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Bill Frist

William H. Frist (born February 22, 1952) is the junior Republican Senator from Tennessee and a cardiac surgeon[?]. He enjoys a much closer relationship with the George W. Bush administration than most other senators. On December 23, 2002 he was voted to succeed Trent Lott as Senate Majority Leader.

During his practice, he specialized in heart transplants[?]. Frist has a $20 million fortune, most of it in HCA[?] stock, the for-profit hospital chain founded by his brother and father. From 1997-2002 his primary donors were health professionals ($600,000) and money-management companies ($265K), Federal Express ($30K), Vanderbilt University ($30K), Powell Construction ($25K), and HCA ($25K).

Frist was a member of Nashville's all-white Belle Meade Country Club[?] from the 1980s to December 1993, during his first run for office. His family have long been members.

During that first campaign in 1994, he repeatedly accused his opponent, incumbent Senator Jim Sasser[?], of "sending Tennessee money to Washington, to Marion Barry ... While I've been transplanting lungs and hearts[?] to heal Tennesseans, Jim Sasser has been transplanting Tennesseans' wallets to Washington, home of Marion Barry." During that campaign, he also attacked Sasser for his attempt to become Senate Majority Leader, claiming that his opponent would be spending more time taking care of Senate business than Tennessee business. Once Frist became a candidate for Senate Majority Leader himself, his concerns disappeared.

In 1998 he visited African hospitals and schools with the Christian aid group Samaritan's Purse[?].

He first entered the national spotlight when two Washington police officers were shot outside the United States Capitol. Frist, the closest doctor, provided immediate medical attention. He also was the Congressional spokeman during the 2001 Anthrax attacks[?] and was able to present an informed opinion to the media.

As the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee[?], he helped Republicans win back the Senate in the 2002 midterm elections. His committee collected $66.4 million in soft money for 2001-2002, 50% more than the previous year.

He has been a pilot since the age of 16.

On January 2, 2003, while on vacation, Frist happened upon an SUV crash near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Frist stopped his car and helped the victims of the accident until emergency workers arrived. "It made all the difference; his help was invaluable, he really went above and beyond the call to help," emergency workers said.

Issues His signature issues are AIDS, African poverty[?], health care, bioterrorism, and education.

He is opposed to abortion except in the instances of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened. He is opposed to federal funding of abortion. In the Senate, he led the fight against partial-birth abortion.

Since being elected Senate Majority Leader, his past began to be scrutinized for scandal. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) publicized that Frist had made a practice of fraudulently adopting cats from animal shelters, then experimenting on and killing them while he was a medical student, and they asked him in an open letter to adopt a more animal-friendly agenda in his new position. Frist had admitted to his actions in his book Transplant: A Heart Surgeon's Account of the Life-and-Death Dramas of the New Medicine, calling it "a heinous and dishonest thing to do."

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