ERSKINE BOWLES Biography - Polititians


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Name: Erskine Boyce Bowles                                                           
Born: 8 August 1945                                                                   
Erskine Boyce Bowles (born August 8, 1945) is an American businessman and             
political figure from North Carolina. He currently serves as the president of         
the University of North Carolina system. In 1997-98 he served as White House         
Chief of Staff and he also ran unsuccessfully for a North Carolina United States     
Senate seat in 2002 and 2004.                                                         
Bowles was born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina and was the son of           
Skipper Bowles, a Democratic politician. Bowles graduated from Virginia               
Episcopal School before attending college. Bowles matriculated at the University     
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was admitted to the Zeta Psi               
fraternity and graduated with a business degree. After briefly serving in the         
United States Coast Guard, Bowles then enrolled in the Columbia Business School,     
where he earned an M.B.A. and served as Student Body President.                       
Following graduation, Bowles worked for the financial firm Morgan Stanley in New     
York City. There, he met his wife, Crandall Close; the two married in 1971 and       
moved to North Carolina, where Bowles worked on his father's 1972 gubernatorial       
campaign. Crandall and Erskine have three children: Sam, Annie, and Bill. In         
1975, Bowles helped launch the investment firm of Bowles Hollowell Conner, and       
remained in the corporate sector until the 1990s.                                     
In 1992, he became more involved in politics as a fundraiser for Bill Clinton's       
1992 presidential campaign. President Clinton appointed Bowles to head the Small     
Business Administration in 1993. From October 1994 to December 1995, Bowles           
served as Clinton's deputy White House chief of staff, in the first-term of the       
Clinton Administration.                                                               
After briefly returning to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he helped found the       
merchant bank Carousel Capital, Bowles was appointed Clinton's Chief of Staff in     
December 1996. One of Bowles's major responsibilities was dealing with federal       
budget negotiations between the White House and Congress. Bowles returned to         
Charlotte, North Carolina and to the field of finance again in October 1998. He       
was also asked by North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt to head a task force on rural         
economic prosperity.                                                                 
Although initially reluctant to seek political office, Bowles reconsidered a run     
for the Senate after the September 11, 2001 attacks and, in October 2001,             
declared his candidacy for the United States Senate as a Democratic candidate.       
Seeking to fill the seat being vacated by Jesse Helms, Bowles secured the party's     
nomination, but was defeated in the 2002 general election by Republican               
challenger Elizabeth Dole.                                                           
In 2004, Bowles campaigned again for the Senate, seeking to fill the seat being       
vacated by fellow Democrat John Edwards. He faced Republican Richard Burr and         
Libertarian Tom Bailey in a hotly contested race. The final month of the Senate       
campaign saw both Bowles's and Burr's campaigns turn strongly negative, with         
Burr's campaign attacking Bowles's associations with the Clinton administration,     
while Bowles's campaign attacked Burr on his support of trade legislation and         
special interest donations. Both campaigns spent a great deal of money, making       
it one of the most expensive statewide races in North Carolina history.               
Despite an early lead in the polls after the primaries, as well as fellow             
Democrat Mike Easley running for a second term as governor at the top of the         
state party ticket, Bowles was defeated in the 2004 race as well. President Bush's   
comfortable electoral victory in North Carolina likely helped Burr considerably.     
During his concession speech in Raleigh at the Democratic headquarters, he           
thanked his supporters but seemed to indicate that he would not run for office       
again. Quoting his father, he said there were "many ways to add to the community     
woodpile" and that political office was only one of them. Accordingly, in 2005       
Bowles accepted an appointment as U.N. Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami-affected     
Countries, once again working for Bill Clinton who was now serving as U.N.           
Special Envoy.                                                                       
On October 3, 2005, Bowles was elected by the University of North Carolina's         
Board of Governors to succeed Molly Corbett Broad as President of the system,         
even though some suggest that the Board of Governors broke the law in not             
holding public hearings in the hiring process.                                       
Bowles is also a member of the board of directors of General Motors, Morgan           
Stanley, and North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and serves on the           
North Carolina Advisory Board of DonorsChoose.