10 Things You Didn't Know About Ben Nelson

He is one of the Democrats who voted against the healthcare reconciliation bill


1. Earl Benjamin Nelson was born on May 17, 1941, in McCook, Neb. He is the only child of Benjamin and Birdella Nelson.

2. He got an early start in public service as an Eagle Scout. He also served as governor in Nebraska's statewide model legislature when he was in high school.

3. He earned three degrees at the University of Nebraska: a bachelor's in philosophy in 1963, a master's in philosophy in 1965, and a law degree in 1970.

4. In college, he served as a lay preacher for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with a handful of congregations in southeast Nebraska. He's now a member of the United Methodist Church.

5. Nelson met his first wife, Marcia Lofgren, in college, and they married in 1963. In 1977, suffering from a mental illness, Marcia committed suicide. He married his second wife, Diane Gleason, in 1980.

6. After law school, he worked in insurance law. He has been chief of staff of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and director of the Nebraska Department of Insurance.

7. He served as governor of Nebraska from 1990 through 1998.

8. Nelson established the Governors' Ethanol Coalition and increased ethanol production in Nebraska by 20 times during his tenure.

9. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000.

10. He currently serves on four committees: Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Appropriations; Armed Services; and Rules and Administration.