Rick Santorum was born on May 10, 1958 in Winchester, Virginia, to parents who worked at the VA Hospital in neighboring Martinsburg, West Virginia. At the age of seven the family moved to Butler County, Pennsylvania. Rick’s father was an Italian immigrant who instilled in him a love for this country and a belief system that has served him throughout his life: If you work hard in America and commit to a core set of values, anything is possible.
Following his graduation from high school, Rick attended Penn State University where he first became actively involved in the political process, serving as a campaign volunteer for the late Senator John Heinz. After graduating from Penn State with a degree in Political Science, he received his M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. He moved to Harrisburg, working as Administrative Assistant to State Senator Doyle Corman and later received his J.D. from the Dickinson School of Law. After receiving his law degree, Rick returned to western Pennsylvania to put his education to use.
While working as an attorney for the Pittsburgh law firm of Kirkpatrick and Lockhart, Rick met Karen Garver. In 1990 they were married, beginning the family that would become the most important and inspiring presence in his life. More than a decade and a half later, Rick and Karen are the parents of six wonderful children – Elizabeth, Johnny, Daniel, Peter, Sarah Maria, and Patrick. Of all the jobs he has held throughout his career, and of all his accomplishments as a legislator and a public servant, Rick is most proud of his role as a husband and a father.
1990 was a big year for Rick. In addition to getting married, he became a candidate for elected office for the first time. Pitted against a seven-term incumbent Congressman in a heavily Democratic district – with a Republican National Committee that admittedly didn't even know his name – to say Rick was a long-shot candidate would have been an insult to long-shot candidates. But he ran an energetic, grassroots campaign, and on Election Day that saw the Republicans nationwide lose seats in Congress, Rick became the United States Representative for the 18th District of Pennsylvania.
The House of Representatives is not always an easy place for a young Congressman to make his name, but that didn't stop Rick. He was an organizer along with John Boehner of the renowned "Gang of Seven," a group of newly elected House members focused on cleaning up the abuse and corruption that was rampant at that time. Famously, they were responsible for uncovering the House banking and post office scandals, illegal and immoral schemes that resulted in powerful members of Congress being convicted of stealing taxpayers’ money.
In 1992 congressional redistricting combined his district with the district of a 20 year incumbent in a district that was almost 2-1 Democrat. In spite of these long odds he was re-elected to a second term in Congress, Rick then set his sights on serving all of Pennsylvania in the United States Senate. Once again, facing an incumbent Democrat, Rick was not expected to win. But his tireless campaigning and fresh, honest message resonated with Pennsylvania's voters, and on January 4, 1995, Rick Santorum was sworn-in as the United States Senator from Pennsylvania. He was 36 years old. In a year that saw four Republican incumbents go down to defeat, he was re-elected to a second six-year term in 2000, and served as Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. As Conference Chairman, Rick directed the communications operations of the Senate Republicans and was the third-ranking member of the Republican Leadership. He served as the youngest member of the Leadership, and was the first Pennsylvanian to serve in such a prominent position since Senator Hugh Scott was Republican Leader over thirty years ago.
In 2006, Rick focused his reelection campaign to a third term on the threat this country faces from Islamic fascism, not just in Iraq, but around the globe. Without wavering he defended the war in Iraq and the requirement for victory not just in Iraq, but in confronting the greater threat of Iran. In what turned out to be a referendum on the war in Iraq, Rick Santorum was defeated.
As a Senator, Rick was a passionate advocate for the things that he thought best for Pennsylvania, for his constituents, for the country, and ultimately for the world. During his tenure, he served on several important committees, including eight years on the Senate Committee on Armed Services and six years on the Senate Committee on Finance. He founded the Congressional Working Group on Religious Freedom and spearheaded the passage of several key pieces of legislation, including the landmark welfare reform bill, the American Community Renewal Act, a ban on partial-birth abortion, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, the Combating Autism Act, Farmland Preservation Act, Abandoned Mine Lands Reform Act, Multi Employer Pension Reform Act, Global Aids Authorization Act, Health Savings Accounts, the Syria Accountability Act, and the Iran Freedom Support Act.
His accomplishments as a senator include reviving America’s communities and empowering citizens to enjoy better lives, reforming the welfare system, fighting against poverty by championing programs that empower all citizens and protect the most vulnerable among us, combating the Global HIV/AIDS epidemic, strengthening and protecting Social Security, providing every American with access to quality, affordable health care, lowering the tax burden on working families, protecting the institution of marriage, reducing America’s dependency on foreign sources of oil, countering the threat of radical Islam, speaking out against religious persecution, in particular persecution of Jews and Christians in the Middle East, and promoting democracy and religious liberty around the world.
Rick Santorum is the author of It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good. He is writing a second book on the “Gathering Storm of the 21st Century” – the war against a radical, Islamic fascist enemy and its growing alliances around the world.
In January 2007, Rick established the Program to Protect America's Freedom at the Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. The mission of this project is to identify and communicate the threats to America and the West from a growing array of anti-Western forces and states that increasingly cast a shadow over our future and that violate religious liberty around the world.
In addition to his work at EPPC, Rick Santorum is a consultant with the national law firm Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC; and is a contributor on the Fox News Channel.
Several months ago, I agreed to write this weekly column and to use it not just to express my views, but to express the views we shared with the many thousands of Americans we met on the campaign trail last year.
It's not often that President Barack Obama and I agree. But on Father's Day, I was reminded that some issues go beyond political debates and are deeply personal.
This jarring event was a grim reminder of the continued threat to America that exists and should have been a wake-up call to the Obama administration about the deadly nature of radical Islam. But here we are now, nine months later, and there still are no answers or explanations from the Obama administration about what exactly happened, why it happened and what those in charge knew while it was happening.
This is a critical time in American history. I think we all know that something big is happening in America.
Once again the U.S. Senate is considering passing into law a very dangerous United Nations treaty that would threaten the tens of thousands of American families who care for disabled children. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or CRPD treaty, which has been rejected a number of times before, is expected to come before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the first week in June. This treaty should be unacceptable to all American families, and we must work to put an end to it.
Last week, the Obama White House finally was exposed to Americans on both the left and right as the abusive and arrogant administration that it is. Throughout this presidency, we've seen examples of the constant abuse of power and living above the law. The executive orders on gun control, the assault on religious liberty through Obamacare and the refusal to enforce immigration laws to gain political favor are just a few among many. And last week, three more egregious offenses came to light that concern all freedom-loving Americans.
According to the Bible, we are all called to be saints. That is, we are all called to be with God in heaven. In fact, the designation of sainthood bestowed by the Roman Catholic Church is, at its core, simply a declaration that a person is in heaven.
You may be hearing a lot these days about the growing separation of the elites in America from everyone else, about how those at the very top in our country are playing by a different set of rules and have different realities than the millions of working families across America. Well, I agree with this view, and sadly, I see it getting worse by the day. And nowhere is it as bad as it is on Capitol Hill.
A few weeks ago, we marked the 45th anniversary of King's death. Despite his call to action, more than four decades later, there is still a dividing line in America, and it's arguably deeper now than it was then.
Since Sept. 11, Americans have been largely immune from attacks by terrorists. But for many of us, the days of color-coded terror warnings and armed guards in airports seem like relics of another era.
My wife, Karen, and I are blessed with seven children, including one little girl with very special needs, Bella. There are many days when we are overwhelmed or dead-tired or frustrated or all of the above. I'm sure all parents can relate. It's just part of being a parent. But like millions of Americans, we also know it's the most important job we ever will have.
Our country is at a defining moment. With a weak economy and a high unemployment rate that has bumped along for five years and traditional American values under assault by the Obama administration, the mainstream media and Hollywood, millions of American families across the country are feeling discouraged -- both financially and morally.
On Easter Sunday, Christians around the world celebrated the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. For us, it was a time of renewal -- a renewal of our baptismal promises, a rebirth of our faith in the Father, a moment to rejoice in our love for the church and its teachings. Also, our Jewish friends and neighbors recently observed Passover and hosted Seder dinners for family and friends.
As if the stubbornly high unemployment rate and rising costs of gasoline and food weren't enough, March 23 marked the third anniversary of another direct assault on America's working families.
March is Trisomy Awareness Month. For my family, this has become a time to celebrate the life of our daughter Bella.
Republicans don't care. Or at least that's the perception of us. President Barack Obama's convincing re-election in November despite a climate of high unemployment, stagnant economic growth and waning American influence around the globe has caused a great deal of soul-searching for the Republican Party.
America used to pride itself on the acceptance of differences toward the larger purpose of building a better America.
In September 1996, I stood on the floor of the United States Senate to respond to Sen. Barbara Boxer's comment that I was ignoring the "cries" of the women who came to Washington to lobby for the sustaining of President Clinton's veto of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.
It is disappointing that Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, is portraying his efforts to cut funding for troops deploying to Iraq as an attempt to fix problems with our military when he previously told the liberal organization MoveOn.org that his real motivation was to ensure that the military "won't be able to continue" with its new Iraq strategy to secure Baghdad.
Today is Religious Freedom Day on Capitol Hill, a special day dedicated to bringing greater awareness to, and understanding of, the plight of the religiously oppressed