Peter Fitzgerald

Peter Fitzgerald

Infobox Senator | name=Peter Fitzgerald

jr/sr=United States Senator
term=January 6, 1999 – January 3, 2005
preceded=Carol Moseley Braun
succeeded=Barack Obama
term_start2=January 13, 1993
term_end2=November 16, 1998
preceded2=Virginia B. Macdonald
succeeded2=Wendell E. Jones
date of birth=birth date and age|1960|10|20
place of birth=Elgin, Illinois
date of death=
place of death=
spouse=C. Nina Fitzgerald
religion=Roman Catholic

Peter Gosselin Fitzgerald (born October 20, 1960) is the former junior United States Senator from Illinois, having served from 1999– 2005, for one 6-year term. He is a member of the Republican Party (GOP). He previously served in the Illinois State Senate from 1992–1998, where he was a member of the 'Fab Five' group of conservatives who often challenged the leadership of the Illinois GOP. The group also included Steve Rauschenberger, Dave Syverson, Patrick O'Malley, and Chris Lauzen.

Born in Illinois, Fitzgerald graduated from Portsmouth Abbey School, a Catholic boarding school on the shores of Rhode Island, in 1978, Dartmouth College in 1982, completed his post-graduate studies as a Rotary Scholar at Aristotelian University in Greece, and earned his law degree from the University of Michigan in 1986.

Fitzgerald is a banking heir who had a net worth of over $51 million when he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998. His father, Gerald, built Suburban Bancorp, a chain of suburban banks, by aggressively buying banks around the Chicago suburbs, which he sold in 1994 to a subsidiary of the Bank of Montreal for $246 million.

Political career

Fitzgerald defeated first-term Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun in 1998, and served for one term in the U.S. Senate. He was the first Republican in Illinois to win a U.S. Senate race in 20 years, and the only Republican challenger in the country to defeat an incumbent Democratic senator in the 1998 election cycle. Even though Moseley Braun was dogged by corruption charges, Fitzgerald only defeated her by 2.9%.

Fitzgerald was a staunch conservative opposed to abortion (except to save the life of the mother), gun control, gay marriage and taxes on the wealthy; though on some issues, particularly on environmental issues — he opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge throughout his tenure in the US Senate — he broke with conservative colleagues.

Throughout his tenure in the Senate, Fitzgerald battled with the state Republican Party leadership. He insisted on the appointment of an out-of-state US attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation), to investigate corruption in the Illinois state government, which led to several indictments, including that of former Republican Governor George Ryan, who has since been convicted of several criminal abuses of authority. Fitzgerald declined to run for reelection largely because many Republican insiders who had failed to support him in his first run in 1998 had made it clear he would not have their support again, in what he knew would be a much tougher race.

Fitzgerald had two major moments in the spotlight in the Senate, the first in 2000 when he filibustered a massive federal spending bill because it included funds for the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield. He did it to bring light to the Republican-controlled Illinois state government's failure to promise competitive bidding for the project.

His second major moment was following the September 11, 2001 attacks, when Congress quickly passed a massive bailout measure for most of the major airlines, which were in trouble financially. Standing alone out of all members of the U.S. Senate, Fitzgerald delivered a speech entitled "Who will bail out the American taxpayer," arguing that the airlines would simply go through the money and remain financially unstable. The bill passed 99 to 1.

Citing problems dealing with the State party leadership and family issues, Fitzgerald retired from the Senate at the end of his first, and only, term; Democratic State Senator Barack Obama defeated Republican Alan Keyes in a landslide to take the open seat. Fitzgerald is the only U.S. Senator in history to be both preceded and succeeded by African Americans.

Post-political career

He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution. [National Constitution Center (2008). [ National Constitution Center Board of Trustees] . Retrieved April 17, 2008.]

Electoral history

*1998 Republican Primary - U.S. Senate
**Peter Fitzgerald (R), 51.83%
**Loleta Didrickson (R), 48.17%
*1998 General Election - U.S. Senate
**Peter Fitzgerald (R), 50.35%
**Carol Moseley Braun (D) (inc.), 47.44%


External links

* [ Federal Election Commission — Peter G Fitzgerald] campaign finance reports and data
* [ New York Times — Topics: Peter G. Fitzgerald] collected news and commentary
* [ On the Issues — Peter Fitzgerald] issue positions and quotes
* [" — Peter G. Fitzgerald] campaign contributions

NAME= Fitzgerald, Peter G.
SHORT DESCRIPTION=United States Senator from Illinois
DATE OF BIRTH=October 20, 1960
PLACE OF BIRTH=Elgin, Illinois

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