Jack Reed

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John Francis "Jack" Reed is a member of the U.S. Senate, a Democrat from Rhode Island. A former U.S. Army Ranger, he serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He is also on the Senate Committees on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and Appropriations.[1] While considered one of the most liberal members of the Senate, an advocate of gun control, and opposed to the Iraq War, he is described as a strong supporter of individual soldiers. [2]

In 1996, he was elected to succeed Claiborne Pell (D-RI) as Rhode Island's 46th United States Senator. Prior to serving in the Senate, Reed was a three-term Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Rhode Island's 2nd Congressional District. During his tenure in the House, Reed championed child health care, public libraries, and campaign finance reform.

National security

He had voted against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in the Iraq War, but visited Iraq 12 times, more than any other member. While consistently opposed to the war, he has been described as one who sees it through a soldier's eyes. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said of him, "Jack travels to Iraq, he has friends in Iraq, and because of his many connections, Jack sees things in Iraq that a lot of us don’t get to see.”[2] In January 2008, he termed the Surge a failure. [3]

From the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations of the Appropriations Committee, he has supported increases in the international affairs budget to support our allies and build stronger relationships with emerging nations.


In May of 2007, President Bush signed Reed's Trauma Care Systems Planning and Development Act into law.

Economy and housing

While he is best known in defense issues, the New York Times calls him a housing expert. "Mr. Reed has had a passion for housing issues throughout his career. Beginning in the early 1980s when, as a young lawyer, he did pro bono work for Amos House, a Providence soup kitchen and social service agency, and continuing after his election to the Rhode Island Assembly, the House and finally the Senate."[4]

Early civilian career

Reed was elected to the Rhode Island State Senate in 1984 and served for three terms. Reed resigned from the Army as a Captain in 1979 and enrolled at Harvard Law School. In 1982, he graduated from Harvard and served a year as an associate with the Washington, DC law firm of Sutherland, Asbill, and Brennan. In 1983, he returned to Rhode Island and joined the Providence law firm of Edwards and Angell.

Education and Military

After graduating from West Point and receiving an active duty commission in the United States Army, Reed attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he received a Masters of Public Policy. Reed, an Army Ranger and a paratrooper, served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantry Platoon Leader, a Company Commander, and a Battalion Staff Officer. He returned to West Point in 1978 as an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences.

His father, a World War II veteran, started as a janitor in the Cranston, RI schools, and worked his way to become custodial supervisor of the city's school system. His parents' lessons helped Reed excel at LaSalle Academy in Providence and earned him anappointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1971.


  1. About Jack Reed, United States Senate
  2. 2.0 2.1 John E. Mulligan (August 26, 2008), "Soldiering On", Washingtonian
  3. Jack Reed (January 17-18, 2008), Iraq Trip Report by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)
  4. David M. Herszenhorn (17 June 2008), "A Quiet Dealmaker Works for Pained Homeowners", New York Times