Sen. John McCain was first elected to represent Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. He served two terms in the House before being elected to the Senate in 1985. He was re-elected to a third Senate term in November 1998 with nearly 70 percent of the vote.
In the Senate Commerce Committee, McCain concentrates on telecommunications and aviation issues, stressing the need to promote competition and government deregulation in the industries that are important to economic growth.
McCain has been an outspoken advocate for the reform of government institutions, and he has fought to change a campaign finance system that he says favors the interests of a special few over the needs of the majority.
He has waged a campaign against pork barrel spending, fighting for 10 years to pass a line item veto. He has been a persistent proponent of lower taxes, deregulation and free trade. McCain is a booming voice for a strong national defense, and for sound foreign policy and is considered one of the leading defenders of the rights of Native Americans.
McCain has received numerous awards from taxpayer and foreign policy organizations for his distinguished public service and conservative leadership. In 1997, he was named one of the "25 Most Influential People in America" by Time magazine.
McCain retired from the Navy as a Captain in 1981 after 22 years as a naval aviator. In 1967, he was shot down over Vietnam and held as a prisoner-of-war in Hanoi for five and a half years, much of it in solitary confinement. McCain's naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
McCain tells what he learned about life and honor from his father and grandfather, both four-star admirals in the U.S. Navy, in his best-selling family memoir, Faith of My Fathers. The book, detailing McCain's early life and military career, spent 24 weeks on The New York Times best sellers list.
McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958. He and his wife Cinfy have seven children and four grandchildren.