Jeff Bingaman: Wikis

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Jeff Bingaman


Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 1983
Serving with Tom Udall
Preceded by Harrison Schmitt

In office
1979–1983
Governor Toney Anaya
Preceded by Toney Anaya
Succeeded by Paul Bardacke

In office
January 3 – January 20, 2001
Preceded by Frank Murkowski
Succeeded by Frank Murkowski
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Frank Murkowski
Succeeded by Pete Domenici
Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 4, 2007
Preceded by Pete Domenici

Born October 3, 1943 (1943-10-03) (age 66)
El Paso, Texas
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Anne Kovacovich Bingaman
Residence Santa Fe, New Mexico
Alma mater Stanford Law School (J.D.)
Harvard University (B.A.)
Occupation attorney
Religion Methodist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1968-1974
Unit Reserves

Jesse Francis "Jeff" Bingaman, Jr. (born October 3, 1943), is the senior U.S. Senator from New Mexico. He has been in the Senate since 1983 and is a member of the Democratic Party. Bingaman was Attorney General of New Mexico from 1978 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 1982, when he defeated Republican incumbent and former astronaut Harrison Schmitt. He was re-elected in 1988, 1994, 2000, and 2006.

After 26 years spent as a Junior Senator, Bingaman became New Mexico's Senior Senator, as Pete Domenici decided to not seek reelection in 2008. In the general elections held on November 4, 2008, Democrat Tom Udall won Domenici's seat in the Senate.

Contents

Early life

Bingaman was born in El Paso, Texas to Frances Bethia Ball and Jesse Francis Bingaman.[1] He grew up in Silver City, New Mexico. His father taught at Western New Mexico University and his mother taught in the public schools system. At age 15, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout.[2] The Boy Scouts of America later presented Bingaman with their Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.[3]

After graduating from Silver High School, Bingaman went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Harvard University in 1965. He then entered Stanford Law School, graduating in 1968. Bingaman is married to Anne Kovacovich Bingaman; they have one child. He met his wife while attending law classes.

After his admission to the bar, Bingaman commenced work as a private practice attorney alongside his wife. He also served as counsel to the New Mexico Constitutional Convention of 1969. From 1968 to 1974, Bingaman was a member of the US Army Reserve.

State Attorney General

Bingaman had worked briefly in the state attorney general's office. He ran for the leadership position of this office in 1978 and was elected. Environmental and antitrust issues were some of his biggest concerns while in this position.

U.S. Senate

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Committee assignments

Tenure

In 1982, Bingaman unseated the one term incumbent, Harrison Schmitt to win his first term in the Senate. Bingaman is Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a member of the Finance Committee; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; and Joint Committee on the Economy.

Generally, Bingaman keeps a lower national profile than conventional wisdom would suggest for a five-term Senator. However, he is very popular in New Mexico; he has only faced substantive opposition once, in 1994.

Bingaman and his Senate colleague Pete Domenici were the longest serving duo among senators in the 110th United States Congress (2007–2009). In second place were Edward Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts. Bingaman was the most senior junior senator in the 110th United States Congress. Currently, Bingaman is the senior senator from New Mexico. On April 28, 2008, Jeff Bingaman endorsed Senator Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination.

On December 13, 2008, Bingaman was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from New Mexico State University at the university's Fall 2008 commencement ceremony.

Political positions

Immigration

Being from a border state with Mexico, Bingaman has been much involved in the debate over illegal immigration. He believes in increased enforcement of borders to stem the flow of illegal immigrants, including more patrol agents and the use of surveillance cameras. However, he also believes that the U.S. should enact a guest worker program so that immigrants looking for honest work can arrive legally[1].

Energy and the environment

Throughout his political career, Bingaman has burnished a pro-environmental record. He has worked consistently to protect wildlife and public lands. He spoke publicly about the necessity of the Clean Energy Act of 2007, citing the importance of developing clean technology and green jobs. He stated his support for the bill's principle of eliminating tax breaks on gas and oil companies.[4]

Since 2006, Bingaman has been working on a bill that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions via a "cap and trade" system." He has stated that he would like to see his plan implemented so that emissions would be reduced to 1990 levels by 2030. His bill would also increase levels of federal funding for research and development of green technologies.[5]

Abortion and civil rights

Bingaman has voted in line with the liberal wing of his party on abortion, and he has received a 100% rating from the pro-choice NARAL. He has voiced his support to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.[6] Although he voted in 1996 for the Defense of Marriage Act, he voted against a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and has been ranked favorably by gay rights groups (89% from the HRC). He has also voted twice against a proposed amendment to ban flag desecration and has supported affirmative action[2].

Iraq War

On October 11, 2002, Jeff Bingaman was among the 23 Senators who did not vote for authorizing the Iraq War. [3].

Crime and torture

Bingaman has a generally prorehabilitation stance on crime, supporting more programs to prevent youth crime, lower high school dropout rates, and stop drug use. Bingaman has been an outspoken critic of the US prison at Guantanamo Bay. He cites the need for due process of law for detainees by saying:

"The current practice of holding detainees or prisoners indefinitely, without affording them basic due process rights, has been widely criticized in this country and throughout the world. For a country such as ours that has consistently advocated for the rule of law, the policies of the current administration are nothing short of a major embarrassment... How we handle prisoners can have a dramatic impact on how our own men and women are treated in the event they are themselves taken prisoner."[4]

Electoral history

  • United States Senate election in New Mexico, 1994
  • United States Senate election in New Mexico, 1988
    • Jeff Bingaman (D) (inc.), 63.2%
    • Bill Valentine (R), 36.8%
  • United States Senate election in New Mexico, 1982

Footnotes

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Toney Anaya
Attorney General of New Mexico
1979–1983
Succeeded by
Paul Bardacke
United States Senate
Preceded by
Harrison Schmitt
United States Senator (Class 1) from New Mexico
1983 – present
Served alongside: Pete Domenici, Tom Udall
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Murkowski
Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
2001–2003
Succeeded by
Pete Domenici
Preceded by
Pete Domenici
Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
2007 – present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Arlen Specter
D-Pennsylvania
United States Senators by seniority
12th
Succeeded by
John Kerry
D-Massachusetts

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