US Senator: Patrick Leahy: Vermont: Democrat
Vermont’s advocate, Patrick Leahy is the most senior member of the U.S. Senate giving Vermonters a strong voice when key decisions are made. That has included when times were tough such as when Hurricane Irene devastated parts of Vermont in August, 2011. The devastating storm required a federal relief effort that summed up to over half a billion dollars. He has continuously promoted the Vermont business community working closely with Vermonters to promote job growth and expand markets overseas. He provided the initial funding of the most successful technology incubator in Vermont, the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET).
Born in Montpelier, Vermont in 1940, Patrick Leahy was the son of a printer and the grandson of stone cutters. He graduated from Saint Michael’s College in 1961 and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1964. Leahy was appointed to serve as State’s Attorney of Chittenden County, which he continued to work for 8 years and where he earned a national reputation for his law enforcement work.
Leahy was elected to the United States Senate in 1974 after he won a close race against Vermont congressman, Richard Mallary. He became Vermont’s youngest ever senator at 34 years old.
Senator Leahy is the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is also a member of the Appropriations Committee and of the Agriculture Committee. Leahy is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. He has always been a strong advocate of anti-crime and anti-drug initiatives. He has worked to help Vermont’s local law enforcement to tackle drug and alcohol related issues.
Leahy is the leading US officer in the international campaign against distribution and use of personal landmines. In 1992, Leahy wrote the first law by any government to ban the export of these weapons. He led efforts in Congress to aid mine victims by creating a special fund in the foreign aid. He helped in establishing programs to support humanitarian demining and urged for the signing of a treaty to ban anti-personnel mines.
He recently wrote and passed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act that ensured all victims regardless of their gender or sexual identity have access to these important programs. As a member of the Judiciary Committee role, Patrick Leahy also gives Vermonters a leading voice in confirming nominations to the Supreme Court and other federal courts. A longtime leader in efforts to reform the death penalty, Patrick Leahy is the author of the Innocence Protection Act, bipartisan reforms in the use of the death penalty that help ensure access to competent legal counsel and by allowing post-conviction DNA testing to reduce the possibility of executing innocent individuals, while raising the possibility of finding the real criminals.
As the most senior member of the Agriculture Committee, he has authored several key conservation programs that have helped build working partnerships between farmers and crucial environmental and conservation goals. He is considered as the “father” of the highly successful national organic standards and labeling program. Patrick Leahy has advocated for effective child nutrition and anti-hunger programs, in order to tackle the obesity crisis in the country. He has led in forging congressional partnerships with communities in Vermont and states around the country in the successful and growing Farm To School movement.
Patrick Leahy lives with his wife Marcelle on a tree farm in Middlesex. The Leahys have two sons, a daughter, two daughters-in-law, a son-in-law, and five grandchildren.