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Reed sets the standard in RI

While US Senator Jack Reed's disavowals of interest in a Cabinet job may be familiar to readers of this blog, G. Wayne Miller's charasterically lengthy portrait of the senator in the Sunday ProJo made for an excellent read, speaking to his stature and his diligence. It's no wonder that he routinely rates as Rhode Island's most popular elected official.

In his 12th year in the U.S. Senate and 16th year in Congress, Rhode Island's senior senator has established himself as a leading voice on military and national-defense issues. With seats on the Appropriations Committee, the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and Kennedy's health committee, Reed has also emerged as an authority on economic and working-class issues. Reed is 50th in Senate seniority, but Knowlegis, a nonpartisan Congressional analysis group, ranks him the 17th most powerful senator overall –– ahead of Joseph Biden and Christopher Dodd, former presidential candidates. ....

 

ALTHOUGH A search would surely find detractors in Washington, none surface during several days spent with Reed in the capital. Even senators who disagree politically with his liberal social politics and his stand on Iraq acknowledge respect for him. That stand is incorporated in legislation, the June 2006 Levin-Reed amendment. The amendment would require the Secretary of Defense to begin reducing the number of American forces in Iraq within 90 days of adoption. The amendment does not yet have the support needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.

 

"I've served in the Senate with great Rhode Island senators," Majority Leader Harry Reid says. "John Chafee was my pal, my friend. I liked him so very much. And then, of course, Senator Pell was a wonderful man –– totally different than Chafee but somebody I got along with. Jack fits the mold of how I see senators from Rhode Island, even though those two were much more patrician and came from families with lots of money. Jack didn't but he's still as good as those two great senators. If you asked me to say something bad about Jack, I'd have trouble finding it."

Someone I know once wrote to Reed's office with a constituent issue. If memory serves, the constituent received a return letter the next day.

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