Republican Jeff Lane Flake

Senate
Jeff Lane Flake

Birthdate: Dec. 31, 1962
Birth Place: Snowflake, AZ, United States
Residence: Mesa, AZ
Religion: Mormon
Gender: Male

Candidacy

Party: Republican
State: Arizona
Office: Senate

Education

Undergraduate: Brigham Young University

Degree: BA

Graduate: Brigham Young University

Degree: MA

Jeff Flake was born and raised on a ranch in Snowflake, Ariz., a town named, in part, after Flake's great-great grandfather. He currently lives in Mesa, Ariz. He earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Brigham Young University.

Flake was the fifth of 11 children, raised in a strict Mormon household. Before attending BYU, Flake served a Mormon mission in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

He was elected to the U.S. House in 2000.

He and his wife, Cheryl, have five children.

Profile

Jeff Flake won the 2012 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jon Kyl, fending off an unexpectedly aggressive challenge by wealthy businessman Wil Cardon.

Flake now faces Democrat Richard Carmona, a former surgeon general under Republican President George W. Bush, in the November general election.

Although Carmona was a registered independent until last year, Flake and Republicans have been focused on steering away from Carmona's independent credentials by portraying him as a rubber stamp for President Barack Obama, who asked Carmona to run for the seat.

During the 2012 primary, Cardon spent $6 million of his own money trying to frame Flake as a former lobbyist and Washington insider who is soft on illegal immigration and reneged on a pledge to serve three terms in Congress.

But the insider label didn't stick on the man known well in Washington for his constant criticism of federal funding for pet projects, known as "earmarks." He won the August 2012 primary with 70 percent of the vote.

Flake has also voted against the measures that have inspired GOP primary voters to turn out incumbents. He opposed the rescue of financial firms during President George W. Bush's administration, and the 2010 health care reform law and the 2009 approximately $800 billion economic stimulus package, both backed by Obama.

Flake is also known for consistently voting against economic sanctions against Iran, a position he says stems from his days as a Mormon missionary in Namibia, where he saw the damage sanctions can have on innocent people.

In 2009, he applauded the Obama administration's decision to lift a ban on travel and remittances to Cuba. He believes easing U.S.-imposed restrictions is the best way to expedite democratic reforms in the island nation.

Flake's position on immigration has evolved in recent years.

He and Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois introduced legislation in 2007 to revamp the nation's immigration system. The proposed Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act, or STRIVE Act, touched on border security, employment verification and an earned legalization program for the undocumented.

Flake says he no longer supports a broad approach to immigration reform. He tries to explain to voters that legislation he co-sponsored in 2007 was an attempt to negotiate with Democrats to ensure immigration overhaul included such things as fines, paying back taxes and a requirement to learn English.

Still, the congressman said he remains sympathetic to those illegal immigrants brought to the United States as youngsters.

He is also a staunch opponent of abortion.

Flake made news outside of Congress in August 2009 when he spent a week alone on a deserted South Pacific island to fulfill a boyhood dream.

Source: Associated Press

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