Jack Reed: Wikis


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Jack Reed

Assumed office 
January 3, 1997
Serving with Sheldon Whitehouse
Preceded by Claiborne Pell

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Rhode Island's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by Claudine Schneider
Succeeded by Robert Weygand

Born November 12, 1949 (1949-11-12) (age 60)
Cranston, Rhode Island
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Julia Hart
Children Emily Reed
Residence Cranston, Rhode Island
Alma mater West Point (B.S.)
Harvard Kennedy School (M.P.P.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Occupation Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1971 – 1979
Rank Captain
Unit 82nd Airborne Division
325 Infantry

John Francis "Jack" Reed (born November 12, 1949) is the senior United States senator from Rhode Island and a member of the Democratic Party. Prior to his election, Reed was a three-term member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district from January 3, 1991 to January 3, 1997. In the 1996 U.S. Senate election, Reed was elected to succeed Claiborne Pell, with over 63% of the vote. He was subsequently re-elected in 2002 and again in 2008.


Early life and family

Reed was born in Cranston, Rhode Island, to Mary Louise (née Monahan) and Joseph Anthony Reed.[1] Reed graduated from La Salle Academy and the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1971. Following graduation, he spent several years in active duty military service. Reed was an Army Ranger and a paratrooper. He served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantry Platoon leader and in the 325th Infantry Regiment[2] as a Company Commander and later as a Battalion Staff Officer.

Reed attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he received a Masters of Public Policy. He returned to West Point in 1978 as an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences.[3] He left active duty in 1979 after earning the rank of Captain. However, he remained associated with military life until 1991 as a member of the United States Army Reserve.

Reed married professional Senate staffer Julia Hart in a Roman Catholic ceremony in the Catholic chapel on the United States Military Academy campus on April 16, 2005. On January 5, 2007, Mrs. Reed gave birth to a daughter, Emily.

Professional and political experience

After leaving active duty, Reed enrolled in Harvard Law School. In 1982, he graduated with his Juris Doctor and served as an associate at the Washington, D.C. office of law firm of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan. Afterwards, he returned to Rhode Island and joined Edwards and Angell, a Providence law firm. He worked with this group until 1990.

Reed was elected as a state senator in 1984 and served three terms. In 1990, Reed was elected to the United States House of Representatives. For the next six years, Reed became well known in his state for his positions on education and health care, and when Senator Claiborne Pell announced his retirement in 1996, Reed campaigned to be his replacement and won the election. He was easily reelected to a second term in 2002, and to a third in 2008.

Reed is currently a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Committee. Americans for Democratic Action has often listed him as a "hero" as they indicate he has one of the most liberal voting records in the Senate.[4]

Reed speaks during the third night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

Reed's name had been mentioned as a potential Vice Presidential running mate for Barack Obama.[5][6] On July 14, 2008, Reed announced that he was "not interested" in serving as Senator Obama's running mate.[7]

Issue positions

Since his election to Congress, Reed has consistently voted in a similar manner to other New England Democrats, holding generally liberal positions on social and economic issues.



Reed has been an advocate of preventive healthcare. He has generally followed the Democratic line by supporting increased Medicare funding, enrolling more Americans into programs that help the uninsured, allowing prescription drugs to be imported from Canada, and negotiating bulk medication purchases for Medicare in order to lower costs. However, in 2003, he stated that individual states should be allowed to negotiate these bulk purchases on their own.[8]

Economy and jobs

Reed has generally supported fair trade policies over similar ones advocating free trade. He voted against renewing presidential authority for 'fast tracking' normalized trade relations. He also opposed CAFTA and similar free trade proposals for Chile, Singapore, Peru, and Oman. However, Reed voted in favor of normalizing trade relations with China. He has also been a strong supporter of unionizing workers, and he has criticized government and business interference with these groups. He also supports increasing the minimum wage and unemployment compensation.[8]

Civil rights and abortion

The senator has compiled a record that shows he is in favor of affirmative action. He has voted to expand such policies and to set aside money for women and minorities from the highway fund. Reed also has supported gay rights, voting against a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, while voting in favor of measures that prevent job discrimination and hate crimes against homosexuals.[8]

Reed has also consistently voted against proposals to change the Constitution to ban flag desecration and has criticized wiretapping policies. He is strongly pro-choice, and he has rejected proposals to limit late-term abortion, such procedures from occurring on military installations, and the ability of minors to cross state lines to obtain abortions.[8]

Energy and the environment

Reed supports limiting American oil use and expanding alternative energy. He opposes ANWR drilling and federal subsidies for oil exploration, while favoring a 40 percent reduction in oil use by 2025 and funding for hydrogen automobiles. However, he voted to end discussions on CAFE standards. Reed has also been an outspoken proponent of stronger restrictions of mercury use, as well as an end to commercial whaling.

Gun control

The senator has continuously voted against limiting lawsuits on gun manufacturers and has favored expanding gun control. He voted to increase background checks.[8]


Although he voted for the 1996 Immigration Reform Bill, Reed has generally supported allowing illegal immigrants and foreign workers to enter the path to citizenship. He supports Guest Worker programs and allowing immigrants to have access to Social Security. He rejected the idea of establishing English as the nation's official language and has been critical of the effort to fence the US-Mexican border[8]. On February 23, 2010, Reed co-sponsored the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that would allow undocumented students living in the United States from a very young age to gain legal status.[9].

Veteran affairs

Reed has made it a point to maintain liaisons within his office specifically to interact with discharged veterans of the Armed Services. These liaisons often help veterans enter the Department of Veteran Affairs, ensuring that these former servicemen and servicewomen receive the medical care they deserve.[8]

War in Iraq

Reed was one of 23 US senators to vote against H.J. Resolution 114, which authorized President George W. Bush to use force against Iraq in 2002.[10]

Committee assignments

Electoral history

2008 Rhode Island United States Senate Election

Jack Reed (D) (inc.) 73%
Robert G. Tingle (R) 26%

2002 Rhode Island United States Senate Election

Jack Reed (D) (inc.) 78%
Robert G. Tingle (R) 22%

1996 Rhode Island United States Senate Election

Jack Reed (D) 63.3%
Nancy Mayer (R) 35%
Donald W. Lovejoy (I) 1.7%


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Claudine Schneider
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district

1991 – 1997
Succeeded by
Robert Weygand
United States Senate
Preceded by
Claiborne Pell
United States Senator (Class 2) from Rhode Island
1997 – present
Served alongside: John Chafee, Lincoln Chafee, Sheldon Whitehouse
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Tim Johnson
D-South Dakota
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Mary Landrieu


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