Bob Kerrey Biography

Senator Bob Kerrey

Since his election to the U.S. Senate, Bob Kerrey has impressed political observers with his independence, his candor, and his tireless determination to make government work. Bob Kerrey's devotion, hard work, and leadership have made him one of America's most exciting and effective political leaders.

Kerrey overwhelmingly won election to the Senate in 1988, defeating an incumbant senator, and was re-elected in 1994. Prior to coming to the Senate, Kerrey served one four-year term as Governor of the State of Nebraska from 1983 to 1987. In 1982, despite having no political experience, he defeated an incumbant Republican governor in heavily Republican Nebraska.

Upon taking office, Kerrey inherited a three percent deficit and was faced with severe federal cutbacks during the greatest economic depression since the 1930's. Governor Kerrey wasted little time in demonstrating to Nebraskans that they had elected a unique political leader. By making tough budget cuts, Kerrey brought the deficit under control. In fact, Kerrey balanced Nebraska's budget in each of the four years he served as governor and turned the deficit he inherited into a seven percent surplus upon leaving office.

But Kerrey also proved to be a Governor who understood that fiscal responsibility needed to be coupled with policies that would create a better society for future generations. As such, Kerrey programs on welfare reform, education, job training, and the environment became models for the nation. Kerrey has continued that approach in the Senate, becoming a nationally recognized advocate of educational technology, fiscal responsibility, health care reform and several other issues.

Kerrey is a former member of the elite Navy SEAL Team, the Navy's version of the Green Berets, and is a highly decorated Viet Nam veteran who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor -- America's highest military honor. Kerrey is currently the only member of Congress to have received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Kerrey was born on August 27, 1943, attended Lincoln Public Schools, and is a 1966 graduate of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Kerrey is a self-made businessman who, upon returning from the war and starting from scratch in 1972, built a chain of highly successful restaurants and health clubs that now employ more than 900 people. Kerrey is the father of two children, Benjamin and Lindsey.

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