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J. Dennis "Denny" Hastert (R-IL) (1942-) was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives in January of 1999. In addition to his service as Speaker, Hastert has been a Representative since 1986, and has been the Chief Deputy Majority Whip. In his political career, Hastert has shown interest in education, health care, tax and government reform.

Hastert was born on January 2, 1942, in Aurora, Illinois. He obtained his bachelor's degree in economics from Wheaton College in Illinois in 1964, and his master's in education from Northern Illinois University at DeKalb in 1967. Following his graduation, Hastert became a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School. While at Yorkville, he led the wrestling team to a state championship in 1976. For this he was awarded State Coach of the Year honors.

Hastert's political career began with his election to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1980. Here, Hastert dealt with issues such as property taxes, economic growth, and education. After six years as a Representative in the State General Assembly, Hastert was elected to represent his state in Washington.

Hastert was elected a Representative in 1986. He advanced quickly in his party ranks, and became the Chief Deputy Majority Whip in 1994. In his early Congress career, he focused on getting the parties to work together and compromise instead of fighting over key points. He became involved in and chairman of committees dealing with government reform, such as the House Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs and Criminal Justice. Soon after Newt Gingrich stepped down from his position as Speaker of the House on January 6, 1999, Hastert was elected the new Speaker.

As the Speaker, Hastert made an effort to enhance the bipartisan functionality of Congress. Hastert laid out his agenda for his tenure which involved national defense (more specifically, national missile defense), health care, lower taxes, and Social Security. Hastert was re-elected as Speaker on January 3, 2001. As Speaker, Hastert has expedited the passage of much legislature. The House of Representatives can look forward to at least a few more years under the capable leadership of Denny Hastert.

Hastert's web page is available at: http://www.house.gov/hastert/welcome.html

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