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Connecticut’s Favorite Son — Recapping Senator Joe Lieberman’s life of public service

Besides the race for President, another key battle that is capturing the attention of Democrats and Republican pundits this election season is taking place right here in Connecticut, where Congressman Chris Murphy and businesswoman Linda McMahon are fighting to become the nutmeg state’s next Senator. The winner, of course, will have tall boots to fill: those of Connecticut’s senior Senator Joe Lieberman, who is retiring at the end of this, his fourth term.  And so, as the campaign continued to heat up in  its final weeks, we stepped out of the political kitchen for just a moment for a look back at the remarkable career of one of Connecticut’s favorite sons.

Pre-Senate
1942  Joseph Isadore Lieberman is born in Stamford on February 24, the son of Marcia (Manger) and Henry Lieberman
1962-1964
While a political science and economics major at Yale University, Lieberman serves as chairman of the Yale Daily News
1963
  Serves as a summer intern for Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff; Participates in Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, and leads a group of Yale classmates to Mississippi to help register black voters
1964
Graduates from Yale University – the first person in his family to graduate from college
1967
Graduates from Yale Law School and joins the New Haven-based law firm of Wiggin & Dana LLP
1970
Elected to the Connecticut state senate for New Haven
1974-1980
Serves as Connecticut state senate Majority Leader
1980
Loses his bid to represent Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District in the House
1980-1982
Returns to private legal practice
1983-1988
Serves as Connecticut Attorney General
1988
Elected to the Senate, defeating Republican incumbent Lowell P. Weicker Jr.
1989
Sworn into the United States Senate

First Term: 1989-1994
1990 Establishes himself as an environmental champion and spearheads improvements to the Clean Air Act; Introduces and secures establishment of Connecticut’s first National Park unit at Weir Farm in Wilton; Introduces and secures passage of the Long Island Sound Improvement Act, establishing a Long Island Sound office at the EPA; Introduces and passes legislation quadrupling the size of the Stewart McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, extending it along the Connecticut coast
1991
Lieberman is one of only ten Democrats to co-sponsor the resolution authorizing military force during the Persian Gulf War; Introduces and secures passage of legislation creating the Silvio Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, which extends the entire length of the Connecticut River
1993
Leads the charge to reverse legislation that would have closed the submarine base in Groton, and fights for the continuation of Groton’s specialized submarine Seawolf Program, which was at risk of being canceled;
Holds hearings on violence in video games; plays an integral role in the establishment of a rating system, and restricting sales of mature games to minors; Proposes alternative health care legislation to counter that of the Clinton Administration; Secures the designation of the Upper Farmington River as Connecticut’s first Wild and Scenic River
1994
Co-authors legislation to create charter school programs in Washington, D.C.
1994-2000
Serves as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, promoting moderate policies within the Democratic Party

Second Term: 1994-2000
1994 Re-elected with biggest landslide victory of his career, receiving 67 percent of the vote in Connecticut
1998
In a major Senate floor address, Lieberman becomes the first congressional Democrat to publicly criticize President Clinton during the Lewinski scandal, although he stops short of calling for impeachment; Serves as part of the U.S. delegation to the international environmental conference that drafted the Kyoto Protocols in December; Authors and introduces his first comprehensive climate change bill; Secures six years of federal funding for Connecticut transportation infrastructure; In a major floor address, Lieberman supports the Joint Experimentation Force, which creates a command solely responsible for making the armed services work together in a coherent manner; Helps pass the Charter School Expansion Act, expanding the number of high-quality charter schools to children across the United States

Third Term: 2000-2006
2000 Vice President Al Gore selects Lieberman as his vice presidential running mate; despite losing the election, Lieberman makes history as the first Jewish candidate on a major party ticket; Introduces and secures passage of the Long Island Sound Restoration Act, which authorizes funding for projects to reduce nitrogen loading and improve and monitor water quality
2001
Becomes chairman of the Committee on Government Affairs; Leads a successful filibuster of legislation that would have opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration; over the course of his career, Lieberman has introduced legislation every two years to permanently protect the Arctic Refuge, and has routinely blocked attempts to open the Arctic Refuge
2002
In the year following the 9/11 attacks, Lieberman leads the charge to establish the 9/11 Commission, whose mission it is to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the attacks
2002
As chairman of the Government Affairs Committee, Lieberman is instrumental in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security
2002
Through the Committee on Government Affairs, Lieberman champions the revolutionary E-Government Act, improving the management of electronic government services
2003
Lieberman and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) partner to introduce their first climate change legislation together
2003-2004
Runs for President in the Democratic primaries, but eventually withdraws from the race
2005
Fights to save the Groton submarine base from closing during the Base Realignment and Closure process; Writes an op-ed supporting the mission in Iraq after travelling to the region; McCain-Lieberman reintroduce climate change legislation
2006
Votes against Democratic proposed amendments to withdraw troops from Iraq and reaffirms his commitment to supporting the mission there; Loses the Democratic Senate primary, but runs and wins for his fourth term as an Independent; During the most difficult period of the war, Lieberman travels to Iraq with Senator McCain and Senator Graham (R-SC), and reaffirms his commitment to supporting the mission there; Introduces and secured passage of the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act, which protects the Long Island Sound by providing financial incentives to landowners to preserve the environmental quality of the Sound, and improve public access

Fourth Term: 2006-2012
2007 Supports the Surge in Iraq despite intense criticism from the Democratic Party; Partners with Senator Warner (R-VA) on legislation to address climate change; Supports the bipartisan America COMPETES Act to expand America’s science and technology education efforts
2008
Supports John McCain for President and speaks at the Republican National Convention
2008-2009
Holds hearings to investigate the causes of the financial collapse, and votes in favor of TARP and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
2009
Organizes the first successful vote to terminate the alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter, a redundant and expensive program that the Department of Defense did not want or need and that was terminated for good the following year
2010
Advocates for congressional passage of a bipartisan deficit reduction plan, Lieberman again negotiates climate change legislation, this time with Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and John Kerry (D-MA); Along with Senator Collins (R-ME), Lieberman successfully leads the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that was signed into law on December 22
2011
After 22 years of serving Connecticut in the U.S. Senate, Senator Lieberman announces his plans to retire on January 19; Publishes his seventh book: The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath.”
2012
In addition to his focus on foreign policy issues, Lieberman has spent much of his last year in Congress, working on postal reform and cybersecurity legislation to address the growing threat of cyber attacks on our nation

 

 

 

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