1. News & Issues

Profile of Sen Patrick Leahy of Vermont

By

Profile of Sen Patrick Leahy of Vermont Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen Patrick Leahy of Vermont:

Democrat Patrick Leahy was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1974, and has been reelected to six additional terms, the last in 2010. Sen. Leahy is second in seniority among all U.S. senators, behind only Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.

For more than a decade, Sen. Leahy has chaired or been the ranking Democrat on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, which conducts all hearings on judicial nominations prior to a full Senate vote.

Sen Leahy is a impassioned progressive leader in defending Americans' civil rights and liberties. Leahy was one of only 22 U.S. senators to vote NO in 2002 against the Iraq War.

Senate Committees in the 112th Congress, 2011-2012:

In the 112th Congress, Sen Patrick Leahy is a member of the Senate:
  • Judiciary Committee (Chair)
  • Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, Border Security
  • Appropriations Committee
  • Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science
  • Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
  • Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security
  • Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment
  • Agriculture, Nutrition, Forestry Committee
  • Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Revitalization, Conservation
  • Agriculture Subcommittee on Hunger, Nutrition, Family Farms
See U.S. Senate Committee Chairs in 112th Congress for a complete listing.

Personal Data:

  • Birth - March 31, 1940 in Montpelier, Vermont to Howard Leahy, a printer, and wife Alba.
  • B.A. in 1961, St. Michael's College, a Catholic college in Colchester, Vermont. J.D. in 1964, Georgetown University Law School.
  • Family - Married since 1962 to Marcelle. Three adult children: Kevin, Alicia, Mark. Three grandchildren.
  • Faith - Roman Catholic
  • Interests - Leahy is an enthusiastic fan of rock groups U2 and The Grateful Dead, and of Batman films and comics.

Sen Patrick Leahy on the Issues:

On Protecting the Rights of Americans

"Senator Leahy has been a longtime protector of civil liberties. He has authored and advocated for legislation to restore the right to habeas corpus for all Americans, a right that was stripped in the 2006 Military Commissions Act...

"Senator Leahy has crusaded for the protection of copyright and intellectual property protections and freedom of speech on the Internet... Senator Leahy has taken the lead on several privacy issues, including Internet and medical records privacy, and held Congress’s first hearing in 1994 on privacy concerns relating to electronic medical records."

On Education and "No Child Left Behind"

"... The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was the most sweeping expansion of the federal role in education in America since the 1960s and 70s... Senator Leahy voted against the final passage of the NCLB Act because he believed that this approach would have a negative impact on the state of Vermont.

"The insufficient funding for education that we have seen since its implementation has placed significant strain on states. The unfunded mandates created by NCLB force schools to shift the limited resources away from proven programs and divert them instead to pay for testing. Since the law went into effect, Vermonter teachers, parents, and students have affirmed that No Child Left Behind’s cookie cutter approach is not working for Vermont.

"To raise the bar the right way for schools and students, states need the flexibility to design accountability measures that accurately reflect actual conditions and unique characteristics in real communities."

On Climate Change and Alternative Fuel

"Climate change may be one of the most contentious issues to grace the modern political stage... Senator Leahy has long been a supporter of efforts to address rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These pollutants, which are often generated as unwanted byproducts during energy production processes, have proven difficult to contain as demand for energy continues to increase.

"Our nation’s continued dependence on fossil fuels for power is troublesome to Senator Leahy and he has repeatedly supported efforts to move the U.S. towards renewable fuels, conservation, and greater energy independence. Many elements of human society and the environment are sensitive to climate variability and change... If left unchecked, these seemingly slight changes could lead to drastic consequences for both human populations and the natural world."

  1. About.com
  2. News & Issues
  3. US Liberal Politics
  4. Liberal Leaders
  5. Senators Elected in 2010
  6. Profile of Sen Patrick Leahy of Vermont - Sen Patrick Leahy Biography

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.