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Biography Sheldon Whitehouse

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Sheldon Whitehouse Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon Whitehouse
The junior U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, serving since 2007.


Sheldon Whitehouse Biography



Sheldon Whitehouse (born October 20, 1955) is the Junior Senator from the state of Rhode Island. A Democrat, he previously served as United States Attorney (1994–1998) and state Attorney General for Rhode Island. He is a descendent of William Bradford, colonial governor of Massachusetts.


Early life

Whitehouse was born in New York City, New York, the son of Mary Celine Rand and career diplomat Charles S. Whitehouse, and grandson of diplomat Sheldon Whitehouse. He graduated from St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, and from Yale University in 1978. He received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1982.



In 1986 Whitehouse married Dr. Sandra Thornton Whitehouse, a marine biologist and granddaughter of James Worth Thornton and Elena Mumm Thornton Wilson. Her step-grandfather was prominent essayist and critic Edmund Wilson. They live in Rhode Island with their two children, Molly and Alexander.


Political career

Whitehouse defeated Republican incumbent Lincoln Chafee in the November 7, 2006 election to become the junior Senator from Rhode Island.


U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island

President Bill Clinton appointed Whitehouse to serve as United States attorney for Rhode Island in 1994. Whitehouse held the position for four years, and was the first prosecutor to convict a member of organized crime under Clinton's "three strikes law" for organized crime. Whitehouse also initiated the investigation into municipal corruption in Rhode Island that led to Operation Plunder Dome, in which Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci was eventually convicted on conspiracy charges.


U.S. Senator

On August 3, 2007, it was announced that Whitehouse would receive the Golden Gavel award, having presided over Senate debates for more than 100 hours in his first six months in office.


Political positions

In traditionally liberal Rhode Island, both the Democratic Whitehouse and his predecessor, Republican Lincoln Chafee, hold liberal political positions. However, Whitehouse has been to the left of Chafee on economic issues, a position that separated him from his opponent during the last election cycle. For the 2007 year, Whitehouse was ranked second-most liberal senator by the National Journal. Whitehouse supports stem cell research, abortion rights, LGBT rights and gay marriage, as well as affirmative action. Whitehouse has publicly supported a reintroduction of the Equal Rights Amendment. Like Chafee, Whitehouse opposed intervention in Iraq (Chafee was the only Republican senator who voted against it) and the nomination of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. Whitehouse supports a more progressive tax system, strongly opposing the Bush tax cuts and proposals to repeal the Estate Tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax. He is in favor of gun control and has spoken out against the Patriot Act. Whitehouse supports introducing a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq and has stated that the US must use caution in the future and must avoid entering into military action in Iran. Despite a generally pro-rehabilitation stance on crime, Whitehouse supports the federal use of the death penalty (but supports it being illegal in Rhode Island). Whitehouse also opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement and other similar proposals. He has styled himself as a supporter of fair trade and is opposed to using presidential authority to "fast track" normalized trade relations. In addition, Whitehouse has stated that he does not want torture abuse by the Bush administration to be "papered over," and supports a commission to uncover war crimes by said administration.






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