Duncan Hunter was born May 31, 1948 in Riverside, California. He graduated from Rubidoux High School in 1966. He first attended the University of Montana for a year, then transferred to the University of California at Santa Barbara, before enlisting in the United States Army in 1969. This would lead him to serve in the Vietnam War until 1971. In the military, he took part in 24 helicopter assaults, held the rank of First Lieutenant, and was awarded with the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, and Vietnam Service Medal.
Through this military service, he was later able to utilize the G. I. bill to attend the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, from which he earned a Bachelor of Science in Law and his Juris Doctor in 1976. He was admitted to the State Bar of California that same year, and opened his own storefront legal service, from which he supplied low-cost and even pro bono work for the Hispanic community.
His entry into politics was when he was recruited to run for a seat in California’s 52nd congressional district of the House of Representatives. He was elected to this position in 1980. Even though running as a Republican, he gained phenomenal support from a Democratic base and won favor with both the Hispanic and Caucasian communities in his district ever since. He has remained in his Congressional seat, and has only recently announced that he will not seek the office further in 2007.
Duncan Hunter has served as the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee since 2002. From there, he has made some micromanaging decisions regarding women in the military and intelligence funding, as well as military spending. He has stated that in his view, our government’s “highest obligation is owed to our forces in uniform, especially during this time of war.”, and has been critical of colleagues and measures which fall short of this mark. He has also been an outspoken advocate of aerospace defense funding, calling on the Department of Defense to expedite actions to test and adopt new defensive weapons.
In 2005, he introduced the Right to Life Act, a move against abortion rights. He introduced the Parents Empowerment Act in 2004, which would empower parents and guardians to sue any individual who exposes their charge to pornography. He also mandated more border security fencing between San Diego County and Tijuana; this legislation was later included with the Secure Fence Act.
He has actively opposed international trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO.
He has also created the Peace Through Strength political action committee, which advocates that international peace is only possible through military strength, much similar to how foreign policy was under the Cold War.
In 2006, Duncan Hunter announced his candidacy to run for the office of United States President in 2008. His campaign has gotten off to a rather ragged run, however, but there may be a second possible office in his future, as another candidate, Mike Huckabee, has mentioned that Hunter would be good to fill in a position as Secretary of Defense in his cabinet.
Duncan Hunter is a political curiosity. While remaining a very central Conservative Republican, he has consistently kept in touch with a Democratic voting base in his district and has won support from both sides of the party fence in ways that almost cannot be explained. Part of it may be his working-class roots and his military service. He can count on the votes from the military and defense contract base, as well as the wealthy industries around the perimeter of the military.