Childhood & Early Life:
D’Amato was born in a catholic family in Brooklyn city on August 1, 1937. He then grew up in the small village of Island Park, Long Island. The lad pursued his primary education at the ‘Chaminade High School’.
After high school, he moved to the ‘Syracuse University School of Business Administration’, and was conferred upon a degree from the university in 1959.
He later studied law at the prestigious ‘Syracuse University College of Law’, and graduated in 1961. He was a member of the ‘Alpha Chi Rho’ brotherhood during his tenure at the college. He was avowed into the ‘New York Bar Association’ the very next year.
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Starting out as a Public administrator in the Nassau County, New York, he managed the assets of deceased residents who didn’t leave behind a will. He held the position from 1965 to 1968.
In 1969, he was elected as the tax assessor for the town of Hempstead, New York. He stepped down from this role after two years.
From 1971 to 1977 he held the office as the Town Supervisor in Hempstead. In 1977, he was also elected as the presiding supervisor to oversee the town board meetings.
During the period 1977-80, he was appointed as the Vice- Chairman of the ‘Nassau County Board of Supervisors’.
Despite being a lesser known contender in the primary elections of the ‘Republican Party’ held in the year 1980, D’Amato defeated Senator Jacob Javits by conceding 56% of the total votes. The general elections saw a stiff competition between democratic candidates Javits and Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, which resulted in a divided vote bank. As a result D’Amato won the general elections through the plurality vote by a 1% margin.
He served the Senate for three terms during the period 1981-99. He was re-elected to this position twice, in this time span of almost two decades.
During his tenure through the one hundred fourth and one hundred fifth Congresses (US), he chaired the prominent Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. In due course, he spearheaded the proceedings of the ‘Senate Special Whitewater Committee’ against the involvement of Clinton Administration in the ‘Whitewater Scandal’.
While he was a member of the ‘Senate Finance Committee’, he advocated the rights of the families and heir of the holocaust victims, in reclaiming their assets from ‘Swiss Banks’.
In the aftermath of the ‘Pan Am Flight 103’ sabotage, ‘President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism’, also known as ‘PCAST’ was instituted to review the security policy. D’Amato was a member of the reporting committee.
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Al D’Amato evolved as one of the major influencers in the ‘Grand Old Party’ (GOP). He was the brain behind endorsing the politician George Pataki in the 1994 ‘Gubernatorial Elections’ which witnessed the era of Republican Revolution in the US Senate.
Though a conservative, D’Amato has always been known for his fair opinions. On one hand where he supported his party’s agenda of strict capital punishment for drug offences on the other, he also championed the opposition’s view on gay rights.
The Senator did a cameo in the movie ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ in 1997. He was also seen in a small role in an episode of the sitcom ‘Spin City’.
The 1998 US Senate elections saw D’Amato in contention with Congressman Charles Schumer. Though he was a republican candidate, owing to his different views on gay rights and labour issues, as compared to his party’s conservative stand, the Human Rights Campaign supported his candidacy over Schumer.
He lost the general elections after failing to gain the support of voters from New York City, where the politician Schumer had a stronger foothold. This republican leader accumulated only 44% of the votes. The politician then founded a consulting firm by the name ‘Park Strategies’ in 1999.
After retirement, he was seen recommending Fred Thompson’s candidacy for the President in the 2008 elections but when Thompson’s approach failed to impress, D’Amato expressed his support in favour of Republican John McCain.
He was seen publicly criticizing his Republican colleagues, who voted in favour of not performing background checks for people purchasing guns, in April 2013.
Personal Life & Legacy
This leader first got married to a woman named Penelope in 1960. D’Amato has four children from this relationship. The couple separated after a long marriage of 22 years.
After staying separately for 13 long years, D’Amato and Penelope finally got divorced in 1995.
The year 1995, also saw the release of D’Amato’s book ‘Power, Pasta and Politics’ based on the accounts of his trysts in the political world, was released.
A Poker aficionado, he also chairs the ‘Poker Players Alliance’ which is a non-profit organization in Washington, for safeguarding the rights of online poker players. He even took to promoting the show on a radio show on 20th July, 2009.
After retirement, Al D’Amato married Katuria Elizabeth Smith on 18th July, 2004. The couple has two children.
Alfonso Marcello, their son, was born on 5th February 2008. Their daughter Luciana Cioffari was born a year later. The senator also has five grandchildren.