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Candidate Profile from Congressional Quarterly

Peter G. Fitzgerald (R) of Inverness
  • Born: October 20, 1960, Elgin.
  • Education: Dartmouth College, A.B., 1982; Aristotelian U., attended, 1983; U. of Michigan, J.D., 1986.
  • Military Service: None.
  • Occupation: Lawyer.
  • Family: Wife, Nina; one child.
  • Religion: Roman Catholic.
  • Political Career: Ill. Senate, 1993-present; sought Republican nomination for U.S. House, 1994.

Fitzgerald gained a reputation on the campaign trail as the stealth candidate, often ducking reporters' questions at public events and running a low-key, under-the-radar campaign. But when it comes to the issues whether the topic is abortion or taxes Fitzgerald has made little secret that he is a committed conservative.

Throughout his political career, he has been an ardent tax cutter, an opponent of abortion rights and devoted to the free-market policies of former President Ronald Reagan. He advocates a federal tax cut, although he has declined to specify how much.

"I believe that if taxes were somewhat lower, more people would be freed up, in general, maybe to work a little bit less and get off that government-sponsored treadmill of taxation and maybe have more time to be involved in their children's lives," he told the Chicago Tribune.

As a member of the Illinois Senate, where he has served since 1993, he fought tax increases, advocated greater competition in the power utility industry and supported "tort reform" legislation.

His positions on social issues stand in sharp contrast to Carol Moseley-Braun, D-Ill., whom he defeated. She is a strong supporter of abortion rights. Fitzgerald, a devout Roman Catholic, opposes all forms of abortion. He would not make an exception for cases of rape or incest, although he would to save the life of the pregnant woman.

He also sponsored an Illinois law that prohibits same-sex marriages and favors excluding gay men and women from serving in the military.

At 38, Fitzgerald will be the youngest member of the Senate. The campaign trail that led him to Washington was eased somewhat by a $40 million family fortune amassed from his father's banking business. Fitzgerald received a parochial education at the Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode Island, which is run by an order of Benedictine monks. He graduated from Dartmouth, where he majored in classics, and is fluent in Greek. He received his law degree from the University of Michigan and has practiced law in the corporate arena.

By many accounts, one of his closest political advisers is his wife Nina, a Harvard Law School graduate. The couple met at a Georgetown reception when Fitzgerald worked as an intern in the office of Rep. Philip M. Crane, R-Ill. In 1994, Fitzgerald waged an unsuccessful primary challenge to Crane.

On the campaign trail, Fitzgerald sought to portray himself as "your basic suburban father," an avid baseball fan and someone who takes his son on fishing expeditions whenever he can.

But his affluent roots were equally apparent during the campaign, as when he suggested that after a tax cut, "Obviously some will buy a Jaguar with the extra money or buy a bigger house."


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