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A native South Carolinian, Graham grew up in Central, graduated from D.W. Daniel High School, and earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Graham logged six-and-a-half years of service on active duty as an Air Force lawyer. From 1984-1988, he was assigned overseas and served at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in Germany. Upon leaving the active duty Air Force in 1989, Graham joined the South Carolina Air National Guard where he served until his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994. During the first Gulf War, Graham was called to active duty and served state-side at McEntire Air National Guard Base as Staff Judge Advocate where he prepared members for deployment to the Gulf region. His duties included briefing pilots on the law of armed conflict, preparing legal documents for deploying troops, and providing legal services for family members of the South Carolina Air National Guard. He received a commendation medal for his service at McEntire. Since 1995, Graham has continued to serve his country in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and is one of only three U.S. Senators currently serving in the Guard or Reserves. He is a colonel and is assigned as a Senior Instructor at the Air Force JAG School. In 1988, Graham went into private law practice and in 1992 was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. In 1994, he became the first Republican to represent South Carolina's Third Congressional District in Washington since 1877. Graham is known as a leader who never abandons his independence or strays from the conservative reform agenda. He has fought to balance the federal budget, provide tax relief to all taxpayers, keep our military adequately funded and prepared, return control of education back to parents and teachers, and ensure the government keeps its promises to America's greatest generation. Graham lives in Seneca and is a member of Corinth Baptist Church. He serves on five committees in the U.S. Senate: Appropriations, Armed Services, Aging, Budget and Judiciary.