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Jan. 7, 2008

Mike Gravel

by Kiera Zitelman, Online Editor-in-Chief
Political Party: Democratic
Current Position: Senator
State: Alaska
Political Experience: Alaska House of Representatives, 1963 – 1966; Speaker of Alaska House of Representatives, 1965 – 1966; Senator from Alaska, 1969 – 1981; served on Finance, Interior, Environmental and Public Works committees and chaired the Energy, Water Resources, Buildings & Grounds and Environmental Pollution subcommittees

This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from Mike Gravel's official campaign website.

Since he was a teenager, Mike Gravel has been interested in politics. Despite his 18 years of experience as a politician in the Alaskan House of Representatives and in the Senate, though, he has received little support in polls. Only one percent of Americans said they would vote for Gravel in the Democratic presidential primary, according to a December Fox News poll. Since the summer of 2007, support for Gravel has wavered between zero and one percent.

On foreign policy, Gravel supports an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, comparing it to the Vietnam War situation. He calls himself "one of the first…to publicly oppose the planned invasion of Iraq in 2002," and currently supports a complete American corporate and military withdrawal from the conflict. In addition, he plans to initiate legislation to curb global warming and begin a scientific effort to decrease global dependence on oil. He also advocates for universal healthcare, legalized abortions, increased naturalization procedures, same-sex marriage and increased spending on education.

Gravel created The Democracy Foundation and is currently advocating the organization's National Initiative. The Democracy Foundation is a public benefit corporation with a mission to promote understanding of democracy across America, according to the foundation's website. The National Initiative would include a Constitutional amendment to return legislative power to the people and create an Electoral Trust, reforming the national election process. Gravel supports dissolving the IRS and eliminating the income tax in order to establish a national sales tax on products and services. This retail sales tax would fund his universal healthcare system so that it could be free to all citizens.

Gravel is well known for his 1971 release of the Pentagon Papers, records of the lies that the American government instituted in order to go to war against Vietnam. Consequently, the US government sued him in Gravel v. United States, which resulted in a Supreme Court decision reaffirming the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In 2004, Gravel declared personal bankruptcy after a series of surgeries, and declared in 2007 that he has zero net worth. He admits he is an underdog in the campaign, but is resolved to stay in the race until it concludes.



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