kids encyclopedia robot

Chris Dodd facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Chris Dodd
Christopher Dodd official portrait 2.jpg
CEO of the Motion Picture Association
In office
March 17, 2011 – September 5, 2017
Preceded by Dan Glickman
Succeeded by Charles Rivkin
United States Senator
from Connecticut
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Abraham Ribicoff
Succeeded by Richard Blumenthal
Chair of the Senate Banking Committee
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Richard Shelby
Succeeded by Tim Johnson
Chair of the Senate Health Committee
June 9, 2009 – September 9, 2009
Preceded by Ted Kennedy
Succeeded by Tom Harkin
Chair of the Senate Rules Committee
In office
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Mitch McConnell
Succeeded by Trent Lott
General Chair of the Democratic National Committee
In office
January 21, 1995 – January 21, 1997
Serving with Donald Fowler (National Chair)
Preceded by Debra DeLee (Chair)
Succeeded by Roy Romer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1981
Preceded by Robert Steele
Succeeded by Sam Gejdenson
Personal details
Christopher John Dodd

(1944-05-27) May 27, 1944 (age 80)
Willimantic, Connecticut, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Susan Mooney
(m. 1970; div. 1982)
Jackie Clegg
(m. 1999)
Children 2
Relatives Thomas J. Dodd (father)
Thomas J. Dodd Jr. (brother)
Helena Foulkes (niece)
Education Providence College (BA)
University of Louisville (JD)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Army
Years of service 1969–1975
Unit Seal of the United States Army Reserve.svg United States Army Reserve

Christopher John Dodd (born May 27, 1944) is an American lobbyist, lawyer, and Democratic Party politician who served as a United States senator from Connecticut from 1981 to 2011. Dodd is the longest-serving senator in Connecticut's history. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1981.

Dodd is a Connecticut native and a graduate of Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Maryland, and Providence College. His father, Thomas J. Dodd, was also a United States Senator from 1959 to 1971. Chris Dodd served in the Peace Corps for two years prior to entering the University of Louisville School of Law, and during law school concurrently served in the United States Army Reserve.

Dodd returned to Connecticut, winning election in 1974 to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut's 2nd congressional district and was reelected in 1976 and 1978. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1980. Dodd served as general chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1995 to 1997. He served as Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee from 2007 until his retirement from politics. In 2006, Dodd decided to run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, but eventually withdrew after running behind several other competitors.

In January 2010, Dodd announced that he would not run for re-election. Dodd was succeeded by fellow Democrat Richard Blumenthal. Dodd then served as chairman and chief lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) from 2011 to 2017. In 2018, Dodd returned to the practice of law, joining the firm Arnold & Porter. In addition to being a member of the ReFormers Caucus of Issue One, Dodd is a close advisor to President Joe Biden and served on his vice presidential selection committee.

Early life, education, and early political career

Dodd was born in Willimantic, Connecticut. His parents were Grace Mary Dodd (née Murphy) and U.S. Senator Thomas Joseph Dodd; all eight of his great-grandparents were born in Ireland. He is the fifth of six children; his eldest brother, Thomas J. Dodd Jr., is a professor emeritus of the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, and served as the U.S. ambassador to Uruguay and Costa Rica under President Bill Clinton.

Dodd attended Georgetown Preparatory School, a Jesuit boys' school in Bethesda, Maryland. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in English literature from Providence College in 1966. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small rural town called Moncion, in the Dominican Republic from 1966 to 1968. While there, he became fluent in Spanish. (Later, while in Congress, his support for language study resulted in his being awarded the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Advocacy Award in 1986.) Dodd was awarded his Juris Doctor from the University of Louisville in 1972. He also joined the United States Army Reserve, serving until 1975.

U.S. House of Representatives (1975–1981)

Dodd was part of the "Watergate class of '74," which CNN pundit David Gergen credited with bringing "a fresh burst of liberal energy to the Capitol." Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut's 2nd congressional district and reelected twice, he served from January 4, 1975 to January 3, 1981. During his tenure in the House, he served on the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations.

U.S. Senate (1981–2011)


Dodd was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980, and was subsequently reelected in 1986, 1992, 1998, and 2004. He is the first senator from Connecticut to serve five consecutive terms.

Facing a competitive reelection bid for his Senate seat in 2010 and trailing against both of his likely Republican challengers in public opinion polling, Dodd announced in January 2010 that he would not seek re-election for a sixth term in the Senate. Polls of Connecticut voters in 2008 and 2009 had consistently suggested Dodd would have difficulty winning re-election, with 46% viewing his job performance as fair or poor and a majority stating they would vote to replace Dodd in the 2010 election.


During the 1994 elections, the Republicans won the majority in both houses of Congress. Dodd therefore entered the minority for the second time in his Senate career. He ran for the now vacant position of Senate Minority Leader, but was defeated by South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle by one vote. The vote was tied 23–23, and it was Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell who cast the deciding vote by absentee ballot in favor of Daschle.

From 1995 to 1997, he served as General Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. As General Chairman, Dodd was the DNC's spokesman. Donald Fowler served as National Chairman, running the party's day-to-day operations. Dodd has also involved himself in children's and family issues, founding the first Senate Children's Caucus and authoring the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which requires larger employers to provide employees unpaid leave in the event of illness, a sick family member, or the birth or adoption of a child. To date, more than 50 million employees have taken advantage of FMLA mandates. He is working to support a bill that would require employers to provide paid family and medical leave. For his work on behalf of children and families, the National Head Start association named him "Senator of the Decade" in 1990.

Dodd briefly considered running for President in 2004, but ultimately decided against such a campaign and endorsed fellow Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. He then was considered as a likely running mate for his friend, eventual Democratic nominee John Kerry. He was also considered a possible candidate for replacing Daschle as Senate Minority Leader in the 109th Congress, but he declined, and that position was instead filled by Harry Reid.


Committee assignments

  • Committee on Foreign Relations
    • Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs
    • Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs
    • Subcommittee on European Affairs
  • Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (Chairman)
    • As Chairman of the committee, Dodd may serve an ex officio member of all subcommittees of which he is not already a full member.
    • Subcommittee on Economic Policy
    • Subcommittee on Security and International Trade and Finance
    • Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment
  • Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
  • Committee on Rules and Administration
  • Joint Committee on the Library
  • Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

2008 Presidential campaign

On January 11, 2007, Dodd announced his candidacy for the office of President of the United States on the Imus in the Morning show. On January 19, 2007, Dodd made a formal announcement with supporters at the Old State House in Hartford.

Chris Dodd speaking at SEIU event, Jan 27, 2007
Dodd speaking on the campaign trail, January 2007.

OpenSecrets noted that the Dodd campaign was heavily funded by the financial services industry, which is regulated by committees Dodd chairs in the Senate.

In an unusual move, Dodd shared a plane with one of his rivals for the 2008 nomination. Dodd's friend and fellow US Senator Joe Biden was running his own long-shot campaign, and the two saved money by sharing a campaign plane.

In May, Dodd trailed in state and national polls and acknowledged he was not keeping pace with rival campaigns' fund raising. However, he said that as more voters became aware of his opposition to the Iraq War, they would support his campaign. However, his prospects did not improve; a November 7, 2007 Gallup poll placed him at 1%.

Dodd dropped out of the primary race on the night of the January 3, 2008 Iowa caucuses after placing seventh with almost all precincts reporting, even though he had recently moved from his home state to Iowa for the campaign.

Among eight major candidates for the nomination Dodd, even with later states where he was on the ballot after withdrawal, won last place by popular vote in primary (after Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, Joe Biden and Mike Gravel, also including uncommitted delegates and scattering votes). He won a total of 25,252 votes in delegates primaries and 9,940 in penalized contests.

Dodd later said he was not interested in running for Vice President or Senate Majority Leader, and endorsed former rival Barack Obama on February 26, 2008.

Post-Senate career

P20211015AS-1327 (51760513217)
Dodd with President Joe Biden in 2021

Motion Picture Association of America

In February 2011, despite "repeatedly and categorically insisting that he would not work as a lobbyist," Dodd replaced Dan Glickman as chairman of and chief lobbyist for the MPAA.

On January 17, 2012, Dodd released a statement criticizing "the so-called 'Blackout Day' protesting anti-piracy legislation." Referring to the websites participating in the blackout, Dodd said, "It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power... when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests." In further comments, Dodd threatened to cut off campaign contributions to politicians who did not support the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act, legislation supported by the MPAA.

On September 4, 2017, Dodd stepped down as MPAA CEO, and was replaced by former U.S. Ambassador to France and Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin.

Law practice

Following his tenure at MPAA, Dodd joined law firm Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C.

2020 U.S. presidential election and Biden administration

During the 2020 Democratic primary, Dodd was an advisor and surrogate for the campaign of his friend and colleague Joe Biden. Dodd was a member of Biden's vice presidential search committee. He was reported to have spoken against picking California Senator Kamala Harris—saying that "she had no remorse" for "her ambush on Biden in the first Democratic [primary] debate"—and to have advocated for California Congresswoman Karen Bass to be selected instead because "she’s a loyal No. 2."

On March 1, 2021, the public relations and advisory company Teneo announced that it was hiring Dodd, while he was a top advisor to President Biden, as a senior advisor at the company, and that Teneo had acquired a significant minority stake in the consulting firm WestExec Advisors, which had very close ties to the new Biden administration.

Political positions

Sen Dodd speaks at a Navy ceremony at New London, Conn, July 6, 1985
Dodd giving a speech at Naval Submarine Base New London, July 1985.

Dodd supported amending the Family and Medical Leave Act, which he authored in 1993, to include paid leave, and a corporate carbon tax to combat global warming.

Dodd is credited with inserting the last-minute pay limit into American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The pay restrictions included prohibition of bonuses in excess of one-third of total salary for any company receiving any money from the plan and was retroactive to companies that received funds under Troubled Assets Relief Program. Fortune magazine however, panned this provision as likely to "drive the craftiest financial minds away from the most troubled institutions." This article also pointed out the Dodd bill delegated to the Treasury Secretary the right to approve appropriate restaurants for client entertainment.

In May 2009, Dodd was the author and lead sponsor of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on May 22, 2009. The law requires card companies give cardholders 45 days notice of any interest rate increases, prevents card companies from retroactively increasing interest rates on the existing balance of a cardholder in good standing for reasons unrelated to the cardholder's behavior with that card, and prohibits card companies from arbitrarily changing the terms of their contract with a cardholder, banning the so-called practice of "any-time, any-reason repricing." Also included in the bill were provisions requiring companies to give cardholders time to pay their bills by requiring card companies to mail billing statements 25 calendar days before the due date and individuals under the age of 21 to either show income or have a co-signer in order to obtain a credit card. In a conference call with reporters after the bill was signed, Dodd stated his intention to continue work on capping credit card interest rates at thirty percent and to establish limits on fees that merchants pay when a customer uses a credit card for a purchase.

Dodd announced on June 22, 2009, that he supports same-sex marriage. He had opposed gay marriage in the 2008 election, but stated that his daughters are growing up in a different generation than his and that his views have evolved over time. Same-sex couples have been able to marry in Connecticut since November 12, 2008, following the Connecticut Supreme Court's ruling. In April 2009, the legislature overwhelmingly passed and Governor Jodi Rell signed a bill making all references to marriage in law gender neutral.

Personal life

In 1970, Dodd married Susan Mooney; they divorced in 1982. Afterwards, he dated at different times Bianca Jagger and Carrie Fisher, among others.

In 1999, Dodd married Jackie Marie Clegg, a native of Orem, Utah, former longtime aide to Senator Jake Garn, Republican of Utah, and former official at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The marriage joined Dodd's family of New England Catholic Democrats with Clegg's family of LDS (Mormon) Republicans from the Utah Valley. The couple has two daughters, Grace (born September 2001) and Christina Dodd (born May 2005).

Dodd was raised as a Catholic and attends Mass. In 2007, Dodd stated that his Catholic faith taught him "to promote the common good" and "do everything possible to provide a safety net for the most vulnerable." Dodd also credited his Catholic background with his decision to join the Peace Corps. Dodd's two children were baptized in the Catholic tradition and blessed in the Mormon tradition.

He made a brief cameo appearance as himself in the political satire film Dave (1993).

On July 31, 2009, Dodd announced he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer; his aides said that it was at an early, treatable stage and Dodd would undergo surgery during the Senate August recess. The surgery, held at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, was successful.

He is the godfather of actress, Christy Carlson Romano.

Awards and honors

In 2008, Dodd received the Washington Office on Latin America's Human Rights Award.

In 2014, Dodd received The Media Institute's Freedom of Speech Award.

In 2016, Dodd received the Brass Ring Award from the United Friends of the Children, a Los Angeles charitable organization, in recognition of his work on behalf of children while in the Senate.

Electoral history

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Chris Dodd para niños

  • Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
kids search engine
Chris Dodd Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.