Bill Frist

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Bill Frist bigraphy, stories - physician, businessman, and politician

Bill Frist : biography

February 22, 1952 –

William Harrison "Bill" Frist, Sr. (born February 22, 1952) is an American physician, businessman, and politician. He began his career as a heart and lung transplant surgeon. Frist later served two terms as a Republican United States Senator representing Tennessee. He was the Republican Majority Leader from 2003 until his retirement in 2007.

Entering politics

In 1990, Frist met with former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker about the possibilities of public office. Baker advised him to pursue the Senate, and in 1992 suggested that Frist begin preparations to run in 1994. Frist began to build support. He served on Tennessee’s Governor’s Medicaid Task Force from 1992 to 1993, joined the National Steering Committee of the Republican National Committee’s Health Care Coalition, and was deputy director of the Tennessee Bush-Quayle ’92 campaign.

During the 1994 election Frist promised not to serve for more than two terms, a promise he honored. He accused his opponent, incumbent Senator Jim Sasser, of "sending Tennessee money to Washington, DC", and said, "While I’ve been transplanting lungs and hearts to heal Tennesseans, Jim Sasser has been transplanting Tennesseans’ wallets to Washington, home of Marion Barry." During the campaign he also criticized Sasser for trying to become Senate Majority Leader, claiming that his opponent would be spending more time taking care of Senate business than Tennessee business. Frist won the election, defeating Sasser by 13 points in the 1994 Republican sweep of both Houses of Congress, thus becoming the first physician in the Senate since June 17, 1938, when Royal S. Copeland died.

In his 2000 reelection campaign, Frist easily won with 66 percent of the vote. He received the largest vote total ever by a statewide candidate. Frist’s 2000 campaign organization was later fined by the Federal Election Commission for failing to disclose a $1.44 million loan taken out jointly with the 1994 campaign organization. on 1 Jun 2006

Ideology and issues

Frist’s primary legislative focus has been on issues of concern to the health care industry and on pro-life issues. He also opposes abortion and all federal funding of abortion. In the Senate, he led the fight against partial birth abortion, voted for the Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 2003 and against an amendment to include a woman’s health exception (as he considered the procedure to be hazardous to a woman’s health).

Frist supported a total ban on human cloning, including for embryonic stem cell research. Since 2001, Frist had stood beside Bush in his insistence that only currently existing lines be used for stem cell research. But in July 2005, after severely criticizing the MLO, Frist reversed course and endorsed a House-passed plan to expand federal funding of the research, saying "it’s not just a matter of faith, it’s a matter of science." Up to that point the legislation had been considered bottled up in the Senate. The decision quickly drew criticism from some Christian groups such as James Dobson, but garnered praise from some Democrats and many Republicans, including former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Frist supports programs to fight AIDS and African poverty. He travels to Africa frequently to provide medical care.

On education, Frist supports the No Child Left Behind Act, which passed in 2001 with bipartisan support. In August 2005, he announced his support for teaching intelligent design in public school science classes.

He opposes same-sex marriage and adoption by homosexual couples.http://ontheissues.org/Senate/Bill_Frist.htm He supports the death penalty.

In November 2005, Frist told reporters that he was less concerned about possible torture at CIA secret prisons than he was about potentially compromising the security of millions of Americans. Flying home after visiting the Guantanamo Bay detention center he said September 10, 2006 he expects bipartisan support for putting top captured al-Qaeda figures on trial before military commissions and for guidelines on how they should be treated. Frist visited the detention center in eastern Cuba, which holds some 460 detainees, including 14 top alleged al-Qaida figures recently transferred from CIA custody. He stated that his visit with fellow Republicans Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, was especially poignant coming one day short of the fifth anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. Frist said that visiting the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, and recognizing that the 14 individuals who likely contributed to the September 11, 2001 attacks were there, led him to realize how critical it is that the U.S. define the appropriate criteria to make sure that the government have the information to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again. The senators didn’t see the 14 new detainees, but visited Guantanamo to learn of the interrogation techniques. In his mind, the detainees are being treated in a safe and humane way.