Lugar manages his family's 604-acre (2.4 km²) Marion County corn, soybean and tree farm. Before entering public life, he helped his brother Tom manage the family's food machinery manufacturing business in Indianapolis.
Lugar ran for the Republican nomination for President in 1996, but his campaign failed to gain traction.
Lugar has been influential in gaining Senate ratification of treaties to reduce the world's use, production and stockpiling of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. In 1991, he initiated a partnership with then-Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn, a fellow Eagle Scout, with the objective of eliminating latent weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. To date, the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program has deactivated more than 5,900 nuclear warheads.
As Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, Lugar built bipartisan support for 1996 federal farm program reforms, ending 1930s-era federal production controls. He worked to initiate a biofuels research program to help increase U.S. dependency on ethanol and combustion fuels, and led initiatives to streamline the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reform the food stamp program, and preserve the federal school lunch program.
Senator Lugar is a member of the board of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).
During the August recess of 2005, Lugar, who was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, went to Russia to inspect nuclear facilities there. He was detained for three hours at an airport in the city of Perm, near the Ural Mountains, where he was scheduled to depart for a meeting with the President and the Speaker of the House of Ukraine. He was released after a brief dialogue between U.S. and Russian officials and the Russians later apologized for this incident.
In April 2006, Lugar was selected by Time as one of America's 10 Best Senators.
As Pete Domenici is retiring and Ted Stevens's reelection campaign is predicted to be unsuccessful, Sen. Lugar may become the President pro tempore of the United States Senate in 2009 if the Republican party gains a majority in the 2008 elections.
Lugar was opposed by Steve Osborn, a Libertarian candidate in the 2006 election. The Democratic Party did not field a candidate. Lugar won the election with 87% of the vote, the highest percentage of the 2006 senate elections despite a Democratic take-over of Washington.
Lugar's blunt assessment has been viewed as significant in that it shows the growing impatience and dissatisfaction with President Bush's strategy in Iraq. Lugar's speech had particular resonance given his stature as one of the party's elder statesmen on foreign policy. After Lugar finished his remarks, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), a sharp critic of the war, praised Lugar's "thoughtful, sincere and honest" speech, which Durbin said was in "finest tradition of the U.S. Senate." Durbin urged his Senate colleagues to take a copy of Lugar's speech home over the Fourth of July break and study it before returning to work. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, in reaction to Lugar's speech: "When this war comes to an end, and it will come to an end, and the history books are written, and they will be written, I believe that Sen. Lugar's words yesterday could be remembered as a turning point in this intractable civil war in Iraq.
Two days later, on June 27, 2007, Lugar said that Congressional measures aimed at curtailing U.S. military involvement in Iraq, including "so-called timetables, benchmarks," have "no particular legal consequence," are "very partisan," and "will not work.
Interview: Richard Lugar and Bob Bennett discuss Republican senatorial points of view in the debate about Iraq
Sep 05, 2002; 00-00-0000 Interview: Richard Lugar and Bob Bennett discuss Republican senatorial points of view in the debate about Iraq Host:...