Chuck Hagel on Technology

Republican Sr Senator (NE)


1980s: Gathered investors for early cellphone franchise

Hagel put everything he could scrape together into a "Dick Tracy" venture: cellular phones. It sounded like science fiction in the early 1980s, but Hagel convinced investors to commit to his firm, Vanguard, and the effort paid off enormously for the investors and for the firm itself.

The Wild West atmosphere of cell-phone franchise awards would later lead to questions about just how legal all Vanguard's activities were, but no one was found guilty of breaking the law. And the boy who grew up poor in Nebraska ended up a millionaire after his company turned cellular science fiction into reality.

Source: Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward, by Charlyne Berens, p. 6 , Sep 1, 2006

1980s: Made millions by parlaying cellphone licenses

In 1984, Hagel and a group of North Carolina investors rolled all their cellular operations into a new company they called Vanguard, dedicated to the telecommunications business. They had each investor file a separate lottery application. Then they formed individual investors into alliances that called for sharing each franchise won by any one alliance member. Vanguard was to be the controlling partner in each case.

The complicated buying and selling led to legal charges and countercharges. Lawsuits proliferated during the mid-1980s in the cell phone world. "Everybody was sued," Hagel said, large and small investors alike.

When it was sued in 1986, Vanguard maintained its innocence. The case was later dismissed, but the FCC did, however, change its policies to prevent license applicants from using similar tactics in future lotteries. Success made Hagel a millionaire several times over.

Source: Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward, by Charlyne Berens, p. 61-63 , Sep 1, 2006

1970: One of the earliest political radio talk-show hosts

Hagel was at the radio station in Omaha when it changed its call letters to KLING and went to an all news and talk format in 1970. KLING was one of the 1st stations in the country to move away from a music format. KLING moved to call-in shows focused on current events. "It was a great experiment," Hagel remembers. No one knew whether advertisers and listeners would make the leap to the new programming.

Hagel, one of the 1st talk show hosts at KLING, was good at handling people on the air. Even though the war still seething in Vietnam was a hot topic on many a caller's mind, Hagel kept his cool and managed to walk a path down the middle of the debate. Hagel said those early talk shows on KLING were more civilized because the idea was new, and the broadcasters were just feeling their way along. He said, "We were more global in our thinking," and they steered clear of what he called the character assassination that typifies today's talk shows.

Source: Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward, by Charlyne Berens, p. 46-47 , Sep 1, 2006

Voted YES on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure.

Vote on overriding Pres. Bush's veto. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and environmental projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. Also authorizes projects for navigation, ecosystem or environmental restoration, and hurricane, flood, or storm damage reduction in 23 states including Louisiana.

Veto message from President Bush:

This bill lacks fiscal discipline. I fully support funding for water resources projects that will yield high economic and environmental returns. Each year my budget has proposed reasonable and responsible funding, including $4.9 billion for 2008, to support the Army Corps of Engineers' main missions. However, this authorization bill costs over $23 billion. This is not fiscally responsible, particularly when local communities have been waiting for funding for projects already in the pipeline. The bill's excessive authorization for over 900 projects and programs exacerbates the massive backlog of ongoing Corps construction projects, which will require an additional $38 billion in future appropriations to complete. This bill does not set priorities. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

Reference: Veto override on Water Resources Development Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 1495 ; vote number 2007-406 on Nov 8, 2007

Voted YES on restoring $550M in funding for Amtrak for 2007.

An amendment to provide an additional $550,000,000 for Amtrak for fiscal year 2007. Voting YEA would increase Amtrak funding from $900 million to $1.45 billion. Voting NAY would keep Amtrak funding at $900 million.
Reference: Santorum amendment to Transportation funding bill; Bill S.Amdt.3015 to S.Con.Res.83 ; vote number 2006-052 on Mar 15, 2006

Voted NO on disallowing FCC approval of larger media conglomerates.

Vote to pass a joint resolution expressing congressional disapproval of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission. The rule would therefore have no force or effect. The rule in question deals with broadcast media ownership and would allow media conglomerates to own more television stations and newspapers.
Reference: FCC Media Ownership bill; Bill S J Res 17/H.J.RES.72 ; vote number 2003-348 on Sep 16, 2003

Voted YES on Internet sales tax moratorium.

Vote against allowing states to require companies who do business in their state solely by phone, mail, or the Internet to collect state sales taxes. [Current law does not require companies to collect sales taxes where the customer is out of state]
Reference: Bill S.442 ; vote number 1998-296 on Oct 2, 1998

Facilitate nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services.

Hagel co-sponsored facilitating nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services

A bill to facilitate nationwide availability of 2-1-1 telephone service for information and referral on human services & volunteer services. Congress makes the following findings:

  1. The FCC has assigned 2-1-1 as the national telephone number for information and referral on human services.
  2. 2-1-1 facilitates critical connections between families seeking services, including community-based and faith-based organizations.
  3. There are approximately 1,500,000 nonprofit organizations in the US [which would be listed in the 2-1-1 service].
  4. Government funding supports well-intentioned programs that are not fully utilized because of a lack of access to such programs.
  5. A national cost-benefit analysis estimates a net value to society of a national 2-1-1 system approaching $130,000,000 in the first year alone.
  6. While 69% of the population has access to 2-1-1 telephone service from a land line in 41 States, inadequate funding prevents access to that telephone service throughout each of the States.
  7. 2-1-1 telephone service facilitates the availability of a single repository where comprehensive data on all community services is collected & maintained.

Introductory statement by Sponsor:

Sen. CLINTON: In the immediate aftermath of the devastation of September 11, most people did not know where to turn for information about their loved ones. Fortunately for those who knew about it, 2-1-1 was already operating in Connecticut, and it was critical in helping identify the whereabouts of victims, connecting frightened children with their parents, providing information on terrorist suspects, and linking ready volunteers with victims.

Every single American should have a number they can call to cut through the chaos of an emergency. That number is 2-1-1. It's time to make our citizens and our country safer by making this resource available nationwide.

Source: Calling for 2-1-1 Act (S.211 and H.R.211) 07-HR211 on Jan 9, 2007

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Page last updated: Sep 27, 2018