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Sen. Bob Graham, Florida - Democrat (announced)Bob Graham is a former governor of Florida who now represents the state in Washington D.C. as senior senator. He was born November 9, 1936, in Dade County, Florida. He married the former Adele Khoury. They have four daughters and have 10 grandchildren. He works in a different job one day a month to better understand his constituents. His recent "jobs" include working the sidelines of the 2003 Orange Bowl as a "chain crew" football referee. Graham had surgery on January 31, 2003 to replace his aortic valve, a deteriorated heart valve. .
Taxes & Spending:Based on ratings from taxpayer advocacy groups such as National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Tax Reform, this candidate shares very little of their views. In the 107th Congress, Senator Graham was the first proponent of what has since become the widely accepted belief that a stimulative tax cut of at least $60 billion is necessary to boost the economy.
According to the Concord Coalition, he is agrees with half their positions on balanced budget issue.
Social Services Funding: Is considered a "champion" of the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), Title XX of the Social Security Act, provides funding for social services to states, local governments, community and faith-based organizations.
Welfare: The Children's Defense Fund, an organization concerned how poverty and welfare cuts effect children and families, recently gave him a score of 91%.
BIPAC, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee gave him a score of 0%.
Security & Terrorism: He voted for the USA PATRIOT act. He authored and supported other anti-terrorism bills.
Voted "yes" on the "Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001", a bill to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts by imposing restrictions on student visas and among other things, it creates a centralized 'lookout' database.
Foreign Affairs: He called President Bush’s State of the Union address a very well-structured and delivered speech, "but said he had still not made the case for going to war with Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq." He was among a small minority in voting against the joint resolution that would authorize President Bush to use the U.S. military as he deems necessary and appropriate to defend U.S. national security against Iraq and enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. He told his colleagues that "blood is going to be on your hands" if action is not taken to foil terrorist attacks in America should the United States invade Iraq.
Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, took issue with the president’s declaration that the United States is winning the war on terrorism, saying preparations for an attack on Baghdad have distracted from the greater threat posed by international terrorist networks - and not just al Qaeda.
Education: He has voted against school vouchers.
He calls education the single most important investment we can make in the nation's future. In the 106th Congress, Graham secured nearly $34 million for Transition to Teaching, an innovative program to address the growing national shortage of teachers by encouraging mid-career professionals to enroll in teacher-training programs. Participants are eligible for grants of up to $5,000 to pay for the courses and training they need to become certified teachers.
The Senate New Democrats, a coalition of centrists chaired by Senator Graham, has been instrumental in molding the education debate. New Democrat ideas on federal education funding, school accountability and targeting resources will form the backbone of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization.
Graham has long battled the Internal Revenue Service in an effort to make prepaid college tuition plans tax free.
Voted "yes" on an amendment that would increase the tax deduction for college tuition costs from $5,000 to $12,000 and increase the tax credit on student loan interest from $500 to $1,000.
Healthcare: As a senior member of the powerful Finance Committee, Senator Graham is deeply involved in efforts to update the Medicare program and ensure its solvency into the next century. Graham is the author of a centrist plan that would offer a comprehensive, voluntary and affordable prescription drug benefit within the existing Medicare system. His plan forms the basis of the Democrats' prescription-drug proposal. Senator Graham is also fighting to keep Congress from raiding the Medicare Part A Trust fund, which is reserved for vital health services.
Additionally, Graham believes the focus of Medicare must be shifted from a program that treats sickness to one that promotes wellness and is pushing for inclusion of preventive benefits in the program. Senator Graham is an original sponsor of a bipartisan "Patients Bill of Rights" that offers common-sense protections to both managed-care patients and employers.
Social Security: He opposes privatization and voted against a Social Security Lock Box Bill. He supports reducing slightly the annual cost of living adjustment for Social Security. It overstates inflation, he has said of the Social Security COLA. Voted "no" on HR 1259: Social Security and Medicare Safe Deposit Box Act of 1999.
Illicit Drugs: He has voted against drug penalty increases.
Ex-felons' Voting Rights: Voted against restoring the vote to ex-crimininals.
Gun Policy: He received 0% rating from the Gun Owners of America, and 90% rating from The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Abortion Policy: He received a 100% score from Planned Parenthood and a zero from the National Right to Life Committee.
Environmental Policy: He received 75% rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
Throughout his years in public service, Senator Graham has remained committed to preserving our nation's natural treasures for future generations to learn from and enjoy. As governor, he launched the movement to save America's Everglades. As U.S. Senator, he saw the fruits of that labor with the 2001 passage of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, a monumental project to save the "River of Grass."
He has also led the charge to preserve national parks around the country with legislation that would give the National Parks Service the tools it needs to maintain and operate the lands and facilities. Graham's efforts to end dredging on the Apalachicola River have lead both the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bush Administration to reconsider support for this environmentally devastating practice. Graham and the rest of the Florida congressional delegation remain united against offshore drilling in the environmentally sensitive Outer Continental Shelf.
Minority Issues: He received 100% rating from the NAACP.
Civil Liberties: He received 50% rating from The American Civil Liberties Union.
Websites: grahamforpresident.com - Campaign website covers various issues http://graham.senate.gov - Senate website covers various issues www.newhousenews.com/archive/farmer013103.html - Social Security www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/4249597.htm - Use of Force In Iraq http://www.november.org/razorwire/2002-01spring/eyeoncongress.html - Ex-felons Voting www.concordcoalition.org - The Concord Coalition www.atr.org - Americans for Tax Reform www.ntu.org - National Taxpayers Union www.childrensdefense.org - The Children's Defense Fund www.bipac.org - Business-Industry Political Action Committee www.nra.org - The National Rifle Association www.gunfree.org - The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence www.plannedparenthood.org - Planned Parenthood www.nrlc.org - National Right to Life Committee www.lcv.org - League of Conservation Voters www.naacp.org - The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People www.aclu.org - American Civil Liberties Union www.vote-smart.org - Vote-Smart.org