Senator Ron Wyden

United States Senator (D-OR)

Senator Ron Wyden
Senator Ron Wyden represents the people of Oregon in the United States Senate, a seat he's held since 1996. He serves on the Committees on Finance, Budget, Aging, Intelligence, and Energy and Natural Resources. He chairs the Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness and the Senate Energy Subcommittee on Public Land and Forests. As the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel recently put it: "He's best described as a wonk, a workhorse, a doer.”

Always citing the need to “throw open the doors of government for Oregonians,” he holds an open-to-all town hall meeting in each of Oregon’s 36 counties each year. Thus far he has held more than 600 meetings. Wyden’s dedication to hearing all sides of an issue and looking for common sense, non-partisan solutions has won him trust on both sides of the aisle and put him at the heart of nearly every debate. In 2011, the Almanac of American Politics described Wyden as having “displayed a genius for coming up with sensible-sounding ideas no one else had thought of and making the counter-intuitive political alliances that prove helpful in passing bills.” The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein wrote: “The country has problems. And Ron Wyden has comprehensive, bipartisan proposals for fixing them.”

His lone stand against the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and its predecessor, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeit Act (COICA), put a spotlight on the problematic legislation being fast tracked through Congress and served as a rallying point for the historic Internet protests that ultimately toppled the bills. He stood alone on the floor of the Senate to block right wing efforts to overturn Oregon’s Death with Dignity law; a law that Oregon voters have passed twice. He went head-to-head with the E.P.A. to reduce cancer-causing benzene in gasoline sold in Oregon, and his relentless defiance of the national security community’s abuse of secrecy forced the declassification of the CIA Inspector General’s 9/11 report, shut down the controversial Total Information Awareness program and put a spotlight on both the Bush and Obama Administration’s reliance on “secret law.”

Wyden has taken the lead on policies that are helping to grow the economy in areas like clean energy, improved infrastructure through his Build America Bonds program, micro and nano-technology, and e-commerce. He has won countless awards for his pioneering role in establishing a free and open Internet, is known for his commitment to an open government, having authored the “Stand By Your Ad” law and the resolution ending Senate Secret Holds, and he has been routinely recognized as one of the Senate’s foremost health policy thinkers.

Wyden began college at the University of California-Santa Barbara where he won a basketball scholarship and played in Division I competition for two seasons before transferring to Stanford University where he completed his Bachelors degree with distinction. He earned his law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1974, after which he taught gerontology and co-founded the Oregon chapter of the Grey Panthers, an advocacy group for the elderly. He also served as the director of Oregon Legal Services for the Elderly from 1977 to 1979 and was a member of the Oregon State Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators during that same period. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 until his election to the U.S. Senate.

Senator Wyden’s home is in Portland; he is married to Nancy Wyden, whom he wed in September 2005. He has four children: Adam, Lilly, Ava and William.
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