Maurice Robert "Mike" Gravel ( /ɡrəˈvɛl/; born May 13, 1930) is a former Democratic United States Senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981, and a former candidate in the 2008 presidential election.
Born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts to French-Canadian immigrant parents, Gravel served in the United States Army in West Germany and graduated from Columbia University. He moved to Alaska in the late 1950s, becoming a real estate developer and entering politics. He served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1963 to 1966 and became its Speaker of the House. Gravel was elected to the United States Senate in 1968.
As Senator, Gravel became nationally known for his forceful but unsuccessful attempts to end the draft during the Vietnam War and for putting the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971 at risk to himself. He conducted an unusual campaign for the Democratic nomination for Vice President of the United States in 1972, and then played a crucial role in getting Congressional approval for the Trans-Alaska pipeline in 1973. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1974, but gradually alienated most of his Alaskan constituencies and his bid for a third term was defeated in a primary election in 1980.
Gravel returned to business ventures and went through difficult times, suffering corporate and personal bankruptcies amid poor health. He has been a quixotic advocate of direct democracy and the National Initiative. In 2006, Gravel began a run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States to promote those ideas. His campaign gained an Internet following and national attention due to forceful, humorous and politically unorthodox debate appearances during 2007, but showed very little support in national polls or in 2008 caucuses and primaries. In March 2008, he announced he was switching to the Libertarian Party to compete for its presidential nomination and the inclusion of the National Initiative into the Libertarian Platform. At the May 2008 Libertarian National Convention he failed on both counts and announced his political electoral career had ended.
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Famous quotes containing the words gravel and/or mike:
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And lay my bent bow at my side,
Which was my music sweet;
And make my grave of gravel and green,
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