April 14, 2022
Senator Graham Leads Senior Congressional Delegation to Taiwan
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Robert Portman (R-OH), Senator Benjamin Sasse (R-NE), and Representative Ronny Jackson (R-TX) will visit Taiwan from April 14-15, 2022, as part of a larger visit to the Indo-Pacific region. The congressional delegation will meet with senior Taiwan leaders to discuss U.S.-Taiwan relations, regional security, and other significant issues of mutual interest.
For the delegation’s bios, please refer to the pages below.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Graham has earned a reputation as a conservative problem-solver and one of the strongest proponents of a robust national defense. A frequent visitor to American troops stationed overseas for on-the-ground assessments, Graham has consistently pushed for outcomes in the War on Terror which protect our long-term national security interests. One leading conservative recently wrote that when it comes to defending America, “[Lindsey] Graham has been right about more things on foreign policy for longer than just about anyone…if anyone has bragging rights on foreign policy, it is Graham.”
Graham is also a leader in cutting spending, reforming entitlements, and getting government out of the way so businesses can create jobs. One national conservative organization called him a Taxpayer Hero who puts “the interests of the taxpayer ahead of politics by consistently voting to cut wasteful spending, reduce the tax burden, and make government more accountable to taxpayers.”
Graham was elected to the United States Senate in 2002 and was re-elected in 2008, 2014, and 2020. He became the first person in South Carolina history to garner over one million votes in the 2008 general election.
Graham currently serves as the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on the Budget. Graham also serves as a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Prior to serving in the Senate, Graham was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 as the first Republican from the Third Congressional District of South Carolina since 1877.
Before being elected to Congress, Graham compiled a distinguished record in the United States Air Force as he logged six-and-a-half years of service on active duty as an Air Force lawyer. From 1984-1988, he was assigned overseas and served at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in Germany. Upon leaving active duty Air Force in 1989, Graham joined the South Carolina Air National Guard where he served until 1995. During the first Gulf War in the early 90’s, Graham was called to active duty and served state-side at McEntire Air National Guard Base as Staff Judge Advocate where he prepared members for deployment to the Gulf region.
In 1995, Graham joined the U.S. Air Force Reserves. During American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Graham put his experience in military law to use pulling numerous short-term Reserve duties in both countries over congressional breaks and holidays.
Graham retired from the Air Force Reserves in June 2015 having served his country in uniform for 33 years. He retired at the rank of Colonel.
A native South Carolinian, Graham grew up in a blue-collar family in the small town of Central where his parents ran a restaurant and pool hall. The first member of his family to go to college, Graham earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of South Carolina. He lives in Seneca and is a member of Corinth Baptist Church.
U.S. Senator Robert Menendez
Senator Bob Menendez’s story is a quintessential American story. He grew up the son of Cuban immigrants in a tenement building in Union City and has risen to become one of 100 United States Senators. He currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the 117th Congress. The Committee is one of the oldest and most revered Committees in the Senate, at a time when world affairs have a dramatic impact on our economy at home. He has earned a national reputation for his international leadership in the Senate, which pairs with his long-time reputation as a fighter for New Jersey families who puts their economic security ahead of powerful special interests.
A product of New Jersey’s public schools and a graduate of the state’s universities, Bob learned early on the importance of standing up for what’s right, no matter how powerful the opposition. He first entered public service as a 19-year-old college student when his high school would not provide books to students who could not afford them. Bob launched a successful petition drive to reform the local school local school board and a year later won a seat on that very board. He stood up to corruption in Union City and went on to become its mayor, a state legislator and was elected to Congress in 1992. He quickly rose to leadership positions and has given New Jerseyans a seat at the table during critical negotiations on every issue since then: war and peace, jobs and the economy, education, health care, veterans issues, world affairs, transportation and housing.
Senator Menendez’s career has been a tribute to his desire to protect the powerless from the powerful and ensure fairness for every American. He led the fight in Congress to make sure New Jersey received its fair share of recovery funds to help communities rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, chaired Senate Banking Committee hearings to hold the administration accountable for getting relief resources out of Washington, and passed landmark bipartisan legislation providing relief to homeowners hit with unreasonably high flood insurance premiums.
The son of immigrants, Bob understands the importance of New Jersey’s Liberty State Park, in the shadow of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, at the gateway for millions of immigrants who came to this nation seeking the American Dream and a better life for them and their children. That’s why he was one of eight Senators who wrote and fought for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that passed the Senate in 2013 with an overwhelming bipartisan show of support.
As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has established himself as a new foreign policy leader for a new century, seeking to do globally what he has done in New Jersey – supporting the most vulnerable in our society and lending a voice to those least able to speak for themselves. As Chairman, he has focused the Committee’s work on key foreign policy issues of the day including strategic competition with China, confronting the global pandemic, and restoring the United States’ place as a leader around the globe. He has and stood by democracy activists struggling to reform governments from Cuba to China to Russia, and advocated for women and children struggling against oppressive poverty in Central America and sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, he has evoked a strong national security posture in the face of tyrannical leaders of Russia, Iran, Syria, and Venezuela.
In April 2021, Chairman Menendez successfully concluded a decade’s long effort for the U.S. government to officially recognize the Ottoman Empire’s genocide against the Armenian people. Bob believes that beyond military power, the United States must strategically utilize diplomacy and economic statecraft to realize the nexus between economic issues and foreign policy to allow America – and New Jerseyans – to prosper in our intertwined global economy.
Bob has been widely recognized for his leadership on promoting safe and healthy families. He has championed legislation to support mothers suffering from postpartum depression, help families meet the challenges of autism, and keep young athletes safe from harm on the playing field. He serves on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and has championed increased consumer protection and corporate accountability, fairness in lending, affordable housing, and comprehensive approaches to community revitalization. He served as Chairman of the Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development where he fought for smart growth, jobs for the 21st Century and updating our aging transportation system.
As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, he has sponsored legislation increasing access to health care, advocated for fairness in the tax code to help middle class families get college educations and be able to retire, and Bob has pushed for trade initiatives to ensure America’s global competitiveness. Bob received his B.A. from St. Peter’s College in Jersey City and his law degree from Rutgers University. He currently lives in Bergen County with his wife Nadine. He’s the father of two children, Alicia and Robert Jr., and the proud grandfather of Evangelina, Ofelia and Olivia.
U.S. Senator Richard Burr
First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994, Richard served five terms in the House and is currently serving North Carolina in his third term in the U.S. Senate. During his time in the House, he led legislation modernizing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and began his work to improve our nation’s biodefense and pandemic preparedness capabilities.
In the Senate, Richard serves as Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Promoting innovation in America’s healthcare system has been a priority for him throughout his time in Congress. Richard has led on a number of significant legislative priorities, including the creation of today’s pandemic response framework through the passage and reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), improving FDA’s ability to regulate cutting-edge treatments for patients, and consistently championing funding for medical innovation and research.
Richard has also been a leader in education policy. In 2013, the government was set to double interest rates on student loans. Richard worked with a group of his colleagues to write the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act. This bill, which is now law, dramatically reduced interest rates for students who have school loans. Nationally, this law has saved nearly $100 billion for students and their families.
Protecting and honoring human and civil rights is another area where Richard has led legislatively. Richard spearheaded the passage of the Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. This legislation allowed for individuals with disabilities to save money in their own name without losing critical benefits, including health care. In 2014, the ABLE Act was signed into law, and was widely regarded as the most significant legislative accomplishment for individuals with disabilities since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In 2016, Richard worked with the late civil rights leader, Representative John Lewis (D-GA) to reauthorize the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act. The passage of this bill provided a critical opportunity to right the wrongs committed against African Americans that were never investigated during the Civil Rights Era.
An avid outdoorsman, Richard has also taken steps to ensure the promise of America’s national parks will be guaranteed to the next generation. In 2020, Richard led a bipartisan group of senators in passing the Great American Outdoors Act, landmark conservation legislation that fully and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
In addition to leading Republicans on the HELP Committee, Richard also serves as a senior member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Finance Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging.
The son of a minister, Richard and his family moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina when he was a young child. He attended Wake Forest University on a football scholarship, and after graduating, he began his career far from the halls of Congress by spending seventeen years in business with Carswell Distributing, a wholesale commercial products company.
He also serves as a Board Member of Brenner Children’s Hospital and on the West Point Board of Visitors. Richard and his wife, Brooke, have two sons.
U.S. Senator Robert Portman
Rob Portman is a United States Senator from the state of Ohio, a position he has held since he was first elected in 2010, running a campaign that focused on common-sense conservative ideas to help create jobs and get the deficit under control. Rob won with a margin of 57 to 39 percent, winning 82 of Ohio’s 88 counties. In 2016, he was re-elected, winning by an even larger margin of 58 to 37 percent and winning 84 out of Ohio’s 88 counties.
Rob was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he still lives today with his wife, Jane. Together they have three children: Jed, Will, and Sally. Rob grew up in a small-business family, where he learned early on the value of hard work, leadership, and fiscal responsibility. When Rob was young, his dad, Bill Portman, borrowed money to start Portman Equipment Company, where Rob and his brother and sister all worked while growing up. His father, and then his brother, built the family business from a small forklift truck dealership with five employees, with Rob’s mom as the bookkeeper, to one that employed more than 300 people.
U.S. Senator Benjamin Sasse
Ben Sasse is a fifth-generation Nebraskan with the honor of representing the Cornhusker state in the U.S. Senate. Having never run for anything before, he and his family campaigned tirelessly in a rickety old campaign bus in 2013 and 2014, ultimately winning all of Nebraska’s 93 counties in one of the biggest landslides in state history.
After deciding with his family to run for re-election in 2020, Ben set a record, earning the most votes in the history of Nebraska — again winning all 93 counties.
Like many Nebraskans, Ben learned about hard work in corn and bean fields at an early age. The son of a coach and a graduate of Fremont High, he was recruited to wrestle at Harvard and subsequently earned a PhD in American history at Yale. An occasional professor, Ben has spent most of his worklife helping companies and institutions through technological and leadership disruptions. He’s worked with the Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey and Company, as well as private equity firms and not-for-profit organizations, to tackle failing strategies across dozens of sectors and nations.
Before being elected to the Senate, Ben spent five years as a college president. When he was recruited to lead Midland University, Ben was just 37, making him one of the youngest college presidents in the nation. The 130-year-old Lutheran college in Ben’s hometown was on the verge of bankruptcy when he arrived, but became one of the nation’s fastest-growing schools just three years later.
A member of the intelligence, judiciary, finance, and budget committees, Ben is focused on the future of work, the future of war, and the First Amendment. He worries that the Senate lacks urgency about cyber and about the nation’s generational debt crisis. An opponent of perpetual incumbency, he has no intention of spending his life in the Senate.
Ben has written two books – one about the evaporating distinction between adolescence and perpetual adolescence in economies with limited work for teenagers, and the other about the paradox of loneliness and collapsing local community precisely as the digital revolution makes middle-class Americans the richest people in human history. Both books quickly became national best-sellers.
Ben and his wife, Melissa, have three kids – Corrie, Alex, and Breck, any one of whom can often be spotted accompanying their dad on their weekly commute from Nebraska to Capitol Hill. In their spare time, the Sasse kids seek to break their parents via more unauthorized pet adoptions.
U.S. Representative Ronny Jackson
Dr. Ronny Jackson was raised in Levelland, Texas where he learned the value of family, faith, and hard work. After working as a roustabout in the West Texas oilfields, he paid his way through undergraduate school at Texas A&M University. Following graduation from medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch, he began active-duty service in the United States Navy.
With unique training in undersea medicine, he utilized his talents while assigned to locations ranging from Panama City, Florida to Sigonella, Italy. Dr. Jackson would later complete his residency in Emergency Medicine, finishing at the top of his class. Soon thereafter, he deployed to Iraq to lead Resuscitative Medicine efforts on the battlefield for a combat Surgical Shock Trauma Platoon.
While serving in Iraq, he was called back to the states to serve in the White House Medical Unit during President George W. Bush’s Administration. Dr. Jackson would ultimately lead the White House Medical Unit as Physician to the President during the Obama and Trump Administrations. In January 2019, President Donald J. Trump appointed him as Chief Medical Advisor and Assistant to the President.
In December 2019, after 25 years of distinguished service to his country, Dr. Jackson retired from the United States Navy as a Rear Admiral. He returned to the great State of Texas and ran for U.S. Congress. Dr. Jackson was elected to serve Texas’ 13th Congressional District in November 2020. His committee assignments include the House Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Dr. Jackson is happily married to his wife of 29 years, Jane. The couple has three children. Their oldest, Libby, holds an MBA from Mount St. Mary’s University and works in the national security sector. Their middle child, Ben, is a Navy Officer and proud graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Their youngest, Matthew, is a freshman at West Texas A&M University.