United States Senator and Chairman of the Finance Committee, Lloyd Bentsen (1921-2006) was appointed the 69th Secretary of the Treasury by President Clinton in 1993. A decorated World War II bomber pilot and business leader, Secretary Bentsen began a long and distinguished career of public service by representing south Texas in the House of Representatives for three terms from 1949 to 1955. Subsequently, Bentsen established a successful financial services company in Houston which he sold in 1970 in order to campaign and then win a seat in the United States Senate.
Sec. Lloyd M. Bentsen
Oil on canvas
60 1/8 x 47 3/4 x 2 3/4"
Rising to chair the powerful Finance Committee, Bentsen's Senate record included legislation protecting the pensions of American workers, creating the Individual Retirement Account (IRA), and improving access to health care for low income women and children. In 1988 he was his party's choice for Vice President. called ''the most valuable legislative asset Clinton has," Secretary Bentsen was the Administration's chief spokesman and principal architect for an economic program that witnessed a number of major accomplishments in less than two years. He was a staunch advocate of regaining control over federal finances and a major proponent of President Clinton's plan to reduce the deficit by $500 billion. This deficit reduction plan helped the United States regain credibility and leadership among the other industrialized nations. It also contributed to the recovery of the economy and created over 5 million new jobs during Bentsen's tenure as Secretary.
An advocate of free trade, Bentsen's leadership helped ensure the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which eliminated trade barriers between the United States, Canada and Mexico as well as passage of the global treaty known as the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Bentsen had a major impact in promoting U.S. interests in the international financial institutions and ensured that the Treasury Department was a regular participant in the international summit process. Domestically, Secretary Bentsen also helped push the Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994, which permits interstate branching of banks. He was also a pivotal figure in the passage of the 1994 crime bill, which banned assault rifles. Bentsen believed that "public service is the best way to affect the most lives, hopefully for the better," and often stated publicly that all he wanted said about his record was that "he made a difference."
About the Artist
Peter Egeli was born in Miami, Florida in 1934, the son of Norwegian-American portrait painter Bjorn Egeli. Egeli studied at the Corcoran School of Art, the Art Student's League of New York, George Washington University and the Maryland Institute of Art and has taught drawing at St. Mary's College of Maryland. A life-long resident of the eastern shore of Maryland, Egeli also paints marine life and is a charter member of the American Society of Marine Artists. He is represented in a number of public and private collections. The portrait of Secretary Bentsen was painted at Treasury in 1994.