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Posted: Jul 8 2004, 05:38 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 18-June 04
John Edwards was born in Seneca, South Carolina and raised in Robbins, North Carolina. There John learned the values of hard work and perseverance from his father, Wallace, who worked in the textile mills for 36 years, and from his mother, Bobbie, who ran a shop and worked at the post office. Working alongside his father at the mill, John developed his strong belief that all Americans deserve an equal opportunity to succeed and be heard.
A proud product of public schools, John became the first person in his family to attend college. He worked his way through North Carolina State University where he graduated with high honors in 1974, and then earned a law degree with honors in 1977 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For the next 20 years, John dedicated his career to representing families and children hurt by the indifference and negligence of others. Standing up against the powerful insurance industry and their armies of lawyers, John helped these families through the darkest moments of their lives to overcome tremendous challenges. His passionate advocacy for people like the ones who worked in the mill with his father earned him respect and recognition across the country.
In 1998, John took this commitment into politics to give a voice in the United States Senate to the people he had represented throughout his career. He ran for the Senate and won, defeating an incumbent Senator.
In Congress, John is championing the issues that matter to American families. He is working to provide Americans with quality health care and he co-authored the Patients' Bill of Rights and helped pass it in the Senate. He fought for middle-class tax cuts to help families save and get ahead. And he worked to improve our schools, fund No Child Left Behind, improve teacher pay, and expand after-school programs.
Senator Edwards is working every day to protect our civil liberties and our rights: standing up to radical judicial appointees like Judge Pickering. He is standing up to the big polluters to preserve our environment and keep our air and our water clean. And he has called for fiscal discipline to cut the deficit in half to save Social Security and Medicare, and offered real reforms to change the way campaigns are financed.
As a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Edwards has worked tirelessly for a strong national defense and to strengthen the security of our homeland. In the wake of September 11th, he served as a member of the joint House and Senate panel investigating the terrorist attacks.
John Edwards has been a leader in fighting bioterrorism, and he's taken on powerful special interests to safeguard our nuclear power plants and chemical plants. He was one of the first to call for fundamental reforms in the way our intelligence agencies are organized to catch terrorists here at home and around the world. And he was one of the first to travel to Afghanistan to visit our troops after they defeated the Taliban.
As the Senator from North Carolina, John Edwards represents the world's largest army installation complex as well as the headquarters of the Marine Antiterrorism Task Force. He has been active in strengthening our military and improving the lives of our men and women in uniform and their families. He has proposed to extend tax exemptions for military personnel in combat zones and provide National Guard families with financial help paying for child care in their home town.
Senator Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, whom he met when both were law students at Chapel Hill, were married in 1977. They have had four children, including: their eldest daughter, Catharine, a recent graduate of Princeton University; six-year-old Emma Claire, and a four-year-old son, Jack. Their first child, Wade, died in 1996.
Senator Edwards and Elizabeth opened the Wade Edwards Learning Lab in Raleigh, North Carolina. The learning lab offers students after-school access to computers and tutoring in technology. The Edwards also established an education foundation in memory of their son that offers college scholarships to students.