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  Cleland, Max
<-  2000-01-03  
NameMax Cleland
AddressPO Box 7809
Atlanta, Georgia 30357-0809, United States
Born August 24, 1942 (79 years)
ContributorWishful Thinking
Last ModifedBarack O-blame-a
Jan 05, 2012 04:51pm
Tags Caucasian - Married - Disabled - Paraplegic - Army - Christian - Methodist - Protestant - Straight -
InfoJoseph Maxwell "Max" Cleland

Born in Atlanta in 1942 and raised in Lithonia, Max graduated from Lithonia High School in 1960. He then attended Stetson University where he joined the Army's ROTC program and majored in English. Upon graduation, he took a Second Lieutenant's commission in the Army and went on to earn a Masters Degree in American History from Emory University. Both Stetson and Emory have since awarded Cleland Honorary Doctorate Degrees.

Cleland volunteered for duty in Vietnam in 1967, after airborne training at Ft. Benning, Georgia and a tour as an Aide de Camp at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. In 1968, he was promoted to the rank of Captain, but was seriously wounded in a grenade explosion on April 8th of that year, costing him both legs and his right arm. Cleland returned home just one month prior to the end of his tour of duty, and spent the next year and a half recovering from his injuries in various Army and Veterans Administration hospitals. He has since been awarded the Bronze Star and a Silver Star for meritorious service in Vietnam.

In 1969, Cleland was asked to testify before the United States Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to describe the difficulties veterans were experiencing returning home from Vietnam. The next year, at age 28, Max was the youngest person, and first Vietnam veteran elected to the Georgia State Senate where he wrote the state law making public facilities in the state accessible to the disabled.

Max went to work for the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in 1975 and two years later, newly-elected President Jimmy Carter appointed him head of the U.S. Veterans Administration. As the youngest ever VA Administrator and the first Vietnam veteran to head the agency, Cleland instituted the revolutionary "Vets Center program" which for the first time offered psychological counseling to combat veterans, healing the physical and emotional wounds of war. There are now more than 200 Vets Centers across the country offering support to combat and non-combat veterans and their families.

In 1982, Max broke another barrier when Georgia voters made him the youngest person elected to be Georgia's Secretary of State. In that position, Cleland fought for tougher campaign finance laws and cracked down on securities and telemarketing fraud. In 1995, he implemented the National Voter Registration Act ("motor voter") in Georgia, which added almost one million new voters to the rolls. That year, he resigned his position as Secretary of State to run for retiring U.S. Senator Sam Nunn's senate seat. Despite being out-spent by more than three to one, Cleland won the race and was sworn-in to the United States Senate in 1997.

From the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress:
Senator from Georgia; born in Atlanta, Ga., August 24, 1942; grew up in Lithonia and graduated from Lithonia High School 1960; graduated from Stetson University, DeLand, Fla. 1964; received a Master�s degree from Emory University 1965; served in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of captain 1965-1968; wounded in combat in Vietnam; member of the Georgia state senate 1971-1975; unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor 1974; consultant to Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs 1975, professional Senate staff member 1975-1977; appointed administrator of United States Veterans Administration by President Jimmy Carter in 1977, and served until 1981; Georgia Secretary of State 1982-1996; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1996, and served from January 7, 1997 to January 3, 2003; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 2002.


Title Purchase Contributor
Strong at the Broken Places  Purchase Barack O-blame-a 
Going for the Max!: 12 Principles for Living Life to the Fullest  Purchase Barack O-blame-a 

Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor
Aug 26, 2004 12:00am Commentary A $136,000 Link: Max Cleland, Bush political appointee  Article Tony82 
Aug 25, 2004 12:00am News Cleland Asks Bush to Yank Ads  Article PragCon 3.0 
Apr 19, 2004 12:00am News Ex-senator [Max Cleland] likens Iraq to Vietnam  Article PragCon 3.0 
Feb 20, 2004 12:00am Commentary Max Cleland, liberal victim  Article Tony82 
Feb 18, 2004 12:00am News File Under: 'Omission Accomplished'  Article None Entered 
Feb 12, 2004 12:00am Opinion Cleland drops a political grenade  Article Bob 

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