

* Kent Conrad (D) (inc.) 58%
* Ben Clayburgh (R) 42%

2000: United States Senate

* Kent Conrad (D) (inc.) 61%
* Duane Sand (R) 38%

2006: United States Senate

* Kent Conrad (D) (inc.) 68.8%
* Dwight Grotberg (R) 29.5%
* Roland Riemers (I) 1%
* James Germalic (I) 0.6%

ee also

*North Dakota's United States Senate special election, 1992
*North Dakota United States Senate election, 1994
*North Dakota United States Senate election, 2000
*North Dakota United States Senate election, 2006


External links

* [ United States Senator Kent Conrad] , U.S. Senate site
* [ New York Times — Kent Conrad News] collected news and commentary
* [ SourceWatch Congresspedia — Kent Conrad] profile
* [ — Kent Conrad]

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