Undergraduate education: U.S. Military Academy
Graduate education: Harvard University
Graduate education: Harvard University
Jack Reed was born in Providence, R.I., and raised in Cranston. He father was a World War II veteran and school janitor, and his mother was a homemaker. He earned a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Military Academy in 1971.
He was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina from 1973 to 1977, serving as a platoon leader, a company commander and a battalion staff officer.
While in the service, Reed attended Harvard University where he earned a master's degree in public policy in 1973 and a law degree in 1982. He taught at West Point from 1977 to 1979.
Reed practiced law and was elected to the Rhode Island Senate in 1984, serving from 1985 to 1990.
He was elected to the U.S. House in 1990 and re-elected in 1992 and 1994. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 and re-elected in 2002 and 2008.
Reed and his wife, Julia, have a daughter and live in Jamestown.
Jack Reed has emerged as a leading Democratic voice on defense and national security issues, as well as banking issues.
He authored several key pieces of the historic Wall Street reform bill and in 2012 helped to pass legislation that would prevent the interest rate on new federal student loans from doubling for 7.4 million students.
In May 2012, with other Senate Democrats, Reed called for new rights and protections for military personnel beyond the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Included were plans to help them with housing needs and minimize the financial stress of deployment.
His national profile increased substantially in 2008 when he accompanied then-presidential nominee Barack Obama on a six-day trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan and Kuwait. He participated in meetings with diplomats and top U.S. military commanders.
Reed also was mentioned as a possible running mate or cabinet pick for Obama, a reflection of his stature among Senate Democrats. Reed has made several trips to Iraq.
When Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview published in August 2010 that he was looking to step down the following year, some Washington insiders mentioned Reed as a possible replacement. When asked about the possibility, Reed has said he wants to stay in the Senate.
After Republican Sen. John Cornyn suggested in August 2010 that there would be political fallout from President Obama's remarks regarding a mosque being built near ground zero in New York City, Reed said the economy would remain the dominant issue in the 2010 elections.
Reed has been a respected anti-war voice in the Senate after voting against authorizing the war in Iraq. Consistently one of Rhode Island's most popular public officials, Reed accused President George W. Bush's administration of not having a clear plan for success and of forcing Americans to write a blank check for battle.
"At a time when the war in Iraq costs $10 billion each month, Americans are paying $4 a gallon for gasoline, and our economy is struggling, we cannot continue down the path that President Bush and Senator McCain propose: writing blank check after blank check," Reed said in July 2008.
Reed has also focused on education, health care and affordable housing issues.
He has worked on several education initiatives, including his TEACH program, which partners teacher colleges with primary and secondary schools. He's been a strong supporter of requiring continual teacher training.
Reed has sought to increase Medicare spending for home health care and pushed for tougher gun safety legislation. In October 2000, he put a hold on a bill granting citizenship to foreign children adopted by American parents, in an effort to get permanent refugee status for 10,000 Liberians who came to the United States, many to Rhode Island.
A former Army Ranger, Reed is one of the few senators of his generation with military experience. He has said he wants to consolidate the Naval War College and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, two of the remaining Rhode Island military facilities.
Reed supports abortion rights and favors the death penalty for drug kingpins, for the premeditated murder of law enforcement officers and for terrorist acts. He helped pass legislation to allow police departments across the country to hire 100,000 new police officers.
He supported legislation in 2007 to raise fuel efficiency standards for trucks and cars and has secured money to remove and dispose of contaminated soil and to conduct groundwater monitoring.
Committee Assignments: Appropriations; Armed Services; Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
American Conservative Union Rating: 0
Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 100
Recent winning percentages for office currently held: 73% (2008), 78% (2002).
(Last updated by Michelle R. Smith on July 12, 2012.)