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November 20, 2012

Warren Rudman: Blunt, Egotistical, Unflappable and Tenacious"

By Kurt F. Stone

Word has just come in that former New Hampshire Senator Warren Rudman passed away. In many ways, he was the least typical Washington "insider" I ever met; plain-spoken, independent and guided by what always struck me as an unerring moral compass. What follows is adapted from my pages 350-355 of my 2011 book The Jews of Capitol Hill

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Warren Rudman entered the United States Senate a few weeks before fellow Republican Ronald Reagan was to be sworn in as America's fortieth President. Rudman served two six-year terms and could easily have won reelection in 1992. Instead, he decided to call it quits, departing the Senate just as George H.W. Bush was about to leave the White House.

During those twelve years of Republican rule, Rudman could be found at the epicenter of most of that era's most dramatic, divisive, and contentious issues -- and was often at odds with the administration.

During his first term in the Senate, the New Hampshire Republican successfully took on the powerful American Medical Association, "co"'fathered" the much maligned Gramm"'Rudman"'Hollings deficit reduction act [which he himself called "A bad idea whose time has come"], and co"'chaired the Senate's investigation of the messy "Iran"'Contra" scandal.

[N.B.: This political scandal, which came to light in 1987, was the result of earlier events during the Reagan Administration in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran, and then illegally used the proceeds to continue funding the Sandinista rebels -- "Contras" -- in Nicaragua. Much of the documentation regarding the scandal was found to have been destroyed or withheld by the administration. President Reagan, who initially denied on national television that the alleged activities never occurred, eventually took full responsibility, admitting that "What began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages."]

During his second term, Rudman played a pivotal role in the Ethics Committee investigation of the so"'called "Keating Five," in which the Senate had to go through the delicate procedure of policing its own.

[N.B.: This financial scandal involved five United States Senators -- Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, John Glenn, Donald Riegel and John McCain -- who were accused of improperly aiding Charles B. Keating, chair of the failed Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which was target of a federal investigation. Of the five accused senators, only Glenn and McCain were subsequently reelected.]

Throughout these two highly charged, widely publicized episodes, Rudman retained the respect of both his Senate colleagues and the voters of New Hampshire. During his twelve"'year Senate career, Warren Rudman maintained a reputation for being blunt, egotistical, independent, unflappable and pugnacious.

And despite being one of his party's acknowledged "stars" -- columnist Marianne Means called him the "unexpected star of that huge GOP freshman class swept into office with President Reagan" -- Warren Rudman never truly became a creature of Washington society. As he once explained, "To go to a White House dinner and to sit next to someone who I don't know and who is there because they are a friend of Mrs. Bush, or a famous movie star or someone who gave eight trillion dollars to the Republican Party is not my idea of fun."

As a politician, Warren Rudman was always difficult to pigeonhole. A fiscal conservative and defense hawk like most of his Republican colleagues, Rudman was nonetheless far more progressive than his fellows on social issues. He was both pro"'choice and pro-environment; one of Capitol Hill's staunchest defenders of the embattled Legal Services Administration; and a caustic critic of the then-emerging Christian Right. Once, when a reporter asked his views on the Christian Right's social agenda, he responded: "Do you have fifteen seconds? That's all it will take. I'm deeply committed to the right to choose, to the separation of church and state and to personal liberty. The conservative social agenda threatens them all."

Not surprisingly, Rudman saw great consistency in this seeming political mélange: "The liberals consider me a conservative, and the conservatives consider me a liberal. I consider myself a moderate." Summing up his notion of conservatism, Rudman wrote: ". . . providing legal services to the poor [is] profoundly conservative . . . . Government should not intrude in anything as personal as the decision to have a child, it should not be championing prayer or religion, and family values should come from families and religious institutions, not from politically inspired, Washington"'based
moralists."

Rudman was not the original family name. Like countless immigrants who came to America in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, Abraham Rudman, the future Senator's grandfather, received his surname at Ellis Island. As his grandson explained, "We never knew what it had been before that. He [Abraham] was not a man to look back." Like millions of other Jewish immigrants, Abraham Rudman, a native of Odessa, settled on New York's Lower East Side. Unimpressed with New York's endless "sidewalks and tenements," Abe asked a friend where he could find mountains, lakes, and trees. The friend suggested that he should get on a Boston-bound train and take it all the way to the end of the line -- to Maine. Taking the long"'forgotten friend's advice, Rudman ventured up to the Pinetree State, where he wound up living with a Jewish family named Wolman on a farm just north of Bangor. Shortly after his arrival at the Wolman's farm, Abe sent to Odessa for his distant cousin Dora, who soon became his wife. Before long, Mrs. Rudman was speaking English and reading classical literature. Eventually, both Abe and Dora "spoke English like true Down"'Easters."

After a time, the Rudmans purchased a hand"'operated bottling machine and started bottling ginger ale in their home. Over time they secured the franchise to bottle Moxie -- one of the nation's first mass-produced soft drinks -- and moved their expanding enterprise -- "The Rudman Bottling Company"] -- first to Portland, and then to Boston.

Abe and Dora Rudman had five remarkable children. In his autobiography, Combat, Senator Rudman discussed his aunts and uncles: "Of Abe and Dora's five children, the oldest, my uncle Ben, went to the University of Maine and Tufts Medical School. The second, Morris, graduated from Harvard and Harvard Law. My uncle Sid went to Harvard. My aunt Rita went to Wellesley. My father [Edward, born in 1897] went to work." By the time Edward Rudman joined his father's business, Abe's interests had expanded into "restaurants and similar ventures."

Striking out on his own, Edward Rudman ventured back up to Portland, where he began building houses and developing a passion for antiques. In the mid-1920s, Edward Rudman started a small company that made reproductions of antique furniture; he called it "Old Colony Furniture." When his younger brother Sid graduated from Harvard in 1928, Ed made him his partner. Together, they ran Old Colony for the next forty years. In 1929, Edward Rudman married Theresa [Tess] Levenson from the Bronx. On May 18, 1930, their first child, Warren Bruce Rudman, was born in Boston. He was quickly followed by daughters Carol and Jean.

It is quite likely that Warren Rudman's sense of honesty and integrity came from his father. In the mid-1930s, the elder Rudman decided to move Old Colony from Boston up to Nashua, New Hampshire. Borrowing $100,000 from a "Yankee banker" named George Thurber, Rudman purchased an old sawmill near the Nashua River and started converting it into a factory. Two weeks before the factory was scheduled to begin operations, New Hampshire was hit with the worst flood in its history; Edward Rudman went bankrupt. He went back to George Thurber. As Warren Rudman writes, "[He] said he was wiped outbut if the banker would lend him more money, he'd rebuild and pay back every dime. Thurber approved the loan, and when that wasn't enough, added his own personal loan. In time father paid him off, and Old Colony went on to achieve an international reputation for quality."

Old Colony remained in business until 1964. One of Edward Rudman's grandsons, Alan Dale, began collecting his grandfather's reproductions in 1987. By 2000, he was selling "custom mahogany" by Old Colony and "a handful of other worthy makers who upheld similarly high standards." In 2008, Dale's online business, CustomMahogany.com, is located in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Laytonsville, Maryland.

Warren Rudman and his sisters grew up in Nashua, where he still resides. Growing up in relative affluence, Warren became "a bit of a hell"'raiser, at least by [my] father's standards." His interests tended more toward fishing and baseball than toward school. He was also "handy with [my] fists . . . thanks to schoolyard encounters with anti"'Semitism." [New Hampshire was the last of the 13 colonies to grant political equality to Jews.]

Sensing that his son needed to learn discipline, Edward sent him off to Valley Forge Military School in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The younger Rudman excelled at Valley Forge, becoming both a champion debater and a fine boxer.

In 1948, Warren Rudman entered Syracuse University "where I continued to box, race stock cars on weekends, served in the ROTC, and became engaged to a tall, brilliant young woman named Shirley Wahl, whom I met on the debate team." Warren married Shirley shortly after his graduation in 1952, and then shipped out for Korea as a second lieutenant in the United States Army.

Rudman graduated "with a wad of transcripts and a blank piece of paper." Syracuse refused to issue his diploma until he paid $18 for a school yearbook. Rudman refused to pay, claiming that the school catalogue had listed no such requirement. Shortly before leaving for Korea, Rudman wrote his alma mater requesting his diploma. Syracuse again refused until he paid the $18.

Rudman spent the next two years in the infantry, serving in Korea as a member of the third platoon of K Company, Third Battalion, 38th Regiment of the Second Division. While there he saw action in three of that conflict's bloodiest battles: the Kumsong salient, Heartbreak Ridge, and Bloody Ridge.

Mustered out a captain in 1954 with the Bronze Star, three Battle Stars, and a Presidential Citation, Rudman once again petitioned Syracuse for his diploma; once again they demanded he pay the $18. Twenty"'six years later, upon his election to the United States Senate, Rudman received a letter from Syracuse explaining that "there had obviously been a mix"'up," and that the diploma was in the mail. Senator Rudman not only refused to accept it; he repeatedly turned down their later offer of an honorary degree. As Rudman explained, "[Syracuse] wouldn't give me the one I earned. I certainly don't want the one I didn't earn."

Following his return from the war, Rudman went to work for Old Colony. In 1956 he entered the night law school at Boston College, making the 90"'mile round trip three or four days a week after a full day's work. Graduating in 1960, Rudman continued working for his father while building up a legal practice with Morris Stein, an old family friend. It was only when his father and uncle sold Old Colony in 1964 that Warren Rudman [by then thirty-four and the father of three children -- Laura, Alan, and Deborah] began practicing law full"'time. Over the next several years, he built up a lucrative practice, working with the Nashua firm of Stein, Rudman and Gormley. During these years, Warren and Shirley Rudman also learned to fly -- a passion that has remained a constant in the Senator's life.

In 1967, Walter Peterson Jr. [1922- ], the then-Republican Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, asked Rudman, whom he had known since childhood, to be his finance chairman in the upcoming gubernatorial campaign. With Rudman's help, Peterson defeated Meldrim Thompson [1912-2001], Chair of the Orford [Grafton County] School Board. Once elected, Governor Peterson appointed Rudman his chief of staff. In 1970, Peterson named Rudman state attorney general. Rudman quickly went about the task of assembling what he deemed "a first"'rate staff." The new attorney general handpicked a young Harvard Law graduate to be his assistant. He name was David Souter who, through Rudman's tireless efforts, would one day sit on the United States Supreme Court.

In his six years as attorney general [1970-76], Warren Rudman "created a consumer protection division, fought successfully against the legalization of gambling . . . [and] joined Francis X. Bellotti, the attorney general of Massachusetts, in filing suit in federal district court seeking to postpone construction of the Seabrook nuclear power plant." In 1975, Rudman was elected president of the National Association of Attorneys General.

As an ex"'officio member of the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission, Rudman became embroiled in a controversy involving the 1974 reelection of United States Senator John A. Durkin. Rudman and his commission colleagues declared Republican Congressman Louis C. Wyman [1917-2002] the winner by just two votes. Wyman served in the upper chamber for precisely four days before the Senate declared the seat vacant. Durkin [1936- ], a Democrat, then secured the right to a new election, which he won. When President Gerald Ford nominated Rudman to chair the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1976, Durkin used his influence to delay confirmation. Rudman eventually withdrew his name for consideration. It looked as if Durkin had successfully exacted his revenge; however, if he had permitted Rudman's confirmation, it is unlikely that Rudman would ever have become a United States Senator.

In 1980, after practicing law for four years with the Manchester firm of Phinney, Bass and Green, Warren B. Rudman entered an eleven"'candidate Republican primary race for the United States Senate. Topping the field with 20%, Rudman named the second"'place finisher, John Sununu [1939-], his campaign manager. Greatly aided by Ronald Reagan's sweeping victory over President Jimmy Carter, Rudman defeated his old nemesis Durkin 52%-48%, thereby becoming the first Jew ever elected to Congress from New Hampshire. [In 2006, Paul Hodes became the second New Hampshire Jew elected to Congress. After two terms, he gave up his seat in order to run for the United States Senate; he was defeated by New Hampshire's Republican Attorney General, Kelly Ayotte.]

Entering the Senate as a member of the majority, Senator Rudman quickly went to work learning the ropes. His first successful piece of legislation, co"'authored with Connecticut Senator Lowell Weicker, Jr., was passed less than six months from the day he first took the oath of office. Called, the "Small Business Innovation Research Act of 1981" -- which the editorial writers on the Washington Star termed "one of the most ingenious acts of the 97th Congress" -- this "invention" granted research and development firms as much as $400 million a year without adding a cent to the federal budget. The bill simply required that federal agencies with an R & D budget in excess of $100 million set aside 1 percent for small business. In arguing for the bill's enactment, Rudman noted that small businesses produced up to twenty"'four times more innovation per R & D dollar than larger ones. Armed with a welter of facts and data, Rudman was able to attract no fewer than seventy"'nine co"'sponsors for his bill, running the political gamut from Senator Edward Kennedy on the left to Senator Jesse Helms on the right.

In 1982, Senator Rudman went to war against the American Medical Association. The issue raising Rudman's dander was a measure that would effectively wipe out the Federal Trade Commission's power to pursue violations of antitrust and consumer protection laws by health professionals. As one of the few members of Congress [and the only Senator] who refused financial support from political action committees [PACs], Rudman was in a unique position. He successfully inserted less-sweeping language into the proposed bill, thereby preserving the FTC's ability to go after doctors when they were in violation of antitrust standards.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Rudman sarcastically noted, "For the first time in 20 years, doctors are making house calls. They made house calls in the Dirksen Building, [and] in the Russell Building . . . . I do not get excited by my own rhetoric. I get excited when I see someone attempting to perform a frontal lobotomy on the free"'enterprise system, which is precisely what is going on here."

Rudman's ameliorative language was passed by a vote of 59-37. Suddenly the junior Senator from New Hampshire was big news.

A vocal hawk on defense matters, Rudman nonetheless stunned the Pentagon by convincing the Senate to kill off the $1.5 billion VIPER -- a shoulder"'fired antitank weapon -- which he proved was both ineffective and cost-prohibitive. Moreover, Rudman got Congress to agree to a highly unusual step: forcing the military to competitively test various weapons systems, including those made by foreign manufacturers. This took a great degree of political courage, considering that the technical components for the VIPER were manufactured in Nashua, Rudman's hometown. Rudman also got the Senate to scrap the ill"'fated "Sergeant York" gun, which he said should have been called the "Sergeant Bilko." For his efforts, Rudman won the respect of his Senate colleagues -- and the enmity of the military brass.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected on a platform which promised to balance the budget, dramatically increase military spending, and lower taxes. The theory behind the platform was given the name "supply"'side economics." The Fourth Estate called it "Reaganomics." George Bush called it "voodoo economics." Rudman, charmed by Reagan's ability to state his case, voted in favor of the president's 1981 budget proposal. Although he prayed that all the figures were correct and that Reaganomics would work, Rudman feared that it was all an illusion.

To his regret, Rudman's fears about increasing spending while lowering taxes were by no means chimerical; far from reducing the deficit, Reagan's plan doubled it within five years. Rudman was outraged. As the Senator told his colleagues, "After five years under a Republican president and a Republican Senate, we managed to double the national debt. I mean, who's kidding who?" In his memoirs, Rudman blamed both Budget Director David Stockman for "budgetary deception and political cynicism that numbs the mind," and the president himself for "inhabit[ing] his own reality." Something radical had to be done. America was fast becoming the world's leading debtor nation.

In 1985, Rudman came to national prominence when he, Texas Senator Phil Gramm [1942- ], and South Carolina's Ernest "Fritz" Hollings [1922- ] introduced the Gramm"'Rudman"'Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act. Called everything from "the political version of hemlock" to "just about the dumbest piece of legislation I have seen," the measure mandated a balanced budget by 1991. It included a "doomsday device" which mandated automatic across"'the"'board spending cuts if needed to meet deficit-reduction goals. Gramm and Rudman made an effective team: "While Gramm provided much of the oratorical firepower behind the proposal, the more established Rudman gave it an aura of respectability."

Rudman truly believed that the bill's doomsday machinery w ould never have to be used. As he wrote in Combat, "We saw the legislation as a forcing mechanism. We thought the threat of automatic cuts would force Congress and the White House to compromise on a responsible budget." Automatic cuts would be, among other things, a shameful admission of political incompetence. The bill mandated that the Government Accounting Office, a creature of the executive branch of government, act as referee.

Debate over the proposal was intense. At one point a Pentagon official went so far as to charge that Gramm"'Rudman delivered "a message of comfort to the Soviet Union." Rudman was apoplectic: "The Russians ought to be dancing in the street when they see this country spending itself into bankruptcy," he responded. "They can defeat us without firing a shot."

Gramm"'Rudman passed both houses of Congress, and was signed into law by President Reagan on December 18, 1985. Rudman came away from the signing ceremony with the sinking feeling that Reagan was far more enamored of tax cuts than balanced budgets.

On February 7, 1986, a federal court found Gramm"'Rudman unconstitutional. The court held that it violated the separation of powers doctrine by "investing the power to determine how the automatic spending cuts were to be carried out with the comptroller general, who is appointed by the president but who can be fired by Congress." Later that year, the Supreme Court, in a seven-to-two vote, upheld the lower court's decision.

Senators Gramm and Rudman then drafted what was called "Gramm"'Rudman II." In this version, the Government Accounting Office [GAO] would still decide whether automatic cuts were called for, but its recommendations would go to the House and Senate Budget Committees. In turn, these committees would then initiate legislation ordering the President to begin the process of sequestration. The problem with Gramm"'Rudman II was obvious: the automatic cuts were no longer automatic. "Our backup plan returned the hard budget decisions to the same Congress that had failed to make them before."

In summing up the battle over the deficit, Rudman wrote, "Gramm"'Rudman was defeated by politics as usual. The way it was undermined stands today as a textbook example of how politicians trick the American people into thinking they're acting on a problem when in fact they're ducking it."

Prior to becoming involved with the deficit fight, Warren Rudman gave serious consideration to ending his Senate career after one six"'year term. With the passage of Gramm"'Rudman, he decided to run again, easily defeating former one-term Massachusetts Governor Endicott Peabody [1920-1997], whom the Democrats had enlisted at the last minute just to have someone -- anyone -- on the ballot.

In his second term, Rudman became a member of the minority. As ranking Republican of the Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, Rudman co"'chaired -- along with Hawaii's Senator Daniel Inouye -- the Iran"'Contra hearings. These nationally televised hearings investigated the Reagan administration's sale of arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages and its diversion of some of the profits to the Nicaraguan Contras.

What bothered Rudman the most about Iran"'Contra was "the implications this had to our presidency and our Constitution: that someone can cook up an intelligence scheme, feed it to the president, brief him incorrectly, then lie to the secretary of state and the attorney general, and then try to cover up what they did." Rudman's posture lent a much"'needed bipartisan tone to the hearings. Although he believed in his heart of hearts that Reagan was not legally culpable, he wrote that "clearly it was the president who had created the climate in which Iran"'Contra could happen."

The question on everyone's mind was whether or not President Reagan had had full knowledge -- or worse, given consent -- to the highly complex plan. Although Rudman had himself been a supporter of the Contras, he nonetheless became the most outspoken Republican critic of the administration's handling of the affair. When Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North [resplendent in Marine uniform and full complement of medals] testified before the committee, Rudman sternly criticized him, saying, "The
American people have the constitutional right to be wrong."

What bothered Rudman the most about Iran"'Contra was "the implications this had to our presidency and our Constitution: that someone can cook up an intelligence scheme, feed it to the president, brief him incorrectly, then lie to the secretary of state and the attorney general, and then try to cover up what they did." Rudman's posture lent a much"'needed bipartisan tone to the hearings. Although he believed in his heart of hearts that Reagan was not legally culpable, he wrote that "clearly it was the president who had created the climate in which Iran"'Contra could happen."

Rudman was roundly criticized by his state's largest newspaper, the Manchester Union Leader, for his role in the hearings. The pugnacious Rudman fired back, "I want someone from the Right politically to stand up and say, "I think it was good to sell arms to the Iranians.' Let them stand up and say that. If they don't believe it, they should keep their mouths shut." The Union Leader's condemnation notwithstanding, Rudman's mail proved that the overwhelming majority supported his tough stance.

Toward the end of his second term, Rudman, as ranking Republican on the Select Committee on Ethics, co"'chaired hearings on the so"'called Keating Five. As noted above, the hearings dealt with five Senators [Republican McCain of Arizona and Democrats Cranston of California, Glenn of Ohio, DeConcini of Arizona, and Riegel of Michigan] charged with conflict of interest stemming from their dealings with failed savings and loan executive Charles Keating.

Standing in judgment over one's colleagues is one of the least desirable jobs in Washington -- one which Rudman looked upon with great reservations. Nonetheless, he urged that the panel not " rush to judgment." Senators McCain and Glenn were quickly cleared of all charges. DeConcini and Riegel received slaps on the wrist and then retired from the Senate. Cranston, who already had announced his retirement and was suffering from prostate cancer, was given the heaviest reprimand.

Warren Rudman was also instrumental in helping to facilitate the confirmation of his old friend David Souter for a seat on the United States Supreme Court. Souter [1939-], "that quintessential, taciturn New Hampshire Yankee," was characterized by the press as an "oddball," a "hermit," and "dangerously out of touch with the lives of ordinary people." It was even hinted that Souter, a lifelong bachelor, was gay. Rudman personally escorted Souter from Senate office to Senate office, and then helped prepare his friend for the confirmation hearings. What at first looked like a feeding frenzy turned out to be a facile procedure; Souter was confirmed by a vote of 90 to 9.

Warren Rudman left the Senate after two terms. Desirous of returning to the practice of law where he could once again make a good living, Rudman had become disenchanted with the direction of the "new" Republican Party. "I could see the Republican Party gradually being taken over by "movement' conservatives and self"'commissioned Christian soldiers whose social agenda I found repugnant . . . . The spirit of civility and compromise was drying up."

As a lame duck Senator, Rudman was supposed to be a delegate to the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston. Reviewing the convention's agenda -- "Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan and all the rest" -- Rudman decided instead to go on a fact"'finding mission to Croatia. "I thought that with my views I might be safer in Zagreb than in Houston."

Upon leaving the Senate, Warren Rudman returned to the practice of law with the Washington office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and, in tandem with former Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas [1941-1997] and former Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson [1926- ], founded the Concord Coalition. The Coalition "works for a balanced budget by organizing informed citizens to bring grassroots pressure on political leaders." Rudman also served as Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board [1997-2001], and sits on the boards of such corporations as Raytheon, Allied Waste Industries, and Boston Scientific. In both 2000 and 2008, Rudman has been one of presidential candidate John McCain's most prominent advisors.

In the last few years of his life Rudman divided his time between Washington and Hollis, New Hampshire, a suburb of both Nashua and Boston. In February 2004, son Alan was found dead in his home in Bridgton, Maine. The younger Rudman, 47 at the time of his death, had played varsity football at Dartmouth College, from which he graduated in 1979. Four years later he received his juris doctor from Boston College. Daughter Laura [Robie] lives in Amherst, Massachusetts; her sister Debra [Gilmore] resides in Wayland, Massachusetts.

Summing up his political career, Rudman wrote, "I was a senator first, serving the country's interests as I saw it, and Jewish second. The irony was that most people outside Washington didn't know I was Jewish."

-2010, 2012, Kurt F. Stone



Submitters Website: http://www.kurtfstone.typepad.com

Submitters Bio:

Kurt Stone is a rabbi, writer, lecturer, political activist, professor, actor, and medical ethicist. A true "Hollywood brat" (born and raised in the film industry), Kurt was educated at the University of California, the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University and the Hebrew Union College, Stone holds a B.A. in American Political History, a Master of Hebrew Letters, and a Doctor of Divinity. A resident of South Florida for nearly 30 years, he is currently spiritual leader of the North Broward Havurah in Coral Springs. Kurt has published 2 major works in the field of American political history: the 2001 best-selling "The Congressional Minyan: The Jews of Capitol Hill," (KTAV) and most recently, "The Jews of Capitol Hill: A Compendium of Jewish Members of Congress" (Scarecrow Press.) This latter work investigates the lives, careers, and accomplishments of the 200 Jewish men and women who have served in Congress throughout American history. Kurt contributed nearly 40 essays to the Encyclopedia of Jewish American Popular Culture (2009, Greenwood Press), and has written extensively for the new Encyclopaedia Judaica. From the late 1960s to the late 1970s, Kurt served on the staffs of various office holders including Alaska Senator Mike Gravel and California Governor Jerry Brown. In this latter position, working in conjunction with Bill Press, he published "As Their Land Is: A Theology of Ecology." Stone teaches courses in American Political History, Biography and Cinema at both Florida Atlantic and Florida International University. He received Florida Atlantic University's "Lecturer of Excellence" Award in April 2005. A widely sought-after lecturer, Stone gives more than 175 lectures a year. Anyone wishing to book Kurt should contact his agent, Art Galietti at One Take Productions, 954-493-7889 .

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