Chris Dodd is Connecticut's senior United States Senator. A respected leader who works in a bipartisan fashion to better peoples' lives, Senator Dodd is known for his work to make America safer, stronger, and more prosperous.
Chris Dodd got his start in public service when he entered the Peace Corps in 1966. His service sent him to the Dominican Republic where he worked with rural communities and became fluent in Spanish. When his two year commitment in the Dominican Republic was fulfilled, he enlisted in the Army and served in the reserves.
Chris Dodd has long believed that "the best social program is a good job". To that end, he has dedicated himself to helping Americans create and win the best jobs in the 21st century global economy. While helping American companies compete abroad, Senator Dodd also believes that we must do more to help our companies keep good jobs here at home. This includes tax incentives to locate here in the United States, research and development credits and investments, job training, and policies that will reign in the skyrocketing cost of health care for employers and employees alike. In his view, American policy should encourage the export of American goods and services - not American jobs.
Senator Dodd a long-term supporter of measures to bring fiscal discipline into the federal budget-making process. These include authoring some of the first legislation that would require the federal government to operate on a pay-as-you-go basis. He also has long fought to reform our campaign finance laws and successfully authored and enacted legislation preventing members of Congress from receiving speaking fees.
Since his election to public office, Chris Dodd has been a tireless advocate for helping children and families. He formed the first Children's Caucus in the Senate and spent almost a decade working to enact the Family and Medical Leave Act, which has helped ensure that over 50 million Americans don't have to choose between the job they need and the family they love. He also authored and enacted landmark legislation to ensure that our nation provides better access to safe and affordable child care. Senator Dodd has also been named "Senator of the Decade" by the National Head Start Association in recognition of his support for early childhood education. He has also offered legislation to amend the No Child Left Behind law in order to make the law work better for America's children.
As a senior member of the Senate committee responsible for health care, Chris Dodd has been a voice for innovation in patient care and expanding access to affordable health care. He was instrumental in extending health insurance to 5 to 7 million of the nation's uninsured children and has consistently fought to support community health centers. Senator Dodd has also secured funding for initiatives aimed at child nutrition, maternal and child health, and infant mortality prevention. He authored critically important legislation to protect the mentally ill from abusive and deadly restraint and seclusion practices in mental hospitals. He continues to push for a patient's bill of rights, which would give Americans basic assurances in their health care services and a greater right to choose their health care provider.
Chris Dodd has a reputation for independence, vision, and effectiveness. Even before the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Senator Dodd realized the importance of America's first responders in protecting Americans from man-made and natural disasters. That is why he successfully authored the first federal law to help towns and cities hire, equip, and train firefighters and other emergency responders. This legislation has helped communities throughout America better protect their citizens from the risks of terrorism, fires, floods, and other disasters.
Another of Senator Dodd's most significant legislative achievements occurred in the aftermath of the disputed 2000 Presidential election when he authored the Help America Vote Act. This law has been called the first civil rights law of the 21st century. This law is working to ensure that every American voter has an equal opportunity to vote and have that vote counted.
As a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Dodd has received the Edmund S. Muskie Distinguished Public Service Award recognizing leadership in foreign policy for his commitment to a strong national defense and his desire to build a more secure world. A recognized expert on Latin and South America, he has worked to foster peace, prosperity and democracy abroad. He helped lead the successful fight to save Submarine Base New London, where our nation's most sophisticated undersea arsenal is developed and home-ported. He has taken steps to change Administration policies that currently allow the export and loss of critical defense technologies. And he has been a leader in the Senate to ensure that American soldiers have the best possible equipment on the battlefield.
Dodd's commitment to public service and human rights was instilled at an early age by his parents, the late Senator Thomas J. Dodd and Grace Murphy Dodd. Thomas Dodd was one of the lead prosecutors during the Nuremberg war crimes tribunals before he was elected to the United States Senate. Chris Dodd is the youngest person ever elected to the United States Senate in Connecticut history. He is also the first Connecticut Senator popularly elected to five terms.
Chris Dodd is a graduate of Providence College and 1972 he earned a law degree from the University of Louisville School of Law. He practiced law in New London before his election to Congress in 1974, where he served three terms in the House of Representatives on behalf of Connecticut's Second District. He was elected to the US Senate in 1980.
Dodd was born May 27, 1944, in Willimantic, Connecticut, the fifth of six children. Senator Dodd lives in East Haddam with his wife Jackie and their daughters Grace and Christina.