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Paul Wellstone

(1944 - 2002)

U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone, the senior senator from Minnesota, was born to Leon and Minnie Wellstone on July 21, 1944. In 1963 he married Sheila Ison with whom he has three children, David, Marcia, and Mark; the Wellstones have six grandchildren, Cari, Keith, Joshua, Acacia, Sydney, and Matt.

Paul grew up in Arlington, VA and attended Wakefield and Yorktown high schools. He then went on to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where he was a champion wrestler.  In 1965, he graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and earned a Ph.D. in Political Science in 1969. He accepted a teaching position at Carleton College in Northfield, MN and taught there for 21 years before being elected to the U.S. Senate.

In 1990, underdog Paul Wellstone rallied together a dedicated volunteer force and traversed the state in his trademark Green Bus to become the only Senate contender to unseat an incumbent. In 1996, Paul Wellstone promised Minnesotans that he would run a grassroots campaign that would make them proud. He mobilized his volunteers and field organization to generate a massive participation in the political process, now a model for the nation.  

Paul Wellstone's experience as a teacher and grassroots organizer in Minnesota provides the framework for his progressive policies and priorities as a Senator. Minnesotans have a proud tradition of electing people like Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy and Walter Mondale--U.S. Senators--who through their commitment and hard work became strong voices and real fighters for those who had no one else to fight for them. Paul Wellstone takes great pride in being a part of this Minnesota tradition.

During his first Senate term he helped lead the fight to ensure that people would be able to take time off from work to care for a sick child or aging parent without losing their jobs, and to ensure that health care is accessible and affordable for all Minnesotans. He led the successful fight to raise the federal minimum wage, and he supported legislation that would protect the security of thousands of Minnesotans and their families by preventing corporations from raiding seniors' pension funds. And, he authored historic new lobbying disclosure and ethics reforms which have changed the way business is done in Washington. During his second term, Paul Wellstone traveled around the country to focus the nation's attention on children, and continued to be an outspoken national leader in the fight for economic justice for all.  As a Senator for Minnesota, Paul Wellstone fought for a progressive, values-based working families agenda and for major political reforms designed to transform the way federal campaigns are financed and organized. 

Wellstone served from January 3, 1991, until his death in a plane crash during his reelection campaign on October 25, 2002.

Sources: Source: Senator Paul Wellstone. U.S. Senate