AKA John Dennis Hastert
Birthplace: Aurora, IL
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Party Affiliation: Republican
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Speaker of the House, 1999-2006
Before going into politics, Dennis Hastert was a restaurateur and later a high school history teacher and wrestling coach. His wrestlers at Yorkville High School won the Class A Illinois state championship in 1976. He was elected to the Illinois state legislature in 1980, and worked there until 1986, when he ran for the US House of Representatives.
As a US Congressman and a staunch Republican, Hastert has supported harsher penalties for use of illegal drugs, tax breaks for oil conglomerates, welfare cuts, the PATRIOT Act, and the invasion of Iraq. He has generally opposed gay rights, abortion unless the woman's life is in danger, and federal funding for stem cell research. He became Speaker of the House in 1999, after Newt Gingrich resigned.
In 2005, Hastert and Bill Frist quietly inserted a few lines into a Defense spending bill, now law, that effectively shields pharmaceutical companies from liability if improperly-prepared flu vaccinations lead to serious injury or death. Haster's eldest son, Joshua, is a lobbyist for Amgen, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer, and he also works for PodestaMattoon, a public relations firm whose major clients include the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America.
Rep Hastert reportedly used an Illinois trust to invest in low-priced real estate in an undeveloped area of Illinois. Luckily for Hastert, he was then able to shepherd $207 million in earmarked appropriations for the Prairie Parkway, a highway project which includes an exit near his land, and greatly increases its value.
On September 1, 2005, as New Orleans lay underwater in the aftermath of Huricane Katrina, Hastert said that using any federal funds to rebuild the city "doesn't make sense to me." Instead, he helpfully suggested that "It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed."
Hastert was intertwined in the Jack Abramoff scandals of 2006, having signed an impassioned letter ghost-written by an Abramoff co-conspirator in 2003, arguing Abramoff's position against allowing a Louisiana Indian tribe to open a casino. Hastert's political action committee, Keep Our Majority, raked in over $100,000 at a 2003 fundraiser hosted by Abramoff, then apparently failed to properly report the arrangement.
In 2006, Hastert was again at the epicenter of controversy after fellow Republican Mark Foley resigned over sending sexually explicit emails to Congressional pages. The evidence suggests that Hastert was told about Foley's inappropriate emails up to two years before the emails were publicly released, but Hastert not only made little attempt to reign in Rep Foley, he actually urged Foley to run for another term in Congress.
Wife: Jean Kahl (high school teacher, m. 21-Apr-1973, two sons)
Son: Joshua Hastert (lobbyist, b. 1975)
Son: Ethan Hastert (lawyer, formerly on Vice President Dick Cheney's staff, b. 1978)
High School: Oswego High School, Oswego, IL (1960)
University: BA Economics, Wheaton College Illinois (1964)
University: MA Philosophy of Education, Northern Illinois University (1967)
Teacher: Yorkville High School, Yorkville, IL (1964-80)
Speaker of the US House (1999-)
US Congressman, Illinois 14th (1987-)
Illinois State House of Representatives (1981-86)
American Legislative Exchange Council
Kennedy Center ex-officio member
Leadership Institute Bi-Partisan Congressional Advisory Board
Lions Club Yorkville
Washington Legal Foundation National Board of Advisors
Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service
Draft Deferment: Vietnam
Dubya Nickname Speak
Bush Pioneer 2004 Ranger
Funeral: Gerald Ford (2007)
Funeral: Ronald Reagan (2004)
Risk Factors: Obesity, Diabetes
Author of books:
Speaker: Lessons From 30 Years in Coaching and Politics (2004)
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