Nelson, E. Benjamin (Earl Benjamin), 1941-

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Earl Benjamin Nelson (born May 17, 1941) is an American attorney, businessman, and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 37th Governor of Nebraska from 1991 to 1999 and as a U.S. Senator from Nebraska from 2001 to 2013.

Born in McCook, Nebraska, he earned B.A., M.A., and J.D. degrees from the University of Nebraska before landing a job as assistant general counsel for Central National Insurance Group of Omaha. After several years in the business, in 1975, Governor Jim Exon appointed him state insurance director. After the administration changed, Nelson returned to work for Central National Insurance as an executive vice president and eventually president. He gathered political experience by serving as state campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidates in 1976 and 1980. His law career continued in 1985 when Nelson joined Kennedy, Holland, DeLacy and Svoboda, one of Nebraska’s most prominent legal firms. Nelson first ran for electoral office in the 1990 Nebraska gubernatorial election, defeating first-term Republican incumbent Kay Orr by 4,030 votes out of over 586,000 cast. He was reelected in 1994 with 74% of the vote, the largest margin of victory for a governor in half a century, despite the national Republican gains that year. As governor, Nelson took some conservative stances on issues in right-leaning Nebraska. He pushed welfare reform before it was done at a national level and opposed President Bill Clinton's efforts on health care.

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. In 2000, Nelson was nominated by the Democrats for the Senate after his fellow Democrat, incumbent Bob Kerrey, announced his retirement. After narrowly defeating Attorney General Don Stenberg, he would be re-elected by nearly 30 points in 2006. During his tenure, he earned a reputation as a moderate who was adept at bringing his colleagues on both sides of the aisle together to find compromises on some of the biggest issues facing the country. Serving on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Nelson's priorities began with safeguarding our nation's food and fuel security. He was also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he was a tireless champion for our nation's men and women in uniform. In addition, he served on the Senate Appropriations Committee, being a careful steward of taxpayer money while ensuring important investments were being made to grow the economy. Nelson's votes in the Senate often placed him at odds with the leadership of his party. He was not a candidate for re-election in 2012.

In January 2013, Nelson was named chief executive officer of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, an organization of state insurance regulatory agencies for the United States and several of its territories. The body establishes standards and coordinates regulatory oversight for the state agencies. He left the association and returned to his private law practice in January 2016.

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creatorOf Nelson, E. Benjamin, 1941-. E. Benjamin Nelson : commercials , 1990-1994. University of Oklahoma, Political Community Archives
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memberOf United States. Congress. Senate corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Nebraska-Lincoln. corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Nebraska--Lincoln. College of Law. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Oklahoma. Political Commercial Archive. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Omaha NE US
McCook NE US
Lincoln NE US
Advertising, political
Television advertising
Insurance executives
Senators, U.S. Congress


Birth 1941-05-17






Ark ID: w6ns2q8p

SNAC ID: 67736345