Richard Douglas (R-MD-Senate)
Richard James Douglas
Richard Douglas Senatorial Candidate Maryland
Biography of Richard Douglas from Douglas for U.S. Senate 2012
Leadership, Courage, and Conservative Principles
Leadership and courage, combined with conservative principles, can move mountains. Working in the Senate for committed conservatives taught me a valuable lesson: when Senators with conservative principles take a stand, others will join them. We need such resolve today.
My parents met at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, and I was born into a U.S. Army family. I have spent most of my life near the Chesapeake Bay, with fond memories of crabbing trips with my younger brother Steve while our father was in Vietnam. I joined our nation’s workforce at age 14.
United States Navy Volunteer: From Submarines to Baghdad
In 1974 I enlisted in the Navy and served on a submarine as a machinist’s mate. The Cold War taught us a simple truth: a strong America is vital. I became a reserve officer in 1992. In 2006 I served in Iraq. I am a Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve.
I left the regular Navy in 1979, married, and went to college on the G.I. Bill. I have a bachelor’s degree, a law degree, and a master’s degree. To pay the bills, I worked at the VA central office in Washington and ran boilers at night at the Hebrew Home in Rockville. I am grateful to the Navy, even today, for teaching me a useful trade to earn a living. I want the same opportunities for all Marylanders.
Staff Counsel at the National Association of Stevedores (Port Operators)
My first job after law school was Staff Counsel for the National Association of Stevedores (“stevedores” hire longshoremen to load or unload ships). I learned that a capable workforce, management unburdened by excessive regulation, and up-to-date port facilities benefit all Marylanders. A modern and efficient Baltimore Port keeps and creates Maryland jobs.
U.S. Foreign Service Officer: Mexico, Spain, Washington D.C.
In 1986, I entered the Foreign Service. The State Department sent me to Juarez, Mexico, where I witnessed daily border violations with direct impact on Maryland. I saw the heyday of the “border assembly” plants, where Mexicans held jobs sent south by U.S. firms because of self-inflicted U.S. trade policy “wounds”. A sad lesson. I earned the State Department’s Superior Honor Award.
In 1998, I began service in, the Spanish Basque port city of Bilbao. Bilbao’s shipyards, ports, and steel mills were closing due to Madrid’s failure to formulate strategic vision for Spain’s economic future. Bilbao was also a front in a regional terrorist movement. Because I speak Spanish and am an experienced lawyer, next I joined the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. There I saw clearly how U.S. treatymaking goals can harm U.S. jobs and businesses. I earned a Meritorious Honor Award for my actions at the Consulate.
United States Department of Justice
In 1998, the Justice Department invited me to work in the Criminal Division, where I oversaw international extraditions involving interaction with police, prosecutors, and INTERPOL.
United States Senate: Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees
After two years at the Justice Department, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee invited me to become its Chief Counsel. I handled treaties and nominations as well as foreign affairs legislation. Later the Senate Intelligence Committee invited me to be its General Counsel, where I participated in reforming Senate intelligence oversight rules. This experience gave me uncommon insight into the internal mechanics of the Senate – including areas where leadership is needed.
9-11 Terrorist Attacks
I was working in the Senate on September 11, 2001. Just days after 9/11, I received Navy mobilization orders and reported to the Pentagon, where I learned first-hand the extent of terrorist penetration in Afghanistan. After returning to the Senate, I helped draft legislation intended to protect our nation from future attacks.
United States Department of Defense
In 2005, the White House offered me an appointment as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. My responsibilities were counter-narcotics and countering the spread of nuclear and chemical weapons. I oversaw a nearly one billion-dollar Pentagon fund which supported Maryland and other state National Guard counter-drug programs, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) overseas programs, and U.S. counter-drug efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Colombia, where I traveled frequently. I had policy oversight of U.S.-Russia weapons decommissioning programs and visited several “military cities” in Russia – valuable reminders of the stark contrasts between the late, unlamented USSR and our nation.
Iraq: Combined Joint Special Ops Task Force – Arabian Peninsula (CJSOTF-AP)
In 2006, I returned to the Navy for duty in Iraq. In Baghdad, I helped the Iraqi Defense Ministry establish a Special Operations headquarters cell, although I am not special operations-designated. Marylanders continue to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan with valor. We must keep their sacrifices firmly in mind until they all come home for good, and we must create conditions to ensure a strong economy and ample jobs for them after they leave our nation’s service. I was honored to receive a Joint Service Commendation Medal.
President and Chief Operating Officer, Ocean Safari Strategies, LLC
In the Pentagon, I served at the pleasure of the President, and so I stepped down when President Obama took office. I continue efforts to support our forces in Southwest Asia with a company I established in Maryland to help transportation and logistics companies work with the Pentagon and other agencies.
The Rest of the Story …
I have lived in Maryland over 25 years and I am blessed with two adult children. Both studied almost entirely in Maryland. My daughter is a University of Maryland journalism graduate and my son, a Duke University graduate, is currently serving in the Navy. In addition to volunteering for the armed forces, over the years I took part in various charitable and volunteer activities. Most significant, I volunteered part-time for nearly five years as a lay chaplain at the District of Columbia Jail. There I worked with French, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking inmates.