(son of Howard Henry Baker, stepson of Irene Bailey Baker, son-in-law of Everett Dirksen, and husband of Nancy Landon Kassebaum), a Senator from Tennessee; born in Huntsville, Scott County, Tenn., November 15, 1925; attended Tulane University, New Orleans, La., and University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.; graduated from the University of Tennessee Law College 1949; served in the United States Navy 1943-1946; admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1949 and commenced practice; unsuccessful candidate for election to the U.S. Senate in 1964; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1966; reelected in 1972 and again in 1978, and served from January 3, 1967, to January 3, 1985; did not seek reelection; minority leader 1977-1981; majority leader 1981-1985; unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 1980; lawyer in Washington, D.C.; awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on March 26, 1984; chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan 1987-1988; U.S. Ambassador to Japan, 2001-2005.
Capping a distinguished public-service career as senator, presidential advisor and ambassador, Howard H. Baker, Jr. returned in February 2005 to Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, the law firm his grandfather founded and where he formerly practiced with his father, the late U.S. Rep. Howard H. Baker. As Senior Counsel to the Firm, Senator Baker focuses his practice on public policy and international matters.
Senator Baker's return followed his service as 26th U.S. Ambassador to Japan, a position to which President George W. Bush appointed him in 2001. The appointment was yet another milestone in a public-service career that began in 1966, when Senator Baker became the first Republican popularly elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee.
Senator Baker gained national recognition in 1973 as Vice Chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee. Three years later, he was keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention and was a 1980 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. He concluded his Senate career in 1985 after two terms as Majority Leader (1981 to 1985) and two terms as Minority Leader (1977 to 1981). He was President Reagan's Chief of Staff from February 1987 to July 1988.
A delegate to the United Nations in 1976, Senator Baker has extensive foreign policy experience. He served on the President's Foreign Intelligence Board from 1985 to 1987 and from 1988 to 1990 and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs. He serves on the board of the Forum of International Policy and is an International Counselor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Among his many awards are the 1984 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, and the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Performed by an Elected or Appointed Official, which he received in 1982. An accomplished photographer, Senator Baker received The American Society of Photographers' International Award in 1993 and was elected into the Photo Marketing Association's Hall of Fame in 1994. He has received honorary degrees from such institutions as Yale University, Dartmouth College, Georgetown University, Bradley University, Pepperdine University and Centre College.
Senator Baker is the author of four books: No Margin for Error (1980); Howard Baker's Washington (1982); Big South Fork Country (1993) and Scott's Gulf (2000).