About Jack Reed
Jack Reed is a champion for middle-class families and a strong believer that, through hard work, all Americans should have the opportunity to build a better life.
A former Army Ranger, Reed is a national leader on defense, housing, and economic issues. He has led efforts to promote responsible budgets, create jobs, and strengthen our economy.
As one of just eight Senators in U.S. history to graduate from West Point, Time magazine noted: “Reed is a serious, intellectually honest veteran and an expert on defense issues in the Senate.”
His father, Joe, was a World War II veteran and Cranston school janitor who worked his way up to become custodial supervisor of the city's school system. His mother, Mary, was a homemaker who was unable to go to college herself, but made sure her three children studied hard and had the opportunity to pursue a higher education. As a member of Congress, Reed has championed Pell grants to help millions of Americans pay for college.
In 1967, Reed was nominated for an appointment to the United States Military Academy by Senator John O. Pastore (D-RI). After graduating in 1971 and receiving an active duty commission in the Army, Reed earned a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantry Platoon Leader, a Company Commander, and a Battalion Staff Officer.
Reed resigned from active duty in the Army in 1979 and continued to serve in the Reserves until 1991, retiring with the rank of Major. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1982 and practiced law while serving three terms in the Rhode Island State Senate, followed by three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1996, the people of Rhode Island elected Reed to succeed Claiborne Pell (D-RI) as Rhode Island's 46th United States Senator.
A member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which controls the purse strings of the federal government, Reed has been described by the Boston Globe as “a relentless advocate for his home state.” He currently chairs the Subcommittee on Interior and Environment and works tirelessly to direct federal funding to the Ocean State to create jobs, strengthen our infrastructure, and support economic and community development projects.
Reed has also played a pivotal role in safeguarding our nation. In an effort to reduce crime at home, he helped pass the law putting more police officers on the streets. To ensure America stays strong abroad, he led the effort in Congress to increase the size of our Armed Forces.
Reed serves on the Armed Services Committee and voted against giving President George W. Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq because it was an ill-planned diversion from the war on terrorism. But he has always worked across the aisle to support our troops and was instrumental in convincing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to continue serving in the Obama Administration, which helped maintain continuity as President Obama prosecuted the war on terror and implemented his plan to withdraw forces from Iraq.
As a senior member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Reed authored several key pieces of the historic Wall Street reform bill and has been nationally recognized for his dedication to protecting U.S. consumers. When taxpayers were forced to invest in banks to save the economy from total collapse, Reed wrote the law ensuring they would share in the rewards when the banks recovered. As a result of Reed’s efforts, $9 billion and counting has been generated for taxpayers.
He also helped create a powerful new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to give American families the tools to fight unfair and abusive financial products and services, as well as a new Office of Financial Research (OFR) that will help provide early warnings to regulators about financial problems.
In 2008 the New York Times noted: “Mr. Reed has had a passion for housing issues throughout his career. Beginning in the early 1980s when, as a young lawyer, he did pro bono work for Amos House, a Providence soup kitchen and social service agency, and continuing after his election to the Rhode Island Assembly, the House and finally the Senate.”
Recently, he authored laws to create a new affordable housing trust fund, improve consumer disclosures on mortgages, and address the needs of middle-class families who are struggling with the fallout from the housing crisis.
Jack Reed was born and raised in Cranston, Rhode Island. He and his wife Julia Hart Reed have a daughter, Emily.
Today, Senator Reed continues to utilize the lessons he learned growing up in Cranston, which were deepened in the Army and tested in the halls of Congress, to stand up and speak out for the hard-working families who are the heart and soul of our country.
John Francis "Jack" Reed
Nov. 12, 1949 in Providence, Rhode Island
Married to Julia Hart Reed. They have a daughter, Emily.
St. Matthew's Elementary School, Cranston, RI
LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI, 1967
U.S. Military Academy at West Point, B.S., 1971
Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, M.P.P., 1973
Harvard Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1982
Succeeded Claiborne Pell (D-RI) in 1996 as Rhode Island's 46th United States Senator; Reelected in 2002 and in 2008.
U.S. Army, 1967-79; Army Reserves, 1979-91
Army Ranger and a paratrooper, served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantry Platoon leader, a Company Commander and a Battalion Staff Officer
Resigned from active duty with the rank of Captain
Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, U.S. Military Academy at West Point 1977-1979
Practicing attorney, 1982-90
United States Senate, 1997-present
U.S. House of Representatives, 1991-96
Rhode Island State Senate, 1984-90