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Reps. Peter Visclosky and David Hobson Voted "Arms Control Person of the Year"
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Online Poll Recognizes Their Efforts to Zero-Out Funding for a Controversial New Nuclear Warhead Program

For Immediate Release: January 7, 2008
Press Contact: Wade Boese, Research Director (202) 463-8270 x104

(Washington, D.C.) Beating out nine other individuals or institutions, U.S. Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) garnered the highest number of votes in an online poll to determine the “2007 Arms Control Person of the Year.”

Visclosky chairs the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee and Hobson is the ranking Republican on the subcommittee, which is responsible for funding decisions relating to U.S. nuclear weapons research, development, and dismantlement programs. Due largely to their efforts, Congress rejected the Bush administration’s proposal to fund research on a new, so-called “replacement” warhead.

“In a business that has its ups and downs, we wanted to help accentuate the positive contributions of key figures around the globe over the past year in reducing the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons,” said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, which conducted the online poll.

“Representatives Visclosky and Hobson have certainly exercised good leadership and common sense in saying ‘no’ to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s $89 million funding request for this unnecessary and provocative nuclear weapons proposal,” Kimball added. See <http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_09/LawmakersKnock.asp> for more on the subject.

Tied for second place were U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Christopher Hill, and Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. Hill was nominated for his key role in “negotiating and keeping on track the plan to implement the six-party agreement on the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” See <http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_03/NKPact.asp> for more details.

Støre was nominated for spearheading Norway’s initiative to negotiate a treaty banning cluster munitions, which have produced tens of thousands of casualties and fatalities in conflicts around the world, many of them involving civilians long after combat has officially ceased. See <http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_07-08/Cluster.asp>.

“Thanks to our many online readers and friends in the arms control and nonproliferation blogosphere for making this first-ever ‘person of the year’ poll a success,” Kimball said.

The online poll was open between Dec. 20-31, 2007. More than 620 individuals cast votes over the period. For the list of all 2007 nominees, see below. 

Nominees for the 2007 Arms Control Person of the Year:

Jonas Gahr Støre, Foreign Minister of Norway for spearheading his government's initiative to negotiate a treaty banning cluster munitions after the failure of states to agree to such talks at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 2006.

Representatives Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) for leading the House of Representatives and Congress to zero out funding for the controversial Reliable Replacement Warhead program.

Prakash Karat, General Secretary of India's Communist Party and his left parties allies for slowing progress on the implementation of the U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation deal.

Former Secretaries of State George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, and former Sen. Sam Nunn for their catalytic January 2007 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal calling for renewed U.S. leadership on practical steps "toward a world free of nuclear weapons."

Christopher Hill, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, for negotiating and keeping on track the plan to implement the six-party agreement on the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Margaret Beckett, former U.K. Sec. of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, for her June 2007 speech calling for renewed action on key nuclear disarmament steps, including the CTBT, deeper nuclear reductions, and more, as a means to strengthen global nonproliferation efforts.

Jan Neoral, the mayor of the Czech village of Trokavec, whose residents voted 71 - 1 against deployment of a U.S. strategic missile defense radar in their town.

Phil Goff, New Zealand's Disarmament and Arms Control Minister, for his leadership on a nonbinding UN resolution calling on nuclear-armed states to lessen the alert level of their deployed weapons, which won the support of 124 countries despite U.S., British, and French opposition.

Lulzim Basha, Albanian Foreign Minister, for helping his country become the first to verifiably destroy its chemical weapons stockpile as part of its commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Scottish Parliament for their June 14 vote in opposition of the U.K. government's replacement of the existent Trident nuclear-armed submarine system.

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Posted: January 7, 2008