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Scott Brown

Scott Philip Brown (born September 12, 1959) is an American politician and the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts. Brown previously served as a member of the Massachusetts General Court, first in the State House of Representatives (1998 2004) and then in the State Senate (2004 2010).

Brown is a member of the Republican Party, and faced the Democratic candidate, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, in the 2010 special election to succeed U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy for the remainder of the term ending January 3, 2013. While initially trailing Coakley in polling by a large margin, Brown won the election and in January 2010 became the first Republican elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts since Edward Brooke in 1972.

Prior to entering the state legislature, he had experience as a town selectman and assessor. He is a practicing attorney, concentrating in real estate law and serving as defense counsel in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the Massachusetts Army National Guard. Brown is a graduate of Wakefield High School (1977), Tufts University (1981), and Boston College Law School (1985).


Early life and education

Brown was born on September 12, 1959 in Kittery, Maine[1] and grew up in Wakefield, Massachusetts.[2] He often spent his summers in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where his father served as a city councilor for 18 years. Brown's father, Claude Bruce Brown, and mother, Judith Ann Judi (n e Rugg),[3][4] divorced when he was about a year old. Both his parents have since remarried three times. His father and his grandfather were Republicans. His father has said that young Scott became interested in running for political office in the mid 1960s while accompanying him on a campaign for state office.[5] Scott Brown recalls holding campaign signs for his father.[6]

Brown had a difficult childhood; after her divorce his working mother received welfare benefits.[7] Brown experienced sexual abuse from a camp counselor who threatened to kill the 10-year-old boy if he told anyone—which he did not disclose even to his family until his autobiography Against All Odds (2011)[8] and physical abuse from his stepfathers. During various periods of his childhood, Brown lived with his grandparents and his aunt. He shoplifted many times, and was arrested for stealing record albums and brought before Judge Samuel Zoll in Salem, Massachusetts at the age of 13 or 14.[9] Zoll asked Brown if his siblings would like seeing him play basketball in jail and required Brown to write a 1,500-word essay on that question as his punishment. Brown later said, "that was the last time I ever stole.[2]

He graduated from Wakefield High School in 1977.[10] He received a Bachelors of Arts in History,[11] cum laude from Tufts University in 1981 and a Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School in 1985. During his undergraduate career at Tufts, Brown was a member of the Kappa Chapter of Zeta Psi International Fraternity.[1][12]

Early career

Army National Guard service

Brown has said the rescue efforts of Army National Guard during the Northeastern United States blizzard of 1978 impressed him. He joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard when he was 19, receiving his basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey,[2] and attending Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) classes at the campus of Northeastern University.[13] He was trained in infantry, quartermaster, and airborne duties, and in 1994 he joined the Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG).[13] He has been active in the Guard for about 30 years and has risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel. As the Army Guard's head defense attorney in New England, Brown defended Guard members who had disciplinary difficulties such as positive drug tests,[6] and provided estate planning and real estate advice to those who are about to deploy to war zones.[13] Brown has not served in Iraq or Afghanistan, but said in 2009 that he was prepared to go if called. "I go where they order me to go... I'm just proud to serve and be part of the team."[6] He spent ten days to two weeks with the Guard in Kazakhstan and a week in Paraguay.[6]

He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service in homeland security shortly after the September 11 attacks.[10] He credits his military experience with causing him to focus on veteran's issues as well as issues of war and peace.[6] He has served on the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee, the Hidden Wounds of War Commission, and the Governor's Task Force on Returning Veterans during his career as a legislator.[6]

On May 2, 2011, Brown announced that he would soon go to Afghanistan for training as part of his Army National Guard service.[14]


In June 1982, Brown, then a 22-year-old law student at Boston College, won Cosmopolitan magazine's "America's Sexiest Man" contest. After two weeks on a crash diet of "three cans of tuna a day" and intensive workouts[15] he was featured in the magazine's centerfold, posing nude but strategically positioned so that according to Brown, "You don't see anything". In the accompanying interview, he referred to himself as "a bit of a patriot" and stated that he had political ambitions. The Cosmopolitan appearance and its $1,000 fee[6][16][17] helped pay for law school, and began for Brown a "long, lucrative" part-time catalog and print modeling career in New York and Boston during the 1980s.[18][19]

State political career

Brown "caught the political bug" in 1992 when he was elected property assessor of Wrentham, Massachusetts.[6] In 1995, he was elected to the Wrentham Board of Selectmen.

He successfully ran for the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1998, representing the 9th Norfolk District for three terms. Brown again moved up the ladder of state politics to the state Senate in March 2004 when he won a special election to replace Democrat Cheryl Jacques. Brown was re-elected for a full term in November 2004, and again in November 2006, running without opposition the second time. He won re-election in November 2008, defeating Democratic candidate Sara Orozco by a 59 41 percent margin. Following his re-election, Brown was one of five Republicans in the 40-seat Massachusetts senate. In the Massachusetts Senate, Brown served on committees dealing with consumer protection, professional licensing, education, election laws, public safety, and veterans' affairs.[12]

In February 2007, a controversy arose after Brown's appearance at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham, Massachusetts as part of a debate on gay marriage. The high school students had launched a Facebook group attack on Brown and had made a derogatory remark about his daughter, Ayla. During his presentation, Brown defended himself and his daughter by directly quoting several vulgar statements they had made and announcing the names of the students who had written the statements. Critics questioned whether Brown should have quoted the profane comments in front of a high school audience.[20]

In January 2010, The Boston Globe reported that during six terms in the Legislature, three each in the House and Senate, Brown had a modest record of legislative initiatives, but he had carved out a niche as a leading advocate for veterans. Richard R. Tisei of Wakefield, Massachusetts, the leader of the Republican minority in the state Senate, called Brown "the acknowledged expert on veterans' issues."[21] State Senator Jack Hart, a Democrat of South Boston, said: "He does his homework, he's comprehensive in his approach, and on veterans' issues, he's one of them and has done a very good job on their behalf."[21]

Brown lists among his achievements as a legislator his authorship of a 2007 law that created a check-off box on state income tax forms for veterans to indicate whether they served in Iraq or Afghanistan. The state uses the information to notify veterans of available services and benefits, including the Welcome Home Bonus[22] that provides $1,000 for those returning from active duty in Afghanistan or Iraq.[21]

U.S. Senate

2010 Election

Brown on the campaign trail.
Brown on the campaign trail.

On September 12, 2009 (his 50th birthday), Brown announced his run for the U.S. Senate seat that became vacant with the death of Ted Kennedy, saying the state "needs an independent thinker."[23][24] Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker[25] said that Brown's political positions did not fall neatly into party lines, and called Brown "mainstream in a nation that defines itself as mostly conservative".[26] Boris Shor, political scientist at the Harris School of Public Policy, described Brown as a liberal Republican by national standards, but well-suited for his Massachusetts constituency. Shor explained the support Brown was receiving from the conservative national GOP as due to their "decentralized decision" to support the candidate most likely to win.[27][28]

Brown won a landslide victory in the Republican primary on December 8, 2009, defeating late entrant and perennial candidate Jack E. Robinson by a margin of 89 percent to 11 percent.[29]

Brown's opponents in the general election were Democratic nominee, Attorney General Martha Coakley, and independent Joseph L. Kennedy (no relation to the Kennedy family). At the outset, he faced overwhelming odds because he was relatively unknown compared to Coakley, he was running as a Republican in a very Democratic state, and much of his campaigning had to be done during the Christmas and New Year's season when citizens do not generally pay much attention to politics.[30] No Republican had been elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts since Edward Brooke in 1972.[31] He polled far behind Coakley for several months, but closed the gap in the early weeks of January.[32][33][34][35]

A week before the general election, Brown raised $1.3 million from over 16,000 donors in a 24-hour money bomb. His campaign office stated it raised $5 million over the period from January 11 15.[36][37] Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report stated on January 17 that he would put his "finger on the scale" for Scott Brown as the favorite. The Rothenberg Political Report released a statement that "the combination of public and private survey research and anecdotal information now strongly suggests that Republican Scott Brown will defeat Democrat Martha Coakley in tomorrow's race".[38] Suffolk University's polling of three bellwether counties on January 18 had Brown leading Coakley by double-digit margins.[39] Brown won the January 19 election, performing well in traditional Republican strongholds and holding rival Coakley's margins down in many Democratic precincts.[40][41][42]

Brown campaigning in his truck.
Brown campaigning in his truck.
One week before the January special election, a controversy arose over a Coakley approved television ad. The ad referenced the conscientious objector amendment Brown had sponsored for inclusion in a 2005 proposed state measure on patients' rights.[43] This amendment would have allowed individual healthcare workers and hospitals to refuse to provide emergency contraceptive care to rape victims if they objected due to a religious belief. After the amendment failed, Brown did vote for the main bill which, along with other patient rights, requires healthcare workers and hospitals to provide such care.[44] Coakley's ad featured a male voice that said, "Brown even favors letting hospitals deny emergency contraception to rape victims," over the ad's graphic which had the words, "Deny care to rape victims."[44] Brown's daughter Ayla called the Coakley ad "completely inaccurate and misleading", and stated that her father would never deny care to a rape victim. Brown criticized Coakley for running what he described as attack ads.[44]

In the 2010 Senate race, although Brown was not endorsed by the Greater Boston Tea Party group,[45] the group organized a fund-raising breakfast for him in Boston.[46] The Tea Party Express also endorsed Brown[47] and bought ads on the national cable networks supporting Brown.[48]

When told that at various times he has been labeled a conservative, moderate and a liberal Republican, he responded "I'm a Scott Brown Republican."[49] According to Politifact, while Brown was a Massachusetts legislator, he voted about 90 percent with the state Republican leadership;[50] however, Republican Leadership in the Massachusetts legislature is generally considered far more moderate than the national Republican Party.[51]

On election night, after Coakley conceded, Brown gave a victory speech that stated, "It all started with me, my truck, and a few dedicated volunteers. It ended with Air Force One making an emergency run to Logan. I didn't mind when President Obama came here and criticized me - that happens in campaigns. But when he criticized my truck, that's where I draw the line."[52]


Brown was sworn in to office on February 4, 2010, by Vice President Joe Biden, in his capacity as President of the Senate, on the floor of the Senate.[53] As a Class I Senator, his term will last until January 3, 2013.

Brown was among the speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., introducing former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.[54] Despite his appearance at CPAC, where he alluded to his election as making "big government spenders...[not] feel good at all", Brown refused to rule out a vote for a Democratic "jobs bill" proposal, and has praised both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and senior Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts for indicating their willingness to work with him across party lines.[55] Brown was one of five Republican senators to vote for cloture on the jobs bill. The motion passed in the Senate 62 30 on February 22, 2010.[56] In an up or down vote on the bill itself on February 24, 2010, Brown voted for final passage, helping to pass the bill 70-28.[57]

According to the Washington Post, Brown voted with the majority of Republicans 80% of the time.[58] In the same poll, "56% of Massachusetts voters believed he has kept his promise to be an independent voice in the U.S. Senate."[59]

Brown's views on the 2011 budget cuts have been at odds with some of his fellow Republicans and Tea Party conservatives. His reluctance to go along with some of the more drastic budget cuts has placed him at odds with Glenn Beck and other prominent conservatives.[60] He said he opposed these measures because he believed that they would have a negative impact on low income families and children.[61]

Committee assignments

Brown's committee assignments are as follows.[62]

Caucus memberships

Approval ratings

In late June 2010, Brown was ranked as "the most popular officeholder in Massachusetts" according to a poll conducted by the Boston Globe. 55% of those polled had favorable opinions of Brown nearly five months after his January 19, 2010, special election victory to finish the term of the late Senator Edward Kennedy. 50% of respondents generally approved of how Brown had handled his new position.[63]

On March 30, 2011, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee released a poll showing that Brown remained the "most popular politician in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with an approval rating of 73 percent." Brown's "'re-elect' score was comfortably above 50 percent, which is unusual for a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state."[64]

Reelection campaign

October 2011 polling showed Brown's approvals had fallen and he faced a competitive re-election if matched against Democrat Elizabeth Warren.[65] However, his numbers in early March 2012 showed he led Warren by 8 points in the polls.[66] Later in March 2012, Browns lead has narrowed to within 2.3%, within the error sampling. [67]

Political positions

President]] Barack Obama in the Oval Office, June 2010. Brown has positioned himself as a conservative counterweight to Massachusetts' previously all-Democratic, 12-member congressional delegation.[6][2] He describes himself as socially moderate and fiscally conservative. He identifies himself as a "Reagan Republican". He has said, "I'm going to be the only person down there who is going to be the independent voter and thinker... I've always been the underdog in one shape or form."[2]

Fiscal policy

Brown is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[68] In a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe written on January 8, 2012, Brown wrote, "With out-of-control government spending and rising debt and deficits, politicians in Washington have proven time and time again that they cannot manage hard-earned taxpayer money responsibly. So why should we give them even more?"[69]

Brown opposes a proposed multi-billion dollar tax on banks to recoup bailout money and prescribing of bank executive compensation. Brown, discussing the proposal through a spokesperson, said that he is "opposed to higher taxes, especially in the midst of a severe recession". He also opposes it on the grounds that the tax would likely be passed onto consumers in the form of higher service and ATM fees.[70][71] In September 2010, Brown opposed a Senate bill creating a $30 billion government fund aimed at encouraging lending to small businesses. The bill combines the fund with $12 billion in new tax breaks. Brown criticized the bill for including a provision much like the Troubled Asset Relief Program, stating: "Banks making lending decisions with government funds is not the way to get our economy moving again. [72]

On December 12, 2010, the Boston Globe reported that "[c]ampaign contributions to [Brown] from the financial industry spiked sharply during a critical three-week period last summer as the fate of the Wall Street regulatory overhaul hung in the balance and Brown used the leverage of his swing vote to win key concessions sought by firms."[73] Brown received more than ten times the amount of contributions from the financial services industry as House Financial Services Committee chairman (and author of the legislation) Barney Frank during the same period.[73] According to the Globe:

Brown s efforts benefited large Massachusetts companies such as MassMutual Financial Group, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Fidelity Investments, and State Street Corp., whose executives and political action committees contributed $29,000 to Brown during the three-week period he was extracting the concessions from Democrats.

They also benefited major out-of-state institutions such as Goldman Sachs, UBS, and JPMorgan Chase. Those and other out-of-state financial interests gave Brown a total of $50,000 during the period.[73]

In December 2011, with a temporary payroll tax cut set to expire at the end of the month, the Senate considered the Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2011, which would extend the tax cut for 113 million workers or families and fund the plan by a 3.25 percent surtax on incomes over $1 million. Brown voted against proceeding to take up the bill (i.e., voted against cloture that would end the filibuster). He announced that his opposition was to the surtax on high incomes.[74][75][76]

Foreign policy

Brown supports President Barack Obama's decision to send 30,000 more troops to fight in Afghanistan. He cited Stanley McChrystal's recommendations as a reason for his support.[6] He also advocates that suspected terrorists be tried in military tribunals and not civilian courts.[13] He also supports the limited use of "enhanced interrogation techniques", including waterboarding against non-citizen terrorist suspects.[77] He supports a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestinian conflict in which Israel and a new, independent Palestinian state would co-exist side by side.[78]

Veteran services

In 2007, Brown wrote a law establishing a check off box on State income tax forms to allow a filer to indicate if he or she is a veteran of the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. The measure's purpose is to locate and inform returning veterans of benefits they qualify for. Known as the "Welcome Home" bonus, it was passed with bipartisan support.[10] Brown also amended the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, with Senator Jack Reed (RI), to create a dedicated military liaison office within the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which aside from defending against unscrupulous lenders, also ensures protection of military families against fraudulent life insurance policies. The measure passed the U.S. Senate 99 to 1.[79]

Health care

Brown supported the 2006 Massachusetts health care reform, which requires all residents to have health insurance, with a state-subsidized plan created for those who cannot afford to insure themselves. Brown does not support President Obama's health care reform plan in its current form as approved by the Democratic-led House and Senate. He has stated this plan is fiscally unsound, and during his campaign notably pledged to be the 41st vote to filibuster the bill in the Senate.[80]

Brown voted for a state measure on patients' rights that, among other provisions, requires emergency rooms to provide what is known as the morning-after pill[81] to rape victims to prevent an unwanted pregnancy from developing. In consideration of health care workers who might have a religious objection to administering this medication, Brown attached what became known as the Conscientious Objector amendment which would have exempted these workers, as well as religious hospitals, from being required to provide this medication. However, Brown's amendment also required that all hospitals still had to provide a means for the patient to receive the medication, either by providing another healthcare worker willing to administer the medication, or, in the case of religious hospitals, to provide transportation to another facility, and in a timely manner.[82] The amendment did not pass.[83] Brown remains in favor of allowing religious hospitals to refuse to provide emergency contraception on moral or religious grounds, as he stated in the January 5, 2010 candidate debate.[83][84]

Energy policy

Brown supports expanding solar, wind, and nuclear power, and offshore drilling exploration as a means to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil.[2] But, when faced with the controversial issue of whether an offshore wind farm should be allowed in the waters off the Cape Cod coast in Massachusetts, a major tourist destination and boating location, he expressed opposition, saying he believed it would hinder tourism and boating in the area.[85]

Congressional ethics and bipartisanship

Brown is an avid supporter of bipartisan cooperation among members of Congress. He has said that his goal in Congress is to "to work in a bipartisan and bicameral manner."[86] According to a Congressional Weekly study, in 2011 Brown was the second-most bipartisan U.S. Senator, voting with his own party only 54% of the time.[87] By comparison, his partner in the Massachusetts Senate delegation, Senator John Kerry, voted with his own party 96% of the time, and the entire Massachusetts delegation to the House of Representatives voted with their party over 90% of the time.[87]

During the second half of 2011, Brown wrote the 2011 version of the STOCK Act, a move to ban insider trading in Congress.[88] The act, which was co-written with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), would prohibit asset trading by members of Congress (and their staff) who have advance knowledge of their assets' behavior due to their involvement in Congress.[89] The bill was verbally supported by President Barack Obama during his third State of the Union Address, and passed a major procedural hurdle in the Senate by a vote of 93 2 on January 30, 2012.[90]

Social issues

Brown refers to the currently legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts as a settled issue, which he does not wish to change.[6] Brown has said he personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but would oppose a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.[91] He is in favor of civil unions.[2] He opposes ending the Defense of Marriage Act, but otherwise favors leaving the issue to the states to decide.[35] After initially claiming neutrality on "don't ask, don't tell", the ban on openly gay military personnel,[92] he joined a handful of Republicans who broke with their party to repeal the ban in December 2010.[93][94]

Brown has supported a presumption of shared parenting after divorce and was a co-sponsor of Fathers and Families HB 1460.[95]

Brown has stated that Roe v. Wade is settled law. He is against intact dilation and evacuation abortions (known by opponents as "partial birth abortion") and has spoken in favor of parental consent[2] for minors who seek an abortion. He said he would not use abortion as a litmus test in Supreme Court confirmations.[2] He opposes federal funding for elective abortion in accordance with the Hyde Amendment.[35]

Crime and security

Brown supports strengthening Massachusetts sex offender penalties,[95] the death penalty,[78] the right to bear arms (with some restrictions such as licenses and background checks) and strengthening border enforcement and creating an employment verification system with penalties for companies that hire illegal immigrants.[95] He opposes providing driver's licenses and in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.


Brown announced via Twitter on Tuesday 17 January 2012 that he would vote against the proposed Protect IP Act and Stop Online Piracy Act: "I m going to vote NO on #PIPA and #SOPA. The Internet is too important to our economy."

Organizational associations and honors

Brown is a 30-year member of the Massachusetts National Guard, in which he currently holds the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General's Corps. Brown was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service in organizing the National Guard to quickly support homeland security following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.[96][97] He has also completed Airborne School and been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.[10]

Brown has received the Public Servant of the Year Award from the United Chamber of Commerce for his leadership in reforming the state's sex offender laws and protecting victims' rights.[98] Brown's family has helped raise funds for such non-profit organizations as Horace Mann Educational Associates (HMEA,Inc.), Wrentham Developmental Center, Charles River Arc, and the Arc of Northern Bristol County, all for the care and support of those with developmental disabilities. He has also been recognized by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) for his work in creating an environment that encourages job growth and expansion in Massachusetts.[99] The Boston Globe selected Brown as the 2010 Bostonian of the Year, citing his "profound impact on national politics in the last year".[100]

Personal life


Brown is married to former WCVB-TV reporter Gail Huff, whom he met through modeling. They have two daughters, Ayla, an American Idol semi-finalist and a student at Boston College, and Arianna, a competitive equestrian and pre-medical student at Syracuse University.[18] Besides their primary home in Massachusetts, the couple owns a home in Rye, New Hampshire, three rental condos in Boston, and a timeshare on the Caribbean island of Aruba.[2][101][102]


Brown and his family are members of the Christian Reformed Church in North America and attend New England Chapel in Franklin, Massachusetts. They also have a relationship with a community of Cistercians, more commonly known as Trappistine,[103][104] Roman Catholic nuns at Mount St. Mary's Abbey in Wrentham, Massachusetts. The Brown family has raised over $5 million for the order, helping to install solar panels, a wind turbine and a candy manufacturing plant that the order operates.[2]

Plagiarism controversy

In October 2011, it was revealed that a section of Brown's website about the lessons learned from his upbringing had been lifted from the website of former Senator Elizabeth Dole.[105] Brown's spokesperson remarked that error was a "staff level oversight".[106]


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