Mike Gravel, Former Alaska Senator, Wants U.S. Out of Foreign Wars

June 7, 2019 by TWN Staff
Presidential candidate former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska speaks with a reporter in the "Spin Room" following the Democratic Presidential debate at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Thursday, April 26, 2007. (Jeff Blake/The State/MCT)

Candidate: Mike Gravel

State of Residence: Alaska

Campaign Website: https://www.mikegravel.org

Presidential candidate former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska speaks with a reporter in the “Spin Room” following the Democratic Presidential debate at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Thursday, April 26, 2007. (Jeff Blake/The State/MCT)

Short Bio: Born in Springfield, Mass, on May 30, 1930, former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel is no stranger to presidential politics having run for Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

But unlike many who enter politics, Gravel took his time in finding a path to public service. After a stint in the U.S. Army between 1951 and 1954, he attended Columbia University in New York, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1956.

What followed were a series of odd jobs, including his working as a railroad brakeman and a cab driver. In fact it wasn’t until 1962 until he ran for and won a seat in the Alaska House of Representatives.

After losing a bid for election to the U.S. House of Representative in 1966, Gravel was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1968 and became one of the most outspoken senatorial critics of the Vietnam War.

In 1971 he made headlines when he undertook a five-month-long one-man filibuster that succeeded in killing legislation to extend the draft.

That same year he introduced the Pentagon Papers into the public record by reading portions of them aloud in a subcommittee meeting. Gravel lost his reelection bid in 1980 and spent much of the following 25 years promoting increased citizen participation in government.

Although he initially suggested he was running to qualify for the debates to spread his pro-peace, pro-political reform message, Gravel soon changed his mind.

“I have heard chatter that our efforts do not amount to a ‘serious campaign’ because we intend to drop out after the debates. I am confused. In many ways, I find our campaign to be, perhaps, the only serious campaign that’s running,” Gravel wrote in an email to supporters.

“We aspire for a higher goal than the office of the President of the United States of America. While other candidates run on personality and egotism, our campaign is defining the change and progress we need to live dignified lives,” he said.

Fun Fact: His campaign manager is a 17-year old teenager from New York.

On the Issues

Health Care: Gravel calls health care is a human right, and thinks the U.S. should develop a universal health-care plan. [Axios]

Jobs/Economy/Taxes: Gravel wants big businesses to be broken up, and leaders of corporations to be held directly responsible for the actions of their organizations. [Axios]

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