E. BENJAMIN NELSON was born in McCook in southwestern Nebraska. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1963, a master’s degree in philosophy in 1965, and a law degree in 1970, all from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He entered law practice in 1970 and began a prominent career in insurance and politics. He was named the director of the Nebraska Department of Insurance in 1975, and he gathered political experience by serving as state campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidates in 1976 and 1980. From 1980 to 1981, Nelson served as president and chief executive officer of the Central National Insurance Group, and he served as chief of staff and executive vice president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners from 1982 to 1985. His law career continued in 1985 when Nelson joined Kennedy, Holland, DeLacy and Svoboda, one of Nebraska’s most prominent legal firms. In 1990 he was elected governor of Nebraska. When Nelson completed his second term as governor in 1998, he joined the Omaha law firm of Lamson, Dugan and Murray, where he specialized in insurance regulatory law, international trade, and energy law. He is the co-founder of Kaufman, Nelson and Pattee in Washington, D.C., a governmental affairs firm, and serves on numerous corporate boards. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2000, and he serves as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Agriculture Committee, and the Veterans Affairs Committee.