ENG: Christopher Andrew "Chris" Coons (born September 9, 1963) is the junior United States senator from Delaware and a member of the Democratic Party. He won a special election in 2010 after Joe Biden resigned to become Vice-President .Previously, Coons was the county executive of New Castle County. Coons is the 1983 Truman Scholar from Delaware, and the first recipient of the award to serve in the United States Senate.
Early life, education and carrer
Coons grew up in Hockessin, Delaware. He graduated from the Tower Hill School and then Amherst College in 1985 with a B.A. in chemistry and political science. In 1983, Chris Coons was awarded the Truman Scholarship. During his junior year of college, Coons studied abroad at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. He earned graduate degrees from both the law and divinity schools at Yale University.
After college, Coons worked in Washington, D.C., for the Investor Responsibility Research Center, where he wrote a book on South Africa and the U.S. divestment movement. He then worked as a volunteer for the South African Council of Churches and as a relief worker in Kenya, before returning to the U.S. to work for the Coalition for the Homeless in New York. In 1992, he earned a J.D. degree from Yale Law School, and a master's degree in ethics from Yale Divinity School.Coons clerked for Judge Jane Richards Roth on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and then worked for the National "I Have a Dream" Foundation in New York. After returning to Delaware in 1996, Coons began his eight-year career as in-house counsel for W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., Newark, Delaware-based makers of Gore-Tex fabrics and other high-tech materials. There he was responsible for the ethics training program, federal government relations, e-commerce legal work, and for general commercial contracting.He has also worked with several nonprofits, including the Council for the Homeless, the education-oriented “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Delaware, and the South African Council of Churches, and serves on several boards including First State Innovation, the Bear/Glasgow Boys & Girls Club, and the Delaware College of Art & Design.
Coons first became involved in politics working on behalf of Republican politicians, first for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign in 1980 and then for Bill Roth's Senate campaign in 1982.During college, he switched from being a Republican to a Democrat and in 1988, Coons worked as a volunteer for the Senate campaign of Democratic Delaware Lt. Shien Biau Woo. He was a delegate from Wilmington to the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. His first elected office was president of the New Castle County Council, elected in 2000 and serving four years before being elected county executive in 2004. He was the endorsed candidate of the New Castle County Democratic Party in 2008, and was re-nominated by the party on September 9, 2008. Coons was re-elected on November 4, 2008, unopposed in the general election. In his six years in office as county executive, Coons balanced the budget with a surplus in fiscal year 2010 by cutting spending and raising taxes. New Castle County maintained a AAA bond rating throughout his tenure.
Coons ran in the 2010 special election against the Republican candidate Christine O'Donnell for the U.S. Senate seat then held by Ted Kaufman, who was appointed after Joe Biden resigned.In the first post-primary polls, Rasmussen Reports showed Coons with a double-digit lead over O'Donnell, describing this as a "remarkable turnaround" as the race had been leaning Republican until O'Donnell upset Mike Castle in the Republican primary election. In the first week of October, Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind Poll released the results of its research, showing Coons with a 17-point lead, 53%-36%, over O'Donnell, and pointing out that 85% of self-identified Democratic voters had united behind Coons, while only 68% of Republican voters endorsed O'Donnell. Days before the election, a second Fairleigh Dickinson poll showed Coons leading 57% to 36% among likely voters, and leading 72% to 20% among voters who described themselves as moderates. As polls closed at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, multiple news sources announced that Coons had defeated O'Donnell based on exit poll data. Final results gave Coons close to a 17-point margin over O'Donnell, capturing 56.6% of the vote to her 40%.
During the campaign, a controversy arose surrounding an article Coons wrote in 1985 for his college newspaper, entitled "Chris Coons: The Making of a Bearded Marxist".In it, he describes his transformation from a Republican to what Fox News described as a "Democrat suspicious of America's power and ideals." Dave Hoffman, a Coons campaign spokesman, said the title of the article was designed as a humorous take-off on a joke Coons's college friends had made about how his time outside the country had affected his outlook. "After witnessing crushing poverty and the consequences of the Reagan Administration's 'constructive engagement' with the South African apartheid regime, he rethought his political views, returned to the America he loved and proudly registered as a Democrat," Hoffman said in a statement to Politico.According to Fox News, Coons was "targeted by Republicans" over the 25-year-old piece. Coons himself downplayed the article, as well as controversial past statements by his opponent Christine O'Donnell, saying that voters were interested in current issues such as job creation and the national debt and were not "particularly interested in statements that either of us made 20 or 30 years ago." David Weigel, writing in Slate, opined: "If the Tea Party Express slings the 'bearded Marxist' nonsense, I doubt it will work."
Coons was sworn in as a senator on November 15, 2010, by Vice President Joe Biden, the former occupant of Coons' seat in the Senate. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (from West Virginia) was sworn in on the same day. He succeeded appointed U.S. senator and former Biden aide Ted Kaufman. His current term will expire in 2015.
June 7th, 2011