About Sherrod Brown, U.S. Senator
Sherrod Campbell Brown (born November 9, 1952) is the senior United States Senator from Ohio and a member of the Democratic Party. Before his election to the Senate, he was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Ohio's 13th congressional district from 1993 to 2007. He previously served as the Ohio Secretary of State (1983–1991) and a member of the Ohio House of Representatives (1974–1982).
Brown defeated two-term Republican incumbent Mike DeWine in the 2006 Senate election and was re-elected in 2012. In the Senate, he is chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Hunger, Nutrition and Family Farms and the Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy, and is also a member of the Committee on Finance, Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and Select Committee on Ethics.
Early life, education, and academic career
Brown was born in Mansfield, Ohio, the son of Emily (née Campbell) and Charles Gailey Brown, M.D. He was named after his maternal grandfather. He became an Eagle Scout in 1967. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian studies from Yale University in 1974. At Yale, he was in Davenport College, the same residential college as U.S. Presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush. He went on to receive a Master of Public Administration degree and a Master of Arts degree in education from The Ohio State University in Columbus in 1979 and 1981, respectively. He taught at the Mansfield branch campus of The Ohio State University from 1979 to 1981. He backpacked in India during the Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Early political career
Brown served as a state representative in Ohio from 1974 to 1982. At the time of his election to the Ohio House, he was the youngest person elected to that body. In 1982, he won a four-way Democratic primary that included Dennis Kucinich. He then defeated Republican Virgil Brown in the general election for the office of Ohio Secretary of State, succeeding Anthony J. Celebrezze, Jr. In 1986, Brown won, defeating Vincent C. Campanella. In 1990, Brown lost his run for a third term to Republican Bob Taft.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1992, Brown moved from Mansfield to Lorain, Ohio, and won a heavily contested Democratic primary for the open seat for Ohio's 13th district, located in the western and southern suburbs of Cleveland, after eight-term incumbent Don Pease announced his retirement. The Democratic-leaning district gave him an easy win over the little known Republican Margaret R. Mueller. He was re-elected six times.
In 2001, the Republican-controlled legislature considered redrawing Brown's district. Some top Democrats urged Brown to relocate and take on fellow Democrat James Trafficant after he defected when he voted to elect Republican Dennis Hastert as speaker of the U.S. House.
In 2005, Brown led the Democratic effort to block the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). For many months, Brown worked as whip on the issue, securing Democratic "nay" votes and seeking Republican allies. After several delays, the House of Representatives finally voted on CAFTA after midnight on July 28, 2005 which ended in passage by one vote.
He opposed an amendment to Ohio's constitution that banned same sex marriage. Brown was also one of the few U.S. Representatives to vote against the then highly popular Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.
Brown was the ranking minority member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Health Subcommittee. He also served on the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. While serving on the House International Relations Committee, he was also a member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. He was also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Bank and finance industry consolidation
In February 2013, conservative commentator George F. Will wrote in support Brown's proposal to break up consolidated banks and finance industry conglomerates, ending "too big to fail" by restoring the Glass-Steagall Act.
Brown opposed the Iraq War and voted against the Iraq Resolution as a House Representative. He voted against the $87 billion war budgetary supplement. He also voted for redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008.
In 2008, Brown joined 91 other senators in voting for the Iraq and Afghanistan War Funding, Unemployment Benefits Extension, and GI Bill, which required the Department of Defense to provide a timetable for achieving security in Iraq, provided education funding for veterans, extended unemployment compensation, and appropriated funds to combat drug trafficking, reduce Medicaid fraud, assist victims of natural disasters, and fund the Department of Defense.
In 2012, he co-sponsored a resolution to "oppose any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.", and voted in favor of the 2012 NDAA that sparked controversy over indefinite detention of US citizens.
Brown is an advocate of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. He also voted against prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting children in Washington D.C., and received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign. On November 30, 2010 Brown made a contribution to the It Gets Better Project from the Senate floor, and on December 18, 2010 he voted in favor of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010.
In 2007 Brown and Sam Brownback (R-KS) sponsored an amendment to the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007. President George W. Bush signed the bill in September 2007. The amendment established a prize as an incentive for companies to invest in new drugs and vaccines for neglected tropical diseases. It awards a transferable “Priority Review Voucher” to any company that obtains approval for a treatment for a neglected tropical disease. This provision adds to the market based incentives available for the development of new medicines for developing world diseases in the developing world, among them malaria, tuberculosis and African sleeping sickness. The prize had been proposed by Duke University faculty members Henry Grabowski, Jeffrey Moe, and David Ridley in their 2006 Health Affairs paper "Developing Drugs for Developing Countries."
Brown supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, voting for it in December 2009, and he voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
In 2011, among the National Journal’s annual rankings, Brown tied with eight other members for the title of the most liberal member of Congress.
Brown was a cosponsor of the Protect-IP Act (PIPA).
In 2009, when the vote on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act came down to just a few votes, Brown (an ardent advocate of the legislation) was attending services for his deceased mother. The White House provided a plane in order to fly him back to vote for the bill when it was determined that no commercial flight would make it on time. "Although most senators voted shortly after 5:30 p.m., the 60th and final vote was not cast until 10:46 p.m. by Sen. Sherrod Brown."
Brown has criticized free trade with China and other countries. In a 2006 Washington Post article, Brown argued against free trade on the grounds that labor activism was responsible for the growth of the U.S. middle class, and that the U.S. economy is harmed by trade relations with countries that lack the kind of labor regulations that have resulted from that activism.
In 2011, the Columbus Dispatch noted that Brown "loves to rail against international trade agreements." Brown's book, Myths of Free Trade, argues that "an unregulated global economy is a threat to all of us." He recommends adopting measures that would allow for emergency tariffs, protect Buy America laws, including those that give preference to minority and women-owned businesses, and hold foreign producers to American labor and environmental standards.
Brown was the co-author and sponsor of a bill that would officially declare China a currency manipulator and require the Department of Commerce to impose countervailing duties on Chinese imports.
In August 2005, Brown announced he would not run for the United States Senate seat held by Republican Mike DeWine. In October, however, Brown reconsidered his decision. His announcement came shortly after Democrat Paul Hackett stated that he would soon announce his candidacy.
On February 13, 2006, Hackett withdrew from the race, all but ensuring that Brown would win the Democratic nomination. In the May 2 primary, Brown won 78.05% of the Democratic vote. His opponent, Merrill Samuel Keiser, Jr., received 21.95% of the vote.
In the middle of his Senate campaign in April 2006, Brown, along with John Conyers, brought an action against George W. Bush and others, alleging violations of the Constitution in the passage of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The case, Conyers v. Bush, was ultimately dismissed for lack of standing.
On November 7, 2006, Brown faced two-term incumbent senator Mike DeWine in the general election. Brown won the seat with 56% of the vote to DeWine's 44%.
Brown stood for reelection in 2012, defeating opponent Josh Mandel, who in 2010 defeated the incumbent state treasurer by 14 points. Mandel raised $2.3 million in the second quarter of 2011 alone, to Brown’s $1.5 million. Early on, Brown enjoyed a steady lead in the polls. Mandel won the March Republican primary with 63% of the vote.
The Washington Post reported that no candidate running for reelection, save Barack Obama, faced more opposition in 2012 by outside groups. As of April 2012, over $5.1 million had been spent on television ads opposing Brown, according to data provided by a Senate Democratic campaign operative. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $2.7 million. 60 Plus Association, a conservative group that opposes health care reform, spent another $1.4 million. Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee have also spent heavily in the race. In May 2012, Brown hit the campaign trail with West Wing actor Martin Sheen.
In March 2011, Brown came under scrutiny for a senate floor speech in which he cited the names of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin while he criticized Republican efforts in Ohio and Wisconsin to mitigate the power of public employee unions to negotiate with taxpayers. In his speech he said "some of the worst governments that we've ever had, do you know one of the first things they did? They went after unions. Hitler didn't want unions, Stalin didn't want unions, Mubarak didn't want independent unions". Brown, however, added that he was not comparing the two situations. He later apologized for his speech.
Brown's second wife, Connie Schultz, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former newspaper columnist at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. She is also the author of Life Happens (2007) and ...and His Lovely Wife (2008), in which she describes her experiences as a spouse of a U.S. Senate candidate.
Brown is the author of two books:
Congress from the Inside: Observations from the Majority and the Minority ISBN 0-87338-630-2
Myths of Free Trade: Why American Trade Policy Has Failed ISBN 1-56584-928-0