Howard Henry Baker Jr. (November 15, 1925 – June 26, 2014) was an American politician and diplomat who served as a United States Senator from Tennessee from 1967 to 1985. During his tenure, he rose to the rank of Senate Minority Leader and then Senate Majority Leader. A member of the Republican Party, Baker was the first Republican to be elected to the US Senate in Tennessee since the Reconstruction era.
Known in Washington, D.C., as the “Great Conciliator”, Baker was often regarded as one of the most successful senators in terms of brokering compromises, enacting legislation, and maintaining civility. For example, he had a lead role in the fashioning and passing of the Clean Air Act of 1970 with Democratic senator Edmund Muskie. A moderate conservative, he was also respected by his Democratic colleagues.Baker sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 but dropped out after the first set of primaries. From 1987 to 1988, he served as White House Chief of Staff for President Ronald Reagan. From 2001 to 2005, he was the United States Ambassador to Japan.