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Sheldon Whitehouse: the story of a Liberal Senator

By: Breett Boylenn


Date Added : August 10, 2011 Views : 2987
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Despite being only 63rd on the senator seniority list, Sheldon Whitehouse is already a key figure in the Democratic Party and has already made his mark in national politics. His liberal views on issues, especially considering the recent global economic meltdown and the stand-off between the Democrats and Republicans have him as a notable voice in the current administration. This is a man who was ranked the second most liberal senator in 2007 and shows no signs of letting. For such a promising individual, one would be interested to know who he really is and his journey to national politics.


Sheldon Whitehouse was born on October 20, 1955 in New York City and pursued his education at St. Paul’s school in Concord, later graduating from Yale University in 1978. He then pursued further education at University of Virginia, where he graduated from the School of law with a Juris Doctor, a background that would later propel him into matters of governance. Most people are ignorant of his pre-political career, oblivious to the fact that he already had stellar achievements by the time he joined politics. From humble beginnings as a clerk in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia in 1982-1983, the future senator rose to special assistant attorney general in Rhode Island’s Attorney General’s office in 1985-1990. He was appointed an Executive Counsel to Governor Bruce Sundlun in 1991, where he would oversee a successful state response to a banking crisis in Rhode Island involving RISDIC. In 1992, he was elevated to Director of Business Regulation for Rhode Island, earning accolades for undertaking drastic reforms in the compensation insurance system for Rhode Island state workers. Such recognizable beginnings were to earn Sheldon Whitehouse a way into political appointments from the highest powers of the land.


A near fairytale rise through national politics started when President Bill Clinton appointed Sheldon Whitehouse as state attorney in 1994. He hit the ground running, becoming the first attorney to prosecute a person for organized crime under Clinton’s new policy of dealing with organized crime. He also rolled investigations on municipal corruption that led to conviction of high profile officials such as the mayor of Providence, the so-called “Operation Plunder Dome”. With such telling impact, in 1998 he was appointed State Attorney General and proceeded to win a lawsuit against companies in the lead paint industries for creating a public nuisance. He investigated public corruption and founded the Rhode Island Quality Institute which aimed at raising the quality of health care in the state. After disappointments in 2002, he finally won the Democratic primary elections for senator and defeated his Republican opponent, incumbent Lincoln Chafee.
His exploits as a senator are well known; a progressive liberal, supporting stem cell research, reproductive rights of women and affirmative action. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse also supports a progressive tax system, gun control and opposes the Patriot Act. He was also against the invasion of Iraq by the Bush administration. Further, he supports fair trade, agitates for uncovering of war crime allegations by the Bush administration and supports rehabilitation as the best way to tackle crime. Unlike most other politicians who are all talk and no action, senator Sheldon Whitehouse track record in his state is commendable, always asking for the electorate’s views and concerns, striving to create more jobs, protecting the environment among many other achievements. Progressive best sums up the 55 year old who can only reach outer for greater heights.


Brett Boylen is the author of this article on Sheldon Whitehouse.

Brett Boylen is the author of this article on Sheldon Whitehouse.

Article Source: Sheldon Whitehouse: the story of a Liberal Senator

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