Lamar Alexander bigraphy, stories - senior United States Senator from Tennessee

Lamar Alexander : biography

July 3, 1940 -

Andrew Lamar Alexander, Jr. (born July 3, 1940) is an American politician and the senior United States Senator from Tennessee, serving since 2003. A member of the Republican Party, Alexander previously served as the Conference Chair of the Republican Party in the U.S. Senate from 2007 to 2012.

Born in Maryville, Tennessee, Alexander is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and New York University School of Law. He worked as a legislative assistant to Senator Howard Baker and as an assistant in the Nixon Administration in the late 1960s. He won the Republican nomination for the 1974 Tennessee gubernatorial election, but was defeated by Congressman Ray Blanton in the general election. In 1978, Alexander defeated Knoxville Democrat Jake Butcher for the governorship, serving as the 45th Governor of Tennessee from 1979 to 1987. In 1991, he was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to serve as Secretary of Education, from 1991 to 1993. Alexander ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000.

He defeated Democratic Congressman Bob Clement to replace outgoing Senator Fred Thompson in 2002, and won reelection in 2008. Alexander announced that he will run for reelection in 2014.

After governorship

Moving with his family to Australia for a time, he would soon return to Tennessee and became the president of the University of Tennessee (1988–1991), and United States Secretary of Education (1991–1993). As Education Secretary, he sparked controversy after he approved Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) to accredit schools despite an advisory panel that repeatedly recommended against it in 1991 and 1987. In 1993, Steve Levicoff published a book-length critical discussion of TRACS and Alexander's decision in When the TRACS Stop Short.Steve Levicoff, When the TRACS Stop Short: An Evaluation and Critique of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, (Institute on Religion and Law, 1993)

Former Department of Education employee and writer Lisa Schiffren has stated that, "His fortune is founded on sweetheart deals not available to the general public, and a series of cozy sinecures provided by local businessmen. Such deals are not illegal..." Schiffren further notes that, in 1987, Alexander helped found Corporate Child Care Management, Inc. (now known as Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc.), a company thatvia a mergeris now the nation's largest provider of worksite day care. While businessman Jack C. Massey spent $2 million on this enterprise, Alexander co-founded the company with only $5,000 of stock which increased in value to $800,000, a 15,900 percent return within four years. Also in 1987, he a wrote a never-cashed investment check for $10,000 to Christopher Whittle for shares in Whittle Communications that increased in value to $330,000. In 1991, Alexander's house just purchased for $570,000 was sold to Whittle for $977,500. Alexander's wife obtained an $133,000 profit from her $8,900 investment in a company created to privatize prisons. Alexander frequently shifted assets to his wife's name, yet such transfers are not legal under federal ethics and security laws. In his 2005 U.S. Senate financial disclosure report, he listed personal ownership of BFAM (Bright Horizons Family Solutions) stock valued (at that time) between $1 million and $5 million dollars. He taught about the American character as a faculty member at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Alexander made two unsuccessful runs for President of the United States, in the 1996 and 2000 election cycles. In 1996, he finished third in both the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary and dropped out before the Super Tuesday primaries. After dropping out of the race, Alexander took an advisory role in the Dole/Kemp campaign."Reading, Writing, and Reform" (transcript of a news-program debate among Bob Dole, Lamar Alexander, and Albert Shanker), Aug 22, 1996 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/teachers_unions_8-22.html His second candidacy, in which he traveled around the U.S. in a Ford Explorer, eschewing a campaign bus or plane, lasted less than six months, being announced March 9, 1999, and withdrawn August 16, 1999 (after a poor showing in the Ames Straw Poll), both times in Nashville."Lamar Alexander" http://www.christcenteredmall.com/news/politics/Republican-Race/alexander-profile.htm A New York Times article during this second run suggested that Alexander believed the Republican Party's presidential nominating process had been stymied by the media and big money interests.Melinda Henneberger, "," New York Time, August 12, 1999.

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