- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 7, 2002

The 10 new senators who will soon be regulars on Capitol Hill come from a variety of backgrounds, but all have substantial experience holding political office including former Cabinet secretaries, former congressmen and one who has already served as a U.S. senator.
The eight Republicans and two Democrats come to the Senate by different paths. Rep. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican elected to his fourth term in the House in 2000, won an upset victory Tuesday over incumbent Democratic Sen. Max Cleland.
Three-term Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey decided to re-emerge and enter this year's race just last month after embattled Sen. Robert G. Torricelli dropped out. And Arkansas Attorney General Mark Pryor unseated Republican Sen. Tim Hutchinson.
Republican ex-Rep. Jim Talent of Missouri comes to the Senate after defeating Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan. A Senate Republican leadership aide said Mr. Talent was "big on welfare reform," which will be helpful in the Senate when the law comes up for reauthorization.
One of the more high-profile new senators and the only woman in the group is Republican Elizabeth Dole, wife of former Sen. Bob Dole, Kansas Republican.
Mrs. Dole, of North Carolina, served as the first female secretary of transportation under President Reagan and as secretary of labor under the first Bush administration. More recently she headed the American Red Cross before entering the Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Jesse Helms, a well-known conservative. Mrs. Dole beat former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.
Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican, is a former secretary of education under the first Bush administration, a former Tennessee governor and ran twice unsuccessfully for his party's presidential nomination.
Mr. Alexander and Mrs. Dole are viewed by some conservative groups as more centrist and potentially unreliable on some pro-life issues, even though both have cast themselves as pro-life.
"We might have our work cut out for us," said Connie Mackey, vice president of governmental affairs at the Family Research Council. She said they plan to lobby the two to oppose embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning.
Rep. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is a conservative, strongly pro-life Republican who has fought in the House for traditional Republican initiatives. Mr. Graham, a lawyer and veteran of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, replaces retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond.
Republican Rep. John E. Sununu of New Hampshire worked in business and engineering before being elected to Congress and served as vice chairman of the House Budget Committee, which may come into play as the new Republican Senate regime seeks to enact a budget.
"Strong on national security issues," is how one Senate Republican leadership aide described Mr. Chambliss, who served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and became chairman of its panel on terrorism and homeland security.
Mr. Lautenberg is a staunch Democrat who ran his brief campaign on traditional Democratic issues, pledging to fight for gun control, environmental protection and to protect Social Security and abortion rights. In the Senate he worked to enact environmental protection laws and received positive scores from liberal interest groups.
Mr. Pryor, who comes from an Arkansas political family, became state attorney general in 1999 and has cast himself as a Democrat who is "tough on crime."
Republican John Cornyn of Texas is another state attorney general and won his race against Democratic Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk. His seven years on the Texas Supreme Court could make him a player in the judicial nomination process, the Republican Senate aide said.
In the true independent spirit of Minnesota, Republican Norm Coleman, who beat former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, was first elected mayor of St. Paul in 1993 as a conservative Democrat and joined the Republican Party in 1996 before being re-elected mayor the following year.
In the House, the Republican freshman class also represents a broad range of backgrounds, but in general has more legislative and governmental experience than the 1994 freshman class, said Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican who was part of the 1994 class.
"These folks are generally experienced politicians," he said.
Mr. Kingston said many of the new Republican members will be more likely to understand the art of compromise and "keeping your mouth shut" if necessary than the 1994 freshman class did. He pointed out that the new freshman Republican class is riding in on a "pro-Bush" mentality to get things done, as opposed to the "anti-Clinton" mentality that made the 1994 class more combative.

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