|Name||Harold E. Ford, Jr.|
New York City, New York , United States
|| May 11, 1970
Jan 12, 2010 11:24pm
Black - Moderate-to-Liberal - Anti School Vouchers - Anti-Bush Tax Cuts (Pro-Tax Cut Rollback) - Anti-Death Penalty - Anti-Social Security Privatization - Health Care Reform - Pro Environment - Pro Free Trade - Pro- gun - Pro-Affirmative Action - Pro-Choice - Pro-Gay Marriage - Baptist - Christian - Protestant - Straight -
|Info||Congressman Harold Ford was elected to represent the Ninth District of Tennessee in 1996 at age 26, and is now serving in his fourth term in the House. |
The keynote speaker at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, Ford represents a new generation of political leaders who seek to replace the partisan politics of the past with fresh ideas and a pragmatic approach to the challenges of the twenty-first century.
The New York Times Magazine reported that Ford "is helping lead the change [toward] a more centrist, pragmatic approach."
The Knoxville News Sentinel offered the following assessment: "A smart, articulate, politically tough and wise beyond his years, Ford has forged a record as a moderate who weighs legislation carefully based on the issues involved, not based on ideology."
In endorsing Ford for reelection, the Memphis Commercial Appeal wrote: "He has demonstrated the ability, intelligence, and energy to help his constituents....He hasn't let his youth or relative political inexperience prevent him from effectively representing the Ninth Congressional District."
Ford was recently appointed to the House Budget Committee, which shapes the broad outlines of the federal budget. "In this new century, America is confronting challenges on many fronts," Ford says. "Our generation has been called upon to fight terrorism, defend our homeland, and expand democracy abroad. At the same time, too many Americans do not have access to good jobs, first-rate education, or quality health care. These are urgent challenges, but there is no doubt America can meet them. We must rise to the task without passing on the burden and the debt to future generations."
In 2002, Ford teamed up with Rep. Tom Osborne (R-NE) to author the "Call to Service Act," a bill to expand opportunities for Americans to perform national and community service. "The 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States created a groundswell of patriotism," Ford explains. "The Call to Service Act will harness the spirit of national service in the effort to strengthen our communities and defend our nation." The bill calls for a fivefold increase in national and community service programs, with half of the new volunteer opportunities dedicated to tasks related to homeland security. The Call to Service Act also called for a new short-term military enlistment option, a provision which became law in the Defense Authorization Act of 2002.
Ford also serves on the House Financial Services Committee. "Financial markets have become truly global," Ford says. "The Financial Services Committee must lead the way in reshaping government policy to fit this new reality. Another challenge is working to strengthen communities by expanding homeownership and affordable housing. Finally, in an economy where access to credit and capital are increasingly important, we must lower the barriers to opportunity and bring more Americans into the circle of prosperity."
To this end, Ford introduced the "Consumer Credit Empowerment Act," a bill intended to help consumers better understand the credit reporting system, their credit rating, and how to remain a safe credit risk. The bill would give consumers access to their credit reports, free of charge, along with their credit scores and a clear explanation of how the score was computed. Consumers would be armed with the same access to information that lenders and creditors now enjoy, giving them the resources necessary to become better customers and investors.
Since he was elected in 1996, Ford's main focus has been improving education, serving on the Education and the Workforce Committee for three terms. Ford is a consistent supporter not only for increased funding for education, but also for stronger accountability -- ideas which formed the basis of the "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001," the bipartisan legislation overhauling the federal role in K-12 education. "Our children deserve more investment in their education, as well as accountability measures to ensure they are learning. Education is not only about lifting the hopes of children -- in this century, education will be the key to the security and economic future of our nation."
Ford is also an advocate of increasing college opportunities. He authored the "Make College Affordable Act" to help working families meet the rising tuition costs. The bill called for a tax deduction for higher education expenses, including tuition, fees, room and board, as well as interest on student loans. The higher education deduction became law as part of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Ford is a "lawmaker of influence [who has] exerted himself on issues beyond the reach of his committees." Ford was widely lauded for his successful efforts to persuade his colleagues to support the campaign finance reform legislation that passed the House in February 2002. In March 2003, he joined colleagues in introducing legislation to provide immediate relief for seniors struggling to meet the spiraling cost of prescription drugs.
Ford visited Afghanistan and Central Asia in March of 2002 to visit American military bases and meet with President Hamid Karzei�s new government. "In Afghanistan as well as Iraq," Ford says, "a long-term commitment is needed to build institutions of democracy and ensure that these countries no longer harbor terrorism." Ford worked with Republicans and Democrats to craft a resolution supporting diplomatic efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime and authorizing the threat of military force. He has emphasized the importance of strengthening America's alliances and working with the international community to address security threats.
Ford is a member of several progressive, pro-growth coalitions, including the New Democrat Coalition, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Blue Dog Coalition.
Congressman Ford received his law degree from the University of Michigan School of Law in 1996. He earned a bachelor's degree in American History from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. Born in Memphis, Tennessee on May 11, 1970, Congressman Ford is the eldest son of former U.S. Representative Harold E. Ford and Dorothy Ford. He has two brothers, Jake and Isaac Ford.