Senior Senator, Indiana
|In office |
|Preceded by ||Rupert Vance Hartke |
|Succeeded by ||Incumbent (2013) |
|Born ||April 4, 1932 |
|Political party ||Republican |
|Spouse ||Charlene Smeltzer Lugar |
|Religion ||Methodist |
Richard Green "Dick" Lugar (born April 4, 1932) is the senior Republican United States Senator from Indiana.
Born in Indianapolis to German-American parents, Lugar attended the public schools of Indianapolis, during this time he attained the Boy Scouts' highest rank, Eagle Scout. Later, he became a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He graduated from Denison University in 1954, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi, going on to attend Pembroke College, Oxford, England, as a Rhodes Scholar, and received a graduate degree in 1956. He served in the United States Navy from 1957 to 1960.
Lugar manages his family's 604-acre (2.4 km²) Marion County corn, soybean and tree farm. Before entering public life, he helped his brother Tom manage the family's food machinery manufacturing business in Indianapolis.
Sen. Lugar is member of the United Methodist Church. He married Charlene Smeltzer on September 8, 1956 and the couple has four sons.
Entrance into politics
Lugar served on the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners from 1964 to 1967. He was elected Mayor of Indianapolis in 1967. He is closely associated with the adoption of Unigov in 1970, which unified the government of Indianapolis with that of Marion County. He was reelected mayor in 1971. During this time he became known as "Richard Nixon's favorite mayor" due to his support for devolving federal powers to local communities.
Senate career and presidential ambitions
Lugar unsuccessfully sought election to the U.S. Senate as the Republican nominee in 1974, losing to incumbent Democrat Birch Bayh. Two years later, he ran again, unseating incumbent Senator Vance Hartke in the 1976 election. He was reelected in 1982, 1988, 1994, and again in 2000, the last by a two-thirds majority.  In 2006 he ran without a Democratic Party challanger and earned over 87% of the vote, and won over three fourths of the vote in every county.
Lugar ran for the Republican nomination for President in 1996, but his campaign failed to gain traction. His campaign slogan was "Dick Lugar, everything a President should be." His main plank in his platform was abolishing the IRS and income tax and replacing it with a national sales tax.
Lugar has been influential in gaining Senate ratification of treaties to reduce the world's use, production and stockpiling of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. In 1991, he initiated a partnership with then-Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn with the objective of eliminating latent weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. To date, the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program has deactivated more than 5,900 nuclear warheads.
As Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, Lugar built bipartisan support for 1996 federal farm program reforms, ending 1930s-era federal production controls. He initiated a biofuels research program to help decrease U.S. dependency on foreign oil, and led initiatives to streamline the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reform the food stamp program, and preserve the federal school lunch program.
Lugar has received numerous awards, including Guardian of Small Business, the Spirit of Enterprise, Watchdog of the Treasury, and 34 honorary doctorate degrees.
Senator Lugar is member of the board of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).
During the August recess of 2005, Lugar, who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, went with Senator Barack Obama to Russia to inspect nuclear facilities there. They were detained for three hours at an airport in the city of Perm, near the Ural Mountains, where they were scheduled to depart for a meeting with the President and the Speaker of the House of Ukraine. They were released after a brief dialogue between U.S. and Russian officials and the Russians later apologized for this incident.
In April 2006, Lugar was selected by Time as one of "America's 10 Best Senators."
Senator Richard Lugar meeting with actress Angelina Jolie.
2006 re-election campaign
Lugar was opposed by Steve Osborn, a Libertarian candidate in the 2006 election. The Democratic Party did not field a candidate. Lugar won the election with 87% of the vote.
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