Only veterinarian in US Senate not seeking re-election in 2012

Sen John Ensign / AP Photo
Anti-horse slaughter bill sponsor Sen. John Ensign not seeking re-election in 2012. Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

Sen. John Ensign, (R-Nev.), the only veterinarian currently in the United States Senate, stated in a news conference that he wants to shield his family from what likely would be an “exceptionally ugly” campaign. “. . . There are consequences to sin,” Ensign told the press during his resignation speech.

For months, Beltway Republicans have pressured Ensign to resign his post.

Ensign is the subject of a Senate Ethics Committee investigation that revolves around his extramarital affair with a former campaign staff member.

As a political figure, Ensign’s fall from grace is significant considering that prior to his troubles, his name had been bantered about as a possible 2012 presidential candidate.

Ensign graduated from Colorado State University’s veterinary medical program in 1985 and opened a veterinary practice in Las Vegas before entering politics.

He is best to known to horse protection advocates as the sponsor of a series of Senate bills and other legislative pursuits banning horse slaughter for human consumption.

Ensign’s troubles deepened when his close friend and aide, Doug Hampton, left his office when he discovered Ensign was having an affair with his wife, and became a lobbyist. Federal law prohibits high-ranking aides from lobbying the Senate less than a year after ending their position.

It also is believed that Ensign helped Hampton gain clients as a lobbyist, which appears to be a violation of the law. However, according to Washington-based news reports, the Justice Department declined to pursue the matter against Ensign. Hampton pleaded not guilty to charges of violating federal conflict of interest laws related to his job as a lobbyist.

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1 thought on “Only veterinarian in US Senate not seeking re-election in 2012”

  1. It’s a shame; I have admired John Ensign for as long as I can remember, moral and ethical slips notwithstanding. Compared to what passes for ‘leadership’ in the Hallowed Halls, Senator Ensign’s only apparent fault was getting caught.
    Maybe I’m a bit naive; I didn’t think his exploits should have effected his politics to the point where he became persona non grata; so many high offices are held by the Morally Bereft , trading power for policy and calling it ‘in the best interest of the American Public.
    I still admire him and would support his endeavors should he choose to advocate in the private sector. His experiences within the system would be an invaluable aid in navigating whatever drives politicians. Because it certainly ISN’T the will or interests of the People.
    (Ok. Soapbox all done. I’m just sorry to see him go.)


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