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Mon, 05.11.1970

Harold Ford Jr., a true TN. Volunteer

Harold Ford Jr.

*Harold Ford was born on this date in 1970. He is an African American politician and lawyer.

From Memphis, Tennessee he is the son of Harold Ford, Sr., a Representative in Congress from 1975 to 1997, and Dorothy Ford. He has two brothers, Jake and Isaac. Harold Eugene Ford, Jr. graduated from St. Albans School for Boys in Washington, D.C. and received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1992 and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1996. Prior to law school he was a staff aide to the United States Senate Committee on the Budget and in 1993 he was special assistant to the United States Department of Commerce.

He was elected as a Democrat to his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996, succeeding his father. In 2003, Ford considered running for Mayor of Memphis against the incumbent, W. W. Herenton, a political rival of his family.  Ford was a member of several pro-growth coalitions, including the New Democrat Coalition, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Blue Dog Coalition. After the 2002 elections resulted in Democrats losing Congressional seats, he announced his candidacy for House Democratic Leader, arguing that current leadership was ineffective, yet he was soundly defeated.

In spite of claims that Ford was a liberal, his voting record is increasingly conservative. He supported the Iraq war, a ban on benefits for homosexual couples, and told Democrats they should be more supportive of George W. Bush. Pundits suggested that he might be considered to be the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate in 2004; however, he was ineligible for the office because he would not be 35 years of age by inauguration day (January 20, 2005).  He mentioned a run for President in 2008 to raise his profile (he was an eager guest on political talk shows) and if it happened would been welcomed as an expression of Democratic diversity and would have added a Black American voice to the debates, as Carol Moseley-Braun did in 2004.

Ford appeared headed for a long public career and perhaps a larger future role, perhaps in the House leadership or a future Democratic cabinet or possibly the Senate. After such elevation, or more maturity time to move into his 40's, a presidential run would have had a better chance of winning a spot on the ticket.

Harold Ford Jr. ran for a seat in the United States Senate in the 2006 election and lost.  Ten years after leaving politics, in 2017 Ford was accused of sexual harassment and fired from his position at Morgan Stanley.

Reference:
Black Americans In Congress 1870-1989.
Bruce A. Ragsdale & Joel D. Treese
U.S. Government Printing Office
Raymond W. Smock, historian and director 1990
E185.96.R25

Terry Ashe/Associated Press

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