Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A seventh generation Tennessean, he was born in Maryville, Tennessee as the son of a kindergarten teacher and elementary school principal.
Alexander was the Republican candidate for governor of Tennessee in the election of 1974, but he was defeated by his Democratic opponent, Ray Blanton. He defeated flamboyant Knoxville banker Jake Butcher in the election of 1978, and subsequently served as the 45th Governor of Tennessee (1979-1987), president of the University of Tennessee (1988-1991), and United States Secretary of Education (1991-1993). He helped found a company that is now the nation's largest provider of worksite day care. He taught about the American character as a faculty member at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He attempted a campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1996, but dropped out after failing to win any key primaries. Some said that the Democrats considered Alexander the most formidable of the group and were relieved when Bob Dole received the nomination. Alexander ran again in 2000 with even less success. In 2002, he won election to the U.S. Senate, the first Tennessean to be popularly elected both governor and senator.
Senator Alexander chairs the subcommittees on Children and Families, on Energy, on African Affairs, as well as the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Caucus.
In his second, successful campaign for governor, Lamar Alexander walked 1,000 miles across Tennessee in his now famous red and black plaid shirt. He is a classical and country pianist and the author of seven books, including Six Months Off, the story of his family's life in Australia after he was governor.
He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vanderbilt University and was a law review editor at New York University Law School, where he roomed with current NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. He then clerked for John Minor Wisdom of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, served as legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Howard Baker and worked for Bryce Harlow , counselor to President Richard Nixon.
He is married to the former Honey Buhler of Victoria, Texas. They have four children. The Alexanders' home is outside Maryville at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He is an elder of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville.
Alexander is a moderate conservative whose generally cautious viewpoints differ with many in his state and national party. He opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment until intense pressure from its supporters led him to change his mind.
|- style="text-align: center;" | width="30%" |Preceded by:
Lauro Cavazos | width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |United States Secretary of Education
1991–1993 | width="30%" |Succeeded by:
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