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Andrew Lamar Alexander Jr. (born July 3, 1940) is a retired American lawyer and politician who served as a United States Senator from Tennessee from 2003 to 2021. A member of the Republican Party, he also was the 45th governor of Tennessee from 1979 to 1987 and the 5th United States Secretary of Education from 1991 to 1993, where he helped the implementation of Education 2000.
Born in Maryville, Tennessee, Alexander graduated from Vanderbilt University and the New York University School of Law. After establishing a legal career in Nashville, Tennessee, Alexander ran for Governor of Tennessee in 1974, but was defeated by Democrat Ray Blanton. Alexander ran for governor again in 1978, and this time defeated his Democratic opponent. He won re-election in 1982 and served as chairman of the National Governors Association from 1985 to 1986.
Alexander served as the president of the University of Tennessee from 1988 until 1991, when he accepted an appointment as Secretary of Education under President George H. W. Bush. Alexander sought the presidential nomination in the 1996 Republican primaries, but withdrew before the Super Tuesday primaries. He sought the nomination again in the 2000 Republican primaries, but dropped out after a poor showing in the Iowa Straw Poll.
In 2002, Alexander was elected to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Fred Thompson. Alexander defeated Congressman Ed Bryant in the Republican primary and Congressman Bob Clement in the general election. He served as Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference from 2007 to 2012 and as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee from 2015 to 2021. He introduced the Every Student Succeeds Act, which supplanted the No Child Left Behind Act in 2015. On December 17, 2018, Alexander announced that he would not run for a fourth term in the Senate in 2020.