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Biography Jay Rockefeller

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Jay Rockefeller Jay Rockefeller
Jay Rockefeller
The senior United States Senator from West Virginia and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation since 2009.


Jay Rockefeller Biography

ENG:   John Davison "Jay" Rockefeller IV (born June 18, 1937) is the senior United States Senator from West Virginia. He was first elected to the Senate in 1984, while in office as Governor of West Virginia, a position he held from 1977 to 1985. Rockefeller moved to Emmons, West Virginia to serve as a VISTA worker in 1964, and was first elected to public office in the state, as a member of the House of Delegates, in 1966. Rockefeller was later elected Secretary of State in 1968 and was president of West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1973 to 1976. As a great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, he is the only currently-serving politician of the prominent six-generation Rockefeller family and the only Democrat in what has been a traditionally Republican dynasty.


Early life

John Davison Rockefeller IV was born at New York Hospital in New York City to John D. Rockefeller III and Blanchette Ferry Hooker just 26 days after the death of his great-grandfather John D. Rockefeller. Jay Rockefeller graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy (1955) and from Harvard University (1961) with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Far Eastern Languages and History, after having spent three years studying Japanese at the International Christian University in Tokyo. After college, Rockefeller worked for the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., under President John F. Kennedy, where he developed a friendship with Attorney General Robert Kennedy and worked as an assistant to Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver. He served as the Operations Director for the Corps' largest overseas program, in the Philippines. He continued his public service in the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) (1964–65), under President Lyndon B. Johnson, during which time he moved to Emmons, West Virginia. Rockefeller, along with his son Charles, is a Trustee of New York's Asia Society, which was established by his father (1956). He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonprofit think tank previously chaired by his uncle, David Rockefeller. As a Senator, he voted against the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, which was heavily backed by David Rockefeller. Since 1967, Rockefeller has been married to the former Sharon Percy, the Chief Executive Officer of WETA-TV, the leading PBS station in the Washington, D.C., area, which broadcasts such notable programs as PBS NewsHour and Washington Week. Sharon is the daughter of former Republican Illinois Senator Charles H. Percy, who had an association with the Rockefeller family. Jay and Sharon have four children: John D. Rockefeller V (Jamie), Valerie, Charles, and Justin. Jamie's wife, Emily, is the daughter of former National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The Rockefellers reside in Northwest Washington, D.C., and maintain permanent residence in Charleston, West Virginia. They, like other members of the family, have a ranch in the Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Former President Bill Clinton, a friend of Rockefeller's; and the Clinton family vacationed at the ranch in August 1995.Rockefeller is related to several prominent Republican Party supporters and former officeholders: He is a great-grandson of Nelson W. Aldrich, U.S. Senator from Rhode Island (1881–1911); a nephew of David Rockefeller, the Rockefeller patriarch; Winthrop Rockefeller, 37th Governor of Arkansas (1967–71); and Nelson Rockefeller, 49th Governor of New York and 41st Vice President of the United States (1974–77); the son-in-law of Charles H. Percy, U.S. Senator from Illinois; and a cousin of Winthrop Paul Rockefeller, 13th Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas (1996–2006).


State politics

He was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1966, and to the office of West Virginia Secretary of State in 1968. He won the Democratic nomination for Governor in 1972, but was defeated in the general election by the Republican incumbent Governor Arch Moore. Rockefeller then served as president of West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1973 to 1976. Rockefeller was elected Governor of West Virginia in 1976 and re-elected in 1980. He served as Governor when manufacturing plants and coal mines were closing as the national recession of the early 1980s hit West Virginia particularly hard. Between 1982 and 1984, West Virginia's unemployment rate hovered between 15 and 20 percent.


U.S. Senate career


In 1984, he was elected to the United States Senate, narrowly defeating businessman John Raese as Ronald Reagan narrowly carried the state in the presidential election. As in his 1980 gubernatorial campaign against Arch Moore, Rockefeller spent over $12 million to win a Senate seat. Rockefeller was re-elected in 1990, 1996, 2002 and 2008 by substantial margins. He was chair of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs (1993–1995; January 3 to January 20, 2001; and June 6, 2001–January 3, 2003). Rockefeller is the current chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (2009-present).

In April 1992, he was the Democratic Party's finance chairman and considered running for the presidency, but pulled out after consulting with friends and advisers. He went on to strongly endorse Clinton as the Democratic candidate.He was the Chairman of the prominent Senate Intelligence Committee (retiring in January 2009), from which he commented frequently on the war in Iraq. He now serves as a member of the Committee, taking on the role of Chairmanship at the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. In 1993, Rockefeller became the principal Senate supporter, with Ted Kennedy, behind Bill and Hillary Clinton's sweeping health care reform package, liaising closely with the First Lady, even opening up his mansion in Rock Creek Park for its first strategy meeting. The reform was subsequently defeated by an alliance between the Business Roundtable and a small-business coalition.


In November 2005 during a TV interview, Rockefeller stated: "I took a trip...in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq, that that was a predetermined set course that had taken shape shortly after 9/11." Rockefeller noted that the comment expresses his personal opinion, and that he was not privy to any confidential information that such action was planned. On October 11 of that year, he was one of 77 Senators who voted for the Iraq Resolution authorizing the Iraq invasion. In February 2010, regarding President Obama, Rockefeller said: "He says 'I'm for clean coal,' and then he says it in his speeches, but he doesn't say it in here,..."And he doesn't say it in the minds of my own people. And he's beginning to not be believable to me." Jay Rockefeller became the senior U.S. Senator from West Virginia when Robert Byrd passed away in June 2010, after serving in the senate with Rockefeller for 25 years. In July 2011 Rockefeller was prominent in calling for U.S. agencies to investigate whether alleged phone hacking at News Corporation's newspapers in the United Kingdom had targeted American victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Rockefeller and Barbara Boxer subsequently wrote to the oversight committee of Dow Jones & Company (a subsidiary of News Corporation) to request that it conduct an investigation into the hiring of former CEO Les Hinton, and whether any current or former executives had knowledge of or played a role in phone hacking.


In July 2007, Senator Rockefeller announced that he planned to introduce legislation before the August Congressional recess that would give the FCC the power to regulate TV violence. According to the July 16, 2007 edition of Broadcasting & Cable, the new law would apply to both broadcast as well as cable and satellite programming. This would mark the first time that the FCC would be given power to regulate such a vast spectrum of content, which would include almost everything except material produced strictly for direct internet use. An aide to the senator said that his staff had also been carefully formulating the bill in such a way that it would be able to pass constitutional scrutiny by the courts.


In 2007, Senator Rockefeller began steering the Senate Intelligence Committee to grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies who were accused of unlawfully assisting the National Security Agency (NSA) in monitoring the communications of American citizens (see Hepting v. AT&T).This was an about-face of sorts for Senator Rockefeller, who had hand-written a letter to Vice President Cheney in 2003 expressing his concerns about the legality of NSA's warrantless wire-tapping program. Some have attributed this change of heart to the spike in contributions from telecommunications companies to the senator just as these companies began lobbying Congress to protect them from lawsuits regarding their cooperation with the NSA.Between 2001 and the start of this lobbying effort, AT&T employees had contributed only $300 to the senator. After the lobbying effort began, AT&T employees and executives donated $19,350 in 3 months. The senator has pledged not to rely on his vast fortune to fund his campaigns, and the AT&T contributions represent about 2% of the money he raised during the previous year.


The Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (BRNI) was founded in Morgantown in 1999 by Senator Rockefeller and his family to help advance medical and scientific understanding of Alzheimer's and other diseases of the brain. BRNI is the world's only non-profit institute dedicated exclusively to the study of both human memory and diseases of memory. Its primary mission is to accelerate neurological discoveries from the lab, including diagnostic tools and treatments, to the clinic to benefit patients who suffer from neurological and psychiatric diseases. A $30 million state-of-the-art BRNI research facility was opened at West Virginia University in Fall 2008.


The approximately 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2) three-level building will house 100 scientists by 2012. On Healthcare Reform, Rockefeller has been a proponent of a public option, fighting with some Democrats on the finance committee, in particular Max Baucus, the chairman of the committee, who contended that there was not enough support for a public option to gather the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster. Baucus asked repeatedly for Rockefeller to stop speaking on the issue.On September 29, 2009 Rockefeller offered an amendment to the Baucus Health Bill in the Senate Finance Committee to add a public option. The amendment was rejected 15 to 8, with five Democrats (Baucus, Kent Conrad, Blanche Lincoln, Tom Carper, Bill Nelson) and all Republicans voting no.Rockefeller supported President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and he voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.



Source: wikipedia

August 8th, 2011


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