Despite his relatively short political career, Barack Obama has earned himself a place in the spotlight with his record of bipartisanship and focus on meeting the needs of American working families. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii on 4 August 1961, Barack's parents divorced at the age of two, and he was then sent to live with his mother's parents in the midwest. Although there have been rumors that Barack Obama was raised as a Muslim, he has repeatedly stated that he had a non-religious upbringing and did not become a Christian until his late twenties.
Barack Obama had a difficult childhood and admits to experimenting with cocaine and marijuana when he was a teenager in an attempt to cope with conflicting feelings about his multi-racial heritage. Despite his troubles, however, he remained an exceptionally ambitious student. He earned his B.A. in political science with an international relations focus from Columbia University. He later received national recognition for being the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review .
In 1996, Barack Obama was elected to Illinois' State Senate. During his time in office, he worked on initiatives to benefit low-income families, increase funding for the prevention of AIDS, and provide affordable access to healthcare. He became well known for his ability to work successfully with members of both the Democratic and Republican parties while avoiding the partisanship that was rather commonplace.
In 2004, Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate, making him the fifth African-American Senator in U.S. history. To fulfill one of his campaign promises, the first bill he sponsored was the Higher Education Opportunity through the Pell Grant Expansion Act. Unfortunately, the bill failed to progress beyond the committee stage. Barack later became a member of the Senate committees for Foreign Relations; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; and Veterans' Affairs.
In 2009, Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States with Joseph Biden as his Vice President. Obama also earned the distinction of being the first African American President.
Outside of his extensive political accomplishments, Barack Obama is also the author of several books. His 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father provides a detailed account of his early career. The Audacity of Hope , published in 2006, describes his political convictions. He is also currently working on a children’s book with his wife and daughters—a project that will have all proceeds donated to charity.