The Political Background of Barack Obama

Barack Obama's political background story is a unique one. Having been raised in childhood by a single mother and by his grandparents, he rose from humble beginnings to become the 44th president of the United States. After attending Harvard, earning a law degree and teaching constitutional law for several years at the University of Chicago, Barack Obama entered the realm of politics.

Where and when did Barack Obama begin his political career?

In 1992, Obama became the director of Project Vote, an Illinois initiative meant to encourage minorities to vote in larger numbers. Over the next three years, he served on the board of directors of several community development projects and organizations. In the mid 1990s, Barack Obama ran for the state senate of Illinois. In 1996, he was elected the state senator of the state's 13th district.

What were Barack Obama's significant achievements as a state senator?

Obama's work as a state senator was representative of the type of work he has performed throughout his entire career. He reformed healthcare, welfare, racial profiling and mortgage lending regulations in his area. He was also a primary sponsor of a law that increased tax credits for low-income workers in the district. In 2000, he ran for Congress and lost in the democratic primary. In total, he served three terms in the state senate before successfully running for a U.S. Senate seat in 2004.

What were some of Barack Obama's largest accomplishments as a U.S. Senator?

Obama's short term in the Senate consisted mostly of acts and sponsorships that never became law; however, he did successfully add a provision to the Defense Authorization Act that aids military personnel who are discharged due to personality disorders. He also helped Indiana senator Dick Lugar on several initiatives that reduce the threat of dangerous weapons. Obama introduced the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, which improves public transparency regarding how the U.S. government is spending its money.

What types of changes has Barack Obama overseen during his terms as president?

Significantly, Obama became the first African-American president in United States history when he was elected in 2008. He supported the controversial economic stimulus package in an effort to bail the U.S. economy out of its recession. His most significant action as president is considered to be his passage of the Affordable Care Act, which completely overhauls the nation's healthcare system. Obama also helped repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuals serving in the military and also publicly expressed his support for gay marriage, making him the first sitting U.S. president to do so. Other important actions by the president include Wall Street reform, increased focus on NASA and space travel and supervising the assassination of terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Like many presidents, Barack Obama's political background is highly scrutinized. Only time can tell whether he goes down in history as a poor, average or superior president. Because of his social and ethnic background, his quick rise to the top of U.S. politics is certainly impressive, historic and unique.

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