U.S. Senator from Indiana, 1977-2012
Lugar’s first elective office was on the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of Commissioners, where he served from 1964 until 1967, when he ran successfully for mayor of Indianapolis. During his two mayoral terms he oversaw the groundbreaking merger of city and county government into Uni-Gov, which laid the groundwork for the emergence of Indianapolis as a viable and vibrant city.
In 1976 Lugar defeated incumbent Senator Vance Hartke to begin his tenure as the longest-serving U.S. Senator from Indiana. He was prominent in developing agricultural and urban policy and was particularly committed to work in foreign policy, including his long-term and ongoing work with former Senator Sam Nunn in the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, passed by Congress under their stewardship in 1991 to reduce nuclear weapons and material throughout the world.
In his bid for reelection in 2012, Lugar was defeated in the Republican primary by State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who subsequently lost the election to Democrat Joe Donnelly.
Lugar’s work outside of Congress includes the Richard G. Lugar Program in Politics and Public Service established in 1994 at Denison University, on the Board of Trustees of which he has served since 1966; the Lugar Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders, now known as the Richard G. Lugar Academy, established in 1977 at the University of Indianapolis; and the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy established in 2007 at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. In January 2013 he joined the faculty of Indiana University-Bloomington as Professor of Practice in the new School of Global and International Studies.
Lugar served throughout his Senate career on the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, as chair of the full committee from 1995-2000 and of the Subcommittee on Agricultural Research and General Legislation from 1981-1984. He served on the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs from 1977-1982, chairing the Subcommittee on Securities in 1981-1982. He served on the Select Committee on Intelligence from 1977-1984 and again from 1993-2002, chairing the Subcommittee on Analysis and Production from 1981-1984. His tenure on the Committee on Foreign Relations began in 1979 and continued until he left the Senate, serving as chair in 1985-1986 and 2003-2006, ranking member from 1995-2000, and ranking minority member from 2007-2012. He also chaired the Subcommittee on European Affairs from 1981-1984 and 1995-1996, serving as ranking minority member from 1991-992 and ranking minority member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and Peace Corps Affairs from 1989-1992.