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  Neas, Ralph G.
NameRalph G. Neas
Bethesda, Maryland , United States
Born Unknown
ContributorU Ole Polecat
Last ModifedU Ole Polecat
Jul 27, 2004 09:13am
InfoRalph G. Neas began his public service career as Chief Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-MA) in 1973, then worked in the same capacity for Senator Dave Durenberger (R-MN). From 1981 through 1995, Ralph served as Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation's oldest and largest coalition. During that time, he directed the national campaigns that strengthened every major civil rights law, in a political climate not particularly hospitable to civil rights. Landmark laws enacted, with huge bipartisan majorities, included the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988, the 1988 Fair Housing Act Amendments, the Japanese American Civil Liberties Act, and the 1982 Voting Rights Act Extension.

In 1987, he led the successful effort by LCCR and its members, including People For the American Way, to block the nomination of Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court. Senator Edward Kennedy, in a 1995 Senate floor statement, described Ralph as the "101st Senator for Civil Rights."

He has been honored many times by organizations representing the spectrum of issues to which he's devoted his career, including the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award from LCCR; the Benjamin Hooks "Keeper of the Flame" Award from the national NAACP; the Flag Bearer Award from Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; the Public Service Achievement Award from Common Cause; the Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund; the Isaiah Award for the Pursuit of Justice from the American Jewish Committee; the Edison Uno Memorial Civil Rights Award from the Japanese-American Citizens' League; the University of Chicago Alumni Public Service Citation; "Citizen of the Year" from the Guillian-Barre Syndrome Foundation International; and the National Good Guy Award from the National Women's Political Caucus.

Ralph has been interviewed many times on ABC's Nightline; CBS Sunday Morning; NBC's Today Show, ABC's This Week; PBS Lehrer News Hour; the nightly news shows of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox; National Public Radio; and cable television talk shows. He has been profiled several times in the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today. In October 1987, Ralph was named ABC's "Person of the Week" for his efforts on the Bork Supreme Court nomination.

Ralph G. Neas, a native of Brookline, Massachusetts, earned his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. Ralph has taught at Georgetown University Law Center, the University of Chicago Law School, the University of Iowa Law School, and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. From 1995 through 1999, Neas was president of The Neas Group. In 1998, he was the Democratic candidate for Congress from Maryland's 8th Congressional District.


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  11/03/1998 MD District 8 Lost 39.64% (-20.68%)
  09/15/1998 MD District 8 - D Primary Won 55.64% (+39.78%)