John E. Sununu (born September 10, 1964) is a United States Senator from New Hampshire. A Republican, he is the son of former Governor of New Hampshire and White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, one of 8 siblings of Irish and Lebanese (Palestinian) Catholic descent, John E. Sununu earned both S.B. and S.M. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987 and an MBA from Harvard University in 1991. After graduating, he worked in the high-tech industry, at one time for the company of Dean Kamen.
First elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1996, he was reelected twice before winning a United States Senate seat from New Hampshire in 2002. Sununu first defeated a Republican incumbent (Bob Smith) in the primary and then Governor (Jeanne Shaheen) in the general election. At age 38, he was at that time the youngest member of the Senate.
While a conservative Republican, Sununu has taken some positions contrary to the Bush administration and the Republican leadership. He voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment and has voted to require child safety locks with the transfer of handguns. He opposes restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba, and was one of only two Republicans to vote in favor of terminating funds for TV Marti, which broadcasts anti-Castro programming in Cuba. He was one of a small group of Republicans to vote in favor of banning loans to China for any nuclear projects, and in September of 2005 he voted to disapprove a new rule set in place by the Administrator of the EPA delisting coal and other energy sources from the Clean Air Act. He was among the group of conservative Republicans to vote against the prescription drug bill passed in 2003.
In July 2005, to show solidarity with Sen. Arlen Specter, who had lost his hair due to chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease, Sununu shaved his head.
He also has become well known as one of the 5 Republican Senators who joined Democrats in a filibuster of the USA PATRIOT Act renewal conference report. This caused the Republican leadership to extend the original legislation until a compromise bill was forged.
In January 2006, at a hearing in front of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on the Broadcast Flag, he was one of the very few present to criticize the legislation. He stated:
In all cases , we didn't need to step in with a significant statutory government-regulated mandate on technology that consumers use to enjoy this material, I don't know of a case where we were discussing such a dramatic step where the federal government will legislatively mandate a specific type of technology to be incorporated in all of this material. Maybe the sky really is falling this time, but I think it is worth suggesting a little bit of skepticism, it's worth offering up a little doubt before we not just entertain this, but jump ahead to what exemptions were required. The very technologies that some seem to be afraid of are driving innovation, and driving creativity as we sit here today. In fact, we have an unprecedented wave of creativity and product development and content development... I think the history of government mandates... is that it always, always restricts innovation. Why would we think this one special time... it will actually encourage innovation?