Richard Lugar, U.S. Senator

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Richard Green Lugar, U.S. Senator

Also Known As: "Dick Luger"
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Marvin Leroy Lugar and Bertha Isabelle Green
Brother of <private> Lugar

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Richard Lugar, U.S. Senator

Richard Green "Dick" Lugar (born April 4, 1932) is an American politician who served as a United States Senator, representing Indiana from 1977 to 2013. A member of the Republican Party, Lugar previously served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Lugar is the graduate of Denison University and Pembroke College, a constituent college of the University of Oxford. He served on the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners from 1964 to 1967, before he was elected to two terms as Mayor of Indianapolis, serving from 1968 to 1976. During his tenure as mayor, Lugar served as the President of the National League of Cities in 1971, and gave the keynote address at the 1972 Republican National Convention.

In 1974, Lugar ran a failed campaign for the U.S. Senate losing to incumbent Democratic Senator Birch Bayh, but in 1976, Lugar defeated incumbent Vance Hartke. Lugar was elected to a total of six terms to the Senate, and was reelected in 1982, 1988, 1994, 2000 and 2006. In Indiana's 2012 Senate election, Lugar was defeated in a primary challenge to Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, ending his thirty-six year tenure in the U.S. Senate.

During Lugar's tenure, he served as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relation Committee from 1985 to 1987 and from 2003 to 2007, serving as the ranking member of the committee until his retirement in 2013. Lugar also twice served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Nutrition, Agriculture and Forestry from 1995 to 2001, and briefly gaining back the Chairmanship in part of 2001. Much of Lugar's work in the Senate was toward the dismantling of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons around the world, cosponsoring his most notable piece of legislation; the Nunn-Lugar Act.

He is also the longest-serving Senator in Indiana's history, and until his retirement was the most senior Republican member of the senate.

Early life, education, and early career

Lugar was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Bertha (née Green) and Marvin Lugar. He is of part German descent. Lugar attended the Indianapolis Public School. During this time he attained the Boy Scouts' highest rank: Eagle Scout. Later, he became a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He graduated first in his class at Shortridge High School in 1950 and from Denison University in 1954 where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi. He went on to attend Pembroke College, Oxford, England, as a Rhodes Scholar, and received a second Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in 1956. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1956 to 1960; one of his assignments was as an intelligence briefer for Admiral Arleigh Burke. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade.

Lugar manages his family's 604-acre (244 ha) Marion County corn, soybean and tree farm. Before entering public life, he helped his brother Tom manage the family's food machinery manufacturing business in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis politics

Lugar served on the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners from 1964 to 1967. At the age of 35, he was elected Mayor of Indianapolis in 1967, defeating incumbent Democrat John J. Barton, and began serving the first of two mayoral terms in 1968. A political cartoon of the time questioned how an Eagle Scout could survive in the world of politics. He is closely associated with the adoption of Unigov in 1970, which unified the governments of Indianapolis and Marion County. The Unigov plan helped trigger Indianapolis' economic growth and earned Lugar the post of president of the National League of Cities in 1971. In 1972 Lugar was the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention. During this time he became known as "Richard Nixon's favorite mayor" due to his support for devolving federal powers to local communities. In 1971 he was elected president of the National League of Cities.

U.S. Senate



Lugar ran for the U.S. Senate in 1974 U.S. Senate election and narrowly lost to incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator Birch Bayh 51%-46%.


Two years later, he ran against Indiana's other U.S. Senator, Democrat Vance Hartke, and Lugar defeated him by a massive landslide, 59%-40%, a 19-point margin.


Lugar won re-election to a second term, defeating Democrat U.S. Congressman Floyd Fithian, 54%-46%.


Lugar won re-election to a third term, defeating Democrat Jack Wickes, 68%-32%.


Lugar won re-election to a fourth term, defeating Democrat former U.S. Congressman Jim Jontz, 67%-31%. He became the first Indiana Senator elected to win a fourth term.


Lugar won re-election to a fifth term, defeating Democrat David Johnson, 67%-32%.


Lugar won re-election to a sixth term, defeating Libertarian Steve Osborn, 87%-13%. The Democratic Party did not field a candidate. It was the highest percentage of the 2006 Senate elections despite a Democratic take-over of Washington.


Lugar ran for re-election to a seventh term, but was defeated in the Republican primary by State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, 61%-39%, who went on to lose the general election to Democratic Rep Joe Donnelly. The only two counties that Lugar carried were Boone and Marion. Lugar is the first six-term US Senator to lose his seat in a primary election since Kenneth McKellar in 1952.


Future Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels served as his chief of staff from 1977 to 1982. During the 1980 Republican National Convention, Lugar was rumored as a potential Vice Presidential nominee for Presidential nominee Ronald Reagan.

During the August recess of 2005, Lugar and freshman Senator Barack Obama visited Russia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine to inspect nuclear facilities there. He was detained for three hours at an airport in the city of Perm, near the Ural Mountains, where they were scheduled to depart for a meeting with the President and the Speaker of the House of Ukraine. He was released after a brief dialogue between U.S. and Russian officials, and the Russians later apologized for this incident. In January 2007, President Bush signed into law the Lugar-Obama Proliferation and Threat Reduction Initiative which was furthering Lugar's work with Senator Nunn in deactivating weapons in the former Soviet Union. The Lugar-Obama program focuses on terrorists and their use of multiple types of weapons. In April 2006, Time magazine selected Lugar as one of America's 10 Best Senators.

Although Lugar's party was in the minority in the Senate, he had good relationships with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Lugar was named an honorary co-chairman of their inauguration. On the day of the final 2008 presidential debate, Lugar gave a speech at the National Defense University praising Obama's foreign policy approach, and warning against the isolationist, reactive policies espoused by Senator McCain. At that debate, Obama also listed Lugar as among the individuals "who have shaped my ideas and who will be surrounding me in the White House". There were rumors that either Obama or McCain would select Lugar to be Secretary of State, but that he preferred to keep his Senate seat.

On March 18, 2009, Lugar cast his 12,000th Senate vote, putting him in 13th place for most votes. During his 32 years as senator, he had a 98% attendance record.

Committee assignments

Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Subcommittee on Energy, Science and Technology
Subcommittee on Domestic and Foreign Marketing, Inspection, and Plant and Animal Health
Subcommittee on Hunger, Nutrition and Family Farms (Ranking Member)

Committee on Foreign Relations (Ranking Member) As Ranking Member of the full committee, Sen. Lugar is an ex officio member of all subcommittees

1996 presidential campaign

See also:,_1996

Lugar ran for the Republican nomination for President in 1996, but his campaign failed to gain traction. His announcement-of-candidacy speech was made on April 19, 1995, in Indianapolis. He finished fifth in the Republican primaries, with 127,111 votes, or 0.83%. He quit the race on March 6, 1996, the day after eight primaries were held, all of which were won by Lugar's fellow senator, and eventual Republican nominee, Bob Dole. Lugar endorsed Dole in the election.

Political positions


Lugar's 2007 rating from NARAL was 40%. His 2007–2008 rating from the National Right to Life Committee was 85%.

Agricultural reform

As Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, Lugar built bipartisan support for 1996 federal farm program reforms, ending 1930s-era federal production controls. He worked to initiate a biofuels research program to help increase U.S. utilization of ethanol and combustion fuels, and led initiatives to streamline the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reform the food stamp program, and preserve the federal school lunch program.


Lugar believes that the U.S. sanctions on Cuba have failed and wrote to President Obama that "additional measures are recast a policy that has not only failed to promote human rights and democracy, but also undermines our broader security and political interests". He supports the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (S.428), which would lift the restrictions on U.S. citizens visiting Cuba that have been in place since the early 1960s.


Lugar takes a conservative approach to economics. He voted for Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. He voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Gun control

Senator Lugar has an F rating from the National Rifle Association of America. He has an F rating from Gun Owners of America and a 53% positive rating from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence.

Health care reform

Lugar opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.


Senator Lugar has a generally liberal stance on immigration, supporting the DREAM Act under the Obama Administration and the McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Immigration Reform under the Bush Administration both of which died in Congress. Both were described by critics as "amnesty".

Iraq War

On June 25, 2007, Senator Lugar, who had been "a reliable vote for President Bush on the war", said that "Bush's Iraq strategy [is] not working and... the United States should downsize the military's role".

Lugar's blunt assessment has been viewed as significant because it showed the growing impatience and dissatisfaction with President Bush's strategy in Iraq. Lugar's speech had particular resonance given his stature as one of the party's elder statesmen on foreign policy. After Lugar finished his remarks, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), a sharp critic of the war, praised Lugar's "thoughtful, sincere and honest" speech, which Durbin said was in "finest tradition of the U.S. Senate". Senator Durbin urged his Senate colleagues to take a copy of Lugar's speech home over the Fourth of July break and study it before returning to work. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, in reaction to Lugar's speech: "When this war comes to an end, and it will come to an end, and the history books are written, and they will be written, I believe that Sen. Lugar's words yesterday could be remembered as a turning point in this intractable civil war in Iraq."

Two days later, on June 27, 2007, Lugar said that Congressional measures aimed at curtailing U.S. military involvement in Iraq – including "so-called timetables, benchmarks" – have "no particular legal consequence", are "very partisan", and "will not work".

Judicial nominees

Senator Lugar believes that judicial confirmation decisions should not be purely partisan. His view is if an appointee is properly qualified for the position by their education, integrity, and other similar factors, that they should be confirmed by the Senate. Senator Lugar introduced President George W. Bush's appointee, now Chief Justice John Roberts, to the Senate at the beginning of Roberts' confirmation process and was instrumental in securing votes to confirm Roberts for the Supreme Court. Senator Lugar was the first Republican senator to announce his support for President Barack Obama's first Supreme Court nominee United States Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor and also voted in favor of his second Supreme Court nominee Solicitor General Elena Kagan.

Gay rights

Senator Lugar voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, limiting the definition of marriage to one man and one woman. However, he has also voted in favor of the Matthew Shepard Act, which expanded the federal hate crime statutes to include sexual orientation and gender identity. In October 2010, Senator Lugar voted against repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy—which prevents gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces. Although Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut announced on November 18, 2010, that Senator Lugar promised to vote to repeal the policy the next time it comes up for a vote, Lugar voted against DADT repeal in both the cloture and final votes on December 18, 2010.

Nuclear stockpile

Lugar has been influential in gaining Senate ratification of treaties to reduce the world's use, production and stockpiling of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. In 1991 he initiated a partnership with then-Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn aiming to eliminate latent weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. To date, the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program has deactivated more than 7,500 nuclear warheads. In 2004, Senators Lugar and Nunn were jointly awarded the Heinz Awards Chairman's Medal for their efforts. He was an important figure in trying to get the New START Treaty approved (which passed 71-26).


In October 2008 Lugar and Joe Biden, his partner in the Committee on Foreign Relations, received the Hilal-i-Pakistan (Crescent of Pakistan) Award from the government of Pakistan for their continued support of the country. In July 2008 Lugar and Biden introduced a plan that would give $1.5 billion in aid per year to support economic development in Pakistan.

Electoral history

Awards and honors

Lugar has received numerous awards, including Guardian of Small Business, the Spirit of Enterprise, Watchdog of the Treasury, and 45 honorary doctorate degrees. In 2001 Lugar received the Democracy Service Medal of the National Endowment for Democracy. In June 2012 he was conferred with the Order of Lakandula by President Benigno S. Aquino III for his contributions to the enhancement of the Philippine-US alliance and friendship.

Outside activities

Senator Lugar is a member the Indiana Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. He is also a member of the Society of Indiana Pioneers, based on his descent from very early settlers in the state.

He served on the Board of Directors of the National Endowment for Democracy from 1992 to 2001.

Lugar is a member of the board of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, an organization involved in international elections.

Senator Lugar is a member of the board of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

Personal life

Lugar married Charlene Smeltzer on September 8, 1956. The couple has four sons and thirteen grandchildren.

He is a member of the United Methodist Church.

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Richard Lugar, U.S. Senator's Timeline

April 4, 1932
Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, United States