Birthdate: Dec. 16, 1947
Birth Place: Easton, MA, United States
Residence: Dewey Beach, DE
Alex Pires was born and raised in Easton, Mass., one of five children of a brick mason and his wife, neither of whom finished high school. He received a bachelor's degree at Boston University and a law degree and a master's degree in taxation law from George Washington University.
Pires worked at the Department of Justice, working in the land and natural resources division and participating in the antitrust case that led to the breakup of telecommunications giant AT&T. He spent eight years in the Army Reserve, achieving the rank of major. He also served eight years on the board of the Federal Justice Credit Union, including four as president. In 1980, he was appointed a deputy assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Pires entered private practice in 1981, specializing in agricultural law and representing minority farmers in class-action discrimination cases against the federal government. In 2012, he filed a class action lawsuit against the Defense Department over hospital reimbursements for services to military personnel.
While maintaining his Washington, D.C., law practice, Pires also oversees a small business empire in southern Delaware, where he bought a home in 1976 and took up permanent residence in 2003. He and his partners own several bars and restaurants, and Pires in 2005 spearheaded the founding of Community Bank Delaware, where he is board chairman.
Pires and his wife, Diane Cooley, reside in Dewey Beach. He has two children from a previous marriage.
Alex Pires, having amassed a fortune as a class-action lawyer and successful business owner, decided to run for U.S. Senate out of a sense of frustration and anger with Delaware's senior senator, Democrat Tom Carper.
Sporting long, gray hair and fond of wearing Boston Red Sox baseball caps, Pires is waging a blunt-talking, nonconformist campaign against Carper, who he claims is beholden to big banks and sides with them against the interest of consumers.
Running as an independent and portraying himself as a champion of working class people, Pires says the 2008 bank bailout, which Carper supported, was one of the key factors in his decision to enter the Senate race.
Pires also has criticized Carper for opposing reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, a Depression-era law that separated commercial banking from high-risk financial speculation before it was repealed in 1999. He also blames Carper for siding with banks over merchants in a fight over debit-card swipe fees, and for trying to block implementation of the Volcker Rule, a key provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law designed to limit risk-taking by banks by curbing trading done purely for bank profit.
"I got so angry, I thought there must be somebody who can stop his corruption," said Pires, who describes himself as a fiscal conservative.
"I would spend a good deal of my time trying to get Glass-Steagall back and break up big banks," he adds.
Pires, who vows to serve only one term, said that Carper, after 36 years in office, is out of touch with ordinary voters.
"The Carper of today is just a money grubber, and I think it's just very sad," said Pires, who plans to spend as much of his own money as it takes to wage a competitive campaign.
While promoting fiscally conservative views, Pires is more liberal when it comes to social issues, saying he supports gay marriage, and that government has an obligation to protect the interests of children and the elderly.
Source: Associated Press