Pete Domenici

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Pete Domenici
Pete Domenici

Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 1973
Serving with Jeff Bingaman
Preceded by Clinton P. Anderson
Succeeded by Incumbent (2009)

Born May 07, 1932 (age 74)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Political party Republican
Spouse Nancy Burk Domenici
Religion Roman Catholic

Pietro Vichi "Pete" Domenici (born May 7, 1932) is an American politician, currently serving as a Republican Senator from New Mexico. He has served continuously since 1973, the longest tenure in the state's history. On September 7, 2006, he cast his 13,000th vote, joining only seven other Senators who have done the same.

Contents

[edit] Early years

Domenici was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, to Italian-American parents[1] Alda Vichi and Cherubino Domenici, who was born in Sorbarro, Italy.[2] Growing up, he worked in his father's grocery business after school. He graduated in 1950 from St. Mary's High School in Albuquerque. After earning a degree in education at the University of New Mexico in 1954, he pitched for one season for the Albuquerque Dukes, a farm club for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He taught mathematics at Garfield Junior High in Albuquerque. He earned his law degree at the University of Denver in 1958 and returned to practice law in Albuquerque.

Domenici attends a press conference with (right to left) Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Barack Obama (D-IL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) over comprehensive immigration reform.
Domenici attends a press conference with (right to left) Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Barack Obama (D-IL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) over comprehensive immigration reform.

After graduating, he married Nancy Burk. Together they have two sons and six daughters (Lisa, Peter, Nella, Clare, David, Nanette, and twins Paula and Helen).

In 1966, Domenici successfully ran for a position on the Albuquerque City Commission and in 1968 was elected Commission Chairman. This position was equivalent to that of "mayor" under the structure of the city government at the time.

Domenici made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 1970. He received 134,640 votes to Democrat Bruce King's 148,835 ballots. Two years later Domenici successfully ran for a position in the U.S. Senate and became the first New Mexico Republican to be elected to the position in 38 years. Domenici polled 204,253 votes (54 percent) to 173,815 (46 percent) for the Democrat Jack Daniels. He was re-elected in 1978, 1984, 1990, 1996, and 2002 and is the longest-serving senator in his state's history. He is the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. He is also a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate Committee on Budget. Domenici is a very strong advocate for the mentally ill.

Domenici is an avid proponent of nuclear power and has published two books on the subject: "A Brighter Tomorrow: Fulfilling the Promise of Nuclear Energy" (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004), which he wrote; and "Advanced Nuclear Technologies - Hearing Before the Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate" (Collingdale, Pennsylvania: D I A N E Publishing Company, 1999), which he edited.

Domenici is the fifth-most senior sitting Senator and second-most senior sitting Republican.

[edit] Department of Justice controversy

 This article documents a current event.
Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.

Prior to the 2006 midterm election Domenici called and pressured then-United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico David Iglesias to speed up indictments in a federal corruption investigation, immediately prior to an election, that involved at least one former Democratic state senator. When Iglesias said an indictment wouldn't be handed down until at least December, Domenici said "I'm very sorry to hear that" - and the line went dead. Iglesias was fired one week later by the Bush Administration. A communication by a senator or House member with a federal prosecutor regarding an ongoing criminal investigation is a violation of ethics rules. In a March 2007 statement, Domenici admitted making such a call.[3] House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., issued subpoenas to require Iglesias and three other ousted U.S. attorneys to testify before Congress.[4]

Domenici's intial denial, Domenici later admitted calling Iglesias, though Domenici claimed he never used the word "November" when he called Iglesias about an ongoing Albuquerque courthouse corruption case.[5] Domenici has denied trying influence Iglesias, and has hired lawyer K. Lee Blalack II to represent him.[6]

According to the Justice Department, Domenici called the Department and demanded Iglesias be replaced on four occasions.[7]

According to the Washington Post, on the day of the firing (Dec 7, 2006) William Kelley, a deputy to White House counsel Harriet Miers, said in an email that Domenici's chief of staff was "happy as a clam" about the Iglesias firing. A week later, a Justice Department email to the White House counsel stated: "Domenici is going to send over names tomorrow (not even waiting for Iglesias's body to cool)."[8]

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  • Fenno, Richard F., Jr. The Emergence of a Senate Leader: Pete Domenici and the Reagan Budget. Congressional Quarterly Press, 1991. 250 pp.

[edit] External links

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Preceded by
Clinton Presba Anderson
United States Senator (Class 2) from New Mexico
1973-
Served alongside: Joseph Montoya, Harrison Schmitt, Jeff Bingaman
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Ralph Trigg
Mayor of Albuquerque
October 1, 1967March 3, 1970
Succeeded by
Charles E. Barnhart
Preceded by
Fritz Hollings (first term)
Jim Sasser (second term)
Kent Conrad (third term)
Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on the Budget
January 3, 1981-January 3, 1987
January 3, 1995-January 3, 2001

January 20, 2001-June 21, 2001

Succeeded by
Lawton Chiles (first term)
Kent Conrad (second and third terms)
Preceded by
Ted Stevens
United States order of precedence
as of 2007
Succeeded by
Joe Biden


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