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Joseph Robert (Bob) Kerrey

Gov. Joseph Robert (Bob) Kerrey

  • January 6, 1983 - January 9, 1987
  • Democratic
  • August 27, 1943
  • Nebraska
  • University of Nebraska
  • Married twice--Beverly K. Defnall (two children), Sarah Paley (one child)
  • Senator
  • Navy
  • Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Congressional Medal of Honor -


J. ROBERT (BOB) KERREY was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1943. He attended the University of Nebraska and earned a degree in pharmacy in 1965. In 1966, he enlisted in the U.S.Navy and attended Officer’s Candidate School. He was selected for the U.S. Navy SEAL Team I and in 1969 was deployed to Vietnam as the platoon officer of a 14-man SEAL team. He was awarded the Vietnamese Campaign ribbon, the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and the Congressional Medal of Honor. In 1972, after returning to Nebraska to pursue a carrer in pharmacy, he built the first Grandmother’s Skillet restuarant and established several sports and fitness enterprises. He was elected governor in 1982. His programs on welfare reform, education, job training, and the environment became national models. He is a member of the American Legion; Veterans of Foreign Wars; Disabled American Veterans; and the Sertoma, Lions, Lincoln, and Omaha Chambers of Commerce. Governor Kerrey chaired the Midwestern Governors’ Conference. He was elected U.S. Senator in 1988. In the Senate, he served on the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Agriculture Committee. He chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and co-chaired of the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service. From 1989 through 1996, he was a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He was a Democratic candidate for President in 1992. He is currently president of New School University in New York City.


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