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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blanche Lincoln

Assumed office 
January 3, 1999
Serving with Mark Pryor
Preceded by Dale Bumpers

Assumed office 
September 9, 2009
Preceded by Tom Harkin

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by William Alexander, Jr.
Succeeded by Marion Berry

Born September 30, 1960 (1960-09-30) (age 49)
Helena, Arkansas
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Dr. Steve Lincoln
Residence Little Rock, Arkansas
Alma mater Randolph-Macon Woman's College
Profession political aide
Religion Episcopalian

Blanche Meyers Lambert Lincoln (born September 30, 1960) is the senior U.S. Senator from Arkansas and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected to the Senate in 1998, she was the first woman elected to the Senate from Arkansas since Hattie Caraway in 1932 and, at age 38, was the youngest woman elected to the Senate.[1] She previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Arkansas's 1st congressional district from 1993 to 1997.

Lincoln is the first woman to serve as chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.[1] She is currently seeking a third term in 2010.


Early life

A seventh-generation Arkansan, Blanche Lambert was born in Helena, Phillips County, to Jordan and Martha (née Kelly) Lambert.[2] Her father was a farmer who grew rice and cotton.[2][3] Her older sister, Mary Lambert, is a film director.[4] She received her early education at the local public schools in Helena, and was the student council president at Central High School from 1977 to 1978.[2]

Following her high school graduation, Lambert attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where she was a member of the Chi Omega sorority,[2] before transferring to Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia. She earned her Bachelor's degree in biology from Randolph-Macon in 1982.[5] She originally sought to go into nursing.[6]

Early career and the House of Representatives

Immediately after graduating from college, she moved to Washington, D.C. and became a staff assistant to U.S. Representative Bill Alexander, a Democrat from Arkansas's 1st congressional district.[5] She remained in Alexander's office until 1984, when she took a job as a lobbyist.[2] In 1992, Lambert returned to Arkansas and defeated Alexander (who had become a major figure in the House banking scandal) in the Democratic primary, by a margin of 61 to 39 percent. She subsequently won the general election with 70 percent of the vote. Her election to the House coincided with the election of fellow Arkansan Democrat, Bill Clinton, as President of the United States.

She was reelected to a second term under her married name, Blanche Lincoln, and served in the House of Representatives until 1997. Lincoln did not stand for reelection in 1996; she was pregnant at that time.

Senate career

Lincoln speaks during the second day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

In 1998, Lincoln returned to politics and ran for the Senate seat being vacated by incumbent Democrat Dale Bumpers. She defeated her Republican opponent, Fay Boozman, the brother of future congressman John Boozman, by a margin of 55%-42%.

Lincoln serves on the Senate Finance Committee; Special Committee on Aging; Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee; Senate Social Security Task Force; Rural Health Caucus; Senate New Democrat Coalition. Lincoln has concentrated primarily on issues involving farmers, and rural issues. She is one of the primary advocates of the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), which is designed to spur development in the lower Mississippi Delta region. She is also the Chair of Rural Outreach for the Senate Democratic Caucus.

She calls herself a centrist Democrat. She was among the minority of Democrats to support CAFTA and she is opposed to some protectionist trade measures. While in the House, she was one of only 17 Democrats to vote for the Teamwork for Employees and Managers Act of 1995 which sought to change federal employment laws. The law was vetoed by President Bill Clinton. She has voted in favor restricting class action lawsuits and tightening rules on personal bankruptcy. Though initially she was one of the few Democrats in Congress to vote in favor of the first of the Bush administration's tax cuts, passed in 2001, she now advocates scaling back or eliminating the portions of that tax cut, and has opposed making the Bush tax cuts permanent. She supports the permanent elimination of the estate tax. On April 5, 1995 she was one of only 27 Democrats in the House to vote in favor of the Contract With America Tax Relief Act, which was approved by the House but never put into law. Lincoln also voted while a member of the House to amend the constitution to require a balanced-budget amendment; she did, however, vote against the line-item veto. She voted with the more populist element of her party in 1996 against the Freedom to Farm Act, while being one of only two Senate Democrats to vote against an agricultural bill reversing many of the reforms of the previous act in 2002.

Lincoln holds a press conference with Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee regarding Medicare and the proposed changes to the system.

Lincoln cast a vote to pass the Federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, although she previously supported the Feinstein Amendment (Senate Amendment 261) to the bill, which would strike out the act itself and replace it with "Post Viability Abortion Restriction Act" supported by a significant number of abortion rights supporters as compromise legislation. On the abortion issue, she voted against Laci and Conner's Law and the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act. She voted for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to ban lawsuits against gun manufacturers and distributors while also voting with gun control advocates to renew the federal ban on assault weapons. Lincoln also continues to support a flag desecration amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Lincoln has voted with the majority of Democrats against a federal amendment against gay marriage. She has also voted with the majority of her party against restrictions on travel to Cuba and also to ban anti-Castro broadcasts to the island. In late 2002, she was among the Democrats to vote to approve use of military force in Iraq. The year before she was among a small number of her party to vote against Sen. Christopher Dodd's amendment expressing support for American involvement in an International Criminal Court.

As of 2003, after fellow Democrat Mark Pryor defeated Senator Tim Hutchinson, Lincoln has been Arkansas' senior senator. In 2004, Lincoln was re-elected 56%-44% over State Senator Jim Holt (R-Springdale).

In May 2006, Lincoln voted in favor of S. 2611, a controversial immigration bill which would almost double the number of H1-B visas. Lincoln, like almost all other Senate Democrats and a few of her Republican colleagues, argued that it was a compromise between those who seek the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants, and those who believe in some form of amnesty.[7][8][9]

Lincoln called for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, claiming that the firing of eight federal prosecutors has created a "serious breach between the Justice Department and Congress, a breach that I'm not sure can be repaired with Mr. Gonzales at the helm." She and her Senate colleague, Mark Pryor, were particularly upset that Gonzales reneged on a promise to have a replacement for Bud Cummins, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, go through Senate confirmation. Gonzales ultimately did resign, in August 2007.

Senator Lincoln speaking in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on October 25, 2008.

On December 13, 2007, Lincoln was responsible for defeating an amendment to the pending Farm Bill, which would have capped government farm supports at $250,000 per year, per farm. According to Lincoln, it was unfair to some farmers in her state, notably cotton growers. Even though the amendment passed (56-43), Lincoln threatened a filibuster if any amendment did not get a 60-vote majority, so the amendment was withdrawn after passage.

In September 2009, Lincoln came out against the public option in the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009[10], though she had written favorably of the public option earlier that July.[11] The following month, she spoke out in opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, garnering her the praise of Americans for Tax Reform.[12] In December 2009, Lincoln said that Congress has the right to force individuals to purchase health insurance because the Constitution “charges Congress with the health and well-being of the people.” The words “health” and “well-being” do not appear anywhere in the Constitution.[13]

Lincoln opposes bringing Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the United States for trial.[14]

Her older sister is film director Mary Lambert, who directed the documentary 14 Women, which also includes Lincoln herself.

Committee assignments

Electoral history

Arkansas's 1st congressional district: Results 1992–1994[15]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1992 Blanche M. Lambert 149,558 70% Terry Hayes 64,618 30%
1994 Blanche M. Lambert 95,290 53% Warren Dupwe 83,147 47%
United States Senator from Arkansas (Class III): Results 1998–2004[15]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1998 Blanche L. Lincoln 385,878 55% Fay Boozman 295,870 42% Charley E. Heffley Reform 18,896 3% *
2004 Blanche L. Lincoln 580,973 56% Jim Holt 458,036 44% *
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1998, write-ins received 187 votes. In 2004, Glen A. Schwarz received 212 votes and Gene Mason received 128 votes.


  1. ^ a b "Biography". U.S. Senator Blance Lincoln.  
  2. ^ a b c d e "Blanche Meyers Lambert Lincoln (1960–)". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.  
  3. ^ "About". Blanche Lincoln for Senate.  
  4. ^ "Mary Lambert". The Internet Movie Database.  
  5. ^ a b "LINCOLN, Blanche Lambert, (1960 - )". Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress.  
  6. ^ Barton, Paul (2009-06-18). "From Congress to Costco". Arkansas Times.  
  7. ^
  8. ^ U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote
  9. ^ H-1B visas hit roadblock in Congress | TalkBack on ZDNet
  10. ^ Retrieved on 2009-09-30.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2007-08-08.  

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bill Alexander
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 1st congressional district

1993 – 1997
Succeeded by
Marion Berry
United States Senate
Preceded by
Dale Bumpers
United States Senator (Class 3) from Arkansas
1999 – present
Served alongside: Tim Hutchinson, Mark Pryor
Preceded by
Tom Harkin
Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
2009 – present
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Mike Crapo
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
George Voinovich

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