Al Gore – Former Vice President of the United States

by Kristine Bigcas

Albert Arnold Gore Jr., popularly known as Al Gore, is the former 45th Vice President of the United States of America.

He is also an active environmentalist and the author of the award-winning book and documentary An Inconvenient Truth. His good works have earned him different awards, making him more prominent to the public. Aside from that, he also was a military man who served in the Vietnam War before becoming a long term politician under the Democratic Party.

He represented the Democrats in the 2000 Presidential Elections against George W. Bush which was one of the closest presidential race in national history.

As an individual, he co-founded the investment management firm Generation Investment Management and the network Current TV, which he and his partner sold to Al Jazeera. He serves on the Board of Directors for Apple and the World Resources Institute. He also shares his knowledge as a visiting professor at multiple universities in America. On top of that, he also does the work of a senior adviser in Google and is one of the partners in Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers.

 

Early Life of Al Gore

Al Gore was born in Washington D.C. on March 31, 1948. He was named as a junior to his father. His roots come from immigrants with Scots-Irish ancestry.

During his younger years, he stayed in The Fairfax Hotel in Washington D.C. during school days and stayed in Carthage, Tennesse during summers. He worked in their farm growing hay to be fed to the cattle he raised as well as tobacco.

For his studies, he attended St. Albans School from 1956 up to his graduation in 1965. St. Albans School is a prominent boarding school for boys and a prominent school for any Ivy League.

While in school, Al Gore was active in sports. He was a part of the track and field team that threw discuss. He also captained the school’s football team. At the same time, he was also involved in basketball among other extra curricular activities.

With all his work in school, he graduated 25th out of 51 students.

He studied at Harvard University during college, taking up a major in government. He won the presidential position for the student government council after campaigning since his second day on campus. Despite his positive involvement in school, Al Gore remained to be a part of the one-fifth of the class who were in the lower rank.

In fact, it is said that he spent most of his second year in school watching television, playing pool, and smoking marijuana.

It wasn’t until he reached his last two years in college that he started being more dedicated to his studies, earning A’s and B’s. One notable grade of Al Gore was his A for his thesis “The Impact of Television on the Conduct of the Presidency, 1947–1969.”

While in college, he helped write an anti-war address for his father that Al Gore Sr. used during the Democratic National Convention of 1968. He graduated Cum Laude in June 1969 with a degree in Bachelor of Arts.

 

Family and Relatives of Al Gore

His immigrant ancestors from his paternal side first settled in Virginia before moving to Tennessee after the American Revolutionary War. Both his parents grew up in Tennessee and met at the Andrew Jackson Hotel. His parents got married in Tenessee on April 17, 1937.

Father: Al Gore Sr.

Albert Arnold Sr. is the father of Al Gore Jr. and a former U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party.

He was born on December 26, 1907, in Granville, Tennessee. He is the third child of Margie Betty and Allen Arnold Gore. He studied at Middle Tennessee State Teachers College before proceeding to Nashville Y.M.C.A Night Law School. He was appointed as the superintendent of schools when he was only 24 years old. He was also the Tenessee Department of Labor for a year before getting elected to the 76th U.S. Congress in 1938.

His service in the Congress lasted until his resignation on December 04, 1944. He then joined the U.S. Army before getting back in politics.

In 1952, Al Gore Sr. was elected for a senate seat, defeating Kenneth McKellar. He was appointed as the Chairman of the Special Committee. He also made his stand in 1956 when he did not sign the 1956 Southern Manifesto. He strongly opposed the Vietnam war among other legislations during his two terms.

He lost the 1970 election. Had he been elected, Al Gore Sr. would have served his third term.

Post politics, Al Gore Sr. got himself involved in business while practicing law. He represented Occidental Petroleum as one of the boards of directors and as the vice president. He was also the chairman of its subsidiary, the Island Creek Coal Co.

Aside from that, he also taught law at Vanderbilt University and managed the Gore Antique Mall in Carthage. He died on December 05, 1998, and his remains were peacefully buried in Smith County Memorial Gardens.

In his honor, the Interstate 65 in Tennessee is named  The Albert Arnold Gore Sr. Memorial Highway.

 

Mother: Pauline LaFon Gore

Pauline LaFone Gore was born on October 06, 1912, and was raised in Palmersville, Tenessee. She is the wife of Al Gore Sr. and the mother of Al Gore Jr.

One of her personal successes is being one of the first female graduates of the prestigious Vanderbilt University. She is the child of Maude Gatlin and Walter L. Lafon. Their family moved to Jacksonville still in Tenessee after the injury of her father. Pauline studied at Union University from 1931 to 1933 before taking a break. She then completed her education a few years later after she was given an honorary degree.

She then became the 10th female graduate of Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University Law School.

She was one of the first women practitioners in the field of oil and gas law as well as divorce law.

She first practiced in Texarkana, Arkansas before moving back to Tenessee. Throughout Al Gore Sr’s service in the Congress and the Senate, Pauline continuously supported him. She spoke in clubs and became his active adviser. Following Al Gore Sr’s retirement in politics, they then established a joint firm. She later became the managing partner of Peabody, Rivlin, Gore, Claudous and Brashares.

During Al Gore Jr’s electoral campaign, she actively campaigned for him as well just like how she did during her husband’s campaigns.

Her health declined through the years suffering a mild stroke in 1993 and a heart attack in 1995. Nevertheless, she received the Humanitarian Award in 1998 and the honor of being a Vanderbilt Distinguished Alumna for the year in 1999.

She also established an organization that provides support in form of a scholarship fund for the residents of Smith County in Tenessee that allowed the poor to pursue a degree in college.

She died on December 15, 2004. A private funeral service was held at the Methodist Church before she a private interment at the Smith County Memorial Gardens where her husband and daughter were also buried.

Sibling: Nancy LaFon Gore

The eldest of the Gore family was born on January 23, 1938. She is ten years older than Al Gore Jr. There is less known information about her since she has decided to stay in private despite her family’s fame. She served as a close adviser to her brother.

Her health slowly weakened when she battled lung cancer for two years. Growing up in their tobacco business and smoking since she was a teenager have contributed to her sickness. After her death, her family had stopped their tobacco business.

Life in the Military

After his graduation in Harvard, Al Gore enlisted himself in the U.S. Army in August 1969 as a way of supporting his father’s anti-war stand during the senatorial campaign.

He joined his father in one of his commercials while wearing his uniform. His housemate in Harvard, Tommy Lee Jones, said that “If he found a fancy way of not going, someone else would have to go in his place” in regards to Al Gore’s decision of joining the army. His first training was at Fort Dix and was assigned in Fort Rucker as a journalist.

He was finally deployed to Vietnam on January 02, 1971 after his deployment being pushed back a couple of times. He was stationed at the 20th Engineer Brigade in Bien Hoa and was honorably discharged in May of 1971.

He remained a private throughout his service in the army.

Political Career

Before beginning his career in the U.S. Congress, Al Gore attended Vanderbilt University Divinity School with a Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship.

He also worked as an investigative reporter at nights for The Tennessean. He investigated the corruption in Nashville’s Metro Council that lead to the prosecution of two councilmen. After which, he enrolled in Vanderbilt University Law School in 1974, the same school that his mother attended, and took a leave of absence at The Tennessean.

However, he decided to discontinue his studies of law in order to run for the Congress after the former set of Al Gore Sr. was to be vacated by Joe L. Elvin’s retirement.

He was a member of the Energy and Commerce and the Science and Technology committees of the Congress as well as the House Intelligence committee.

He also expressed his opinion regarding homosexuality. He was quoted saying “I don’t pretend to understand it, but it is not just another normal optional life style” and even said that homosexuality is wrong. He remained strong with his stand even during his campaign for the Senate in 1984 and did not accept funds coming from gay rights groups. However, he had a change of heart in 2008 and said that “gay men and women ought to have the same rights as heterosexual men and women…to join together in marriage.”

He worked as a U.S. Senator from January 03, 1985 to January 02, 1993. During his time as a senator, he passed the Supercomputer Network Study Act of 1986. He also focused on various technological advancements.

He became the 45th Vice President of the United States of America on January 20, 1993. His tandem with Clinton gained many nicknames, including “Baby Boomer Ticket” and “The Fortysomething Team.” He was elected when he was only 44 years old while his Presidential partner, Bill Clinton was 45. They both were the “youngest team to make it to the White House in the country’s history.”

Throughout his term as a Vice President, Al Gore has continued his campaigns for environmental concerns.

Al Gore ran for The Presidency in 2000 against the Republican representative George W. Bush but lost by a very close margin. He had won the popular votes but lost in the electoral congress. A recount was requested for the state of Florida and had the results of 5-4 in favor of George W. Bush.

Al Gore conceded on December 13, 2000, saying “for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”

Other Works

He wrote his first book Earth in Balance and published it in 1992. He also wrote the documentary An Inconvenient Truth that premiered at the 2006 Sundance Festival on May 24, 2006. He won an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2007 and a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2009 for his book  An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It.

Personal Life

Al Gore was once married to Tipper Gore and they had four children together before mutually separating after almost 41 years of marriage.

Wife: Tipper Gore

Back in 1965, during his senior prom, Al Gore met Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson from St. Agnes School. She was born on August 19, 1948, in Washington D.C. She is an author, photographer, social issues advocate, and the former Second Lady of the United States of America. She is the daughter of plumbing entrepreneur John Kenneth Aitcheson Jr. and Margaret Ann Carlson Odom. She grew up in Arlington, Virginia after her parent’s divorce.

She was also active in sports like Al Gore. She played ball games like softball and basketball as well as field hockey. She is also a member of “The Wildcats” and an all-girl band that was formed while she was still in St. Agnes School.

She first studied at Garland Junior College in Boston before transferring to Boston University. She finished her undergraduate studies in 1970, receiving a degree in Psychology. She then finished her master’s degree in psychology at George Peabody College, an affiliate of Vanderbilt University in 1975.

She and Al Gore started dating immediately after meeting for the first time in 1965 and got married as soon as she graduated from college. The couple’s union happened at the Washington National Cathedral on May 19, 1970. They have four children: Karenna Gore Schiff, Kristin Gore, Sarah Gore Maiani, and Albert Gore III.

The couple announced in June of 2010 about their separation. In a joint statement, they said that they have “a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration.”

Son’s Accident in 1989

Al Gore’s “key moment in his life” is his son’s accident in 1989. Young Albert was hit by a car after crossing the street just when the Gore family finished watching a baseball game. Recalling the accident, Al Gore said that the “ran to his side and held him and called his name, but he was motionless, limp and still, without breath or pulse[…]. His eyes were open with the nothingness stare of death, and we prayed, the two of us, there in the gutter, with only my voice.” This event leads him to decide against running for the presidency in 1992.

Net Worth

As of 2017, Al Gore’s estimated net worth totals to $200 million.