20 February 2017

Benoit Hamon's Biography

 (Breton coat of arms courtesy of Wikipedia)

I was born June 26, 1967 at Saint Renan in the Léon north of Brest.  Through childhood and adolescence I lived between Brest, Le Kremlin-Bicetre, and Dakar (Senegal).  I am the oldest in a family of four children.

My origins are entirely Breton:  on my mother's side I stem from Saint Renan and Saint Pabu, on my father's side Plougastel-Daoulas.  My father worked all his life at the Brest arsenal; my mother alternated periods of homemaking and different secretarial jobs.

I've adhered to the Socialist Party since January 1987, in the wake of the student demonstrations against the planned Devaquet law which would introduce ability to pay as a criterion for university admissions.  I became President of the Young Socialists' Movement in 1993; four years later, I joined the cabinet of Martine Aubry, Minister of Labor and Solidarity and was tasked with the youth jobs portfolio.  Following this I chose to work in the private sector, joining Ipsos France under the leadership of Jean Marc Lech and Didier Truchot.

From 2004 to 2009, I was an MEP and leader of the European socialist group.  I served on the commission for economic and monetary affairs and became vice-president of the delegation for relations with the USA.  Notably, I authored two important reports, one on the strategic revisioning of the IMF and the other on the struggle against tax shelters* and secrecy in banking.

At the party congress of Reims (November 2008), I moved the motion titled A world to win:  rebuilding hope on the left.  As candidate for the position of First Secretary, I obtained 22.6% of the vote.  I was a spokesperson for the Socialist Party from 2008 to 2012.

In 2009, I rejoined the company that I had co-founded several years earlier, and taught at the University of Paris 8 as an associate professor:  my subjects were the functioning of multilateral organizations and decision-making in the European Union.
Having settled at Trappes in Yvelines, I was elected Representative for the 11th district of Yvelines in June 2012.

I was named Minister for the Social Economy and Consumption in the government of Jean Marc Ayrault.  I drafted a proposed law on the social economy that recognized for the first time economic models and the specificity of enterprises in the [ESS].  I was furthermore instrumental in a bill on consumption (which came to a vote) putting tools in place to re-balance power between consumers and firms.  This law instituted a class-action procedure**.

In March 2014, I was elected municipal councilperson in Trappes.

On April 2, 2014, I was named Minister of National Education, Advanced Teaching, and Research in the first Valls government.  I completed the reform of school hours and negotiated the triennial budget, which preserves and reinforces the upkeep of schools, universities, and research through 2017.  I began reform of the student evaluation process.  I left the government in August 2014, demanding a change in the government's economic policy so that we could more effectively fight unemployment and inequalities.

I again took up my mandate as Representative in the National Assembly in September 2014, and integrated the Commission on Foreign Affairs#.  I was at the forefront of the resolution in favor of recognizing the State of Palestine, passed on December 2, 2014 (339 yes, 151 no).  At the start of 2015, I opposed the Macron law, which pushed the government to invoke article 49–3.  I militated for the recognition of "burnout" as a professional illness and, in July 2015, successfully advanced the Rebsamen bill on social dialogue and jobs.  In December 2015, I stood against amending the constitution to allow forfeiture of nationality for dual citizens, a move that was eventually abandoned.

In the first half of 2016, I rejected the labor law change proposed by the government and called for a real negotiation with trade unions.  I was particularly opposed to the reversal of the hierarchy of standards, which will erode compensation for overtime hours; therefore, I twice signed a motion of censure in violation of article 49-3 of the Constitution.

I'm the father of two daughters.

I'm a member of the National Assembly rugby fifteen.

*The French phrase is "paradis fiscaux," literally 'tax heavens.'
**I'm pretty shaky on this paragraph.  I have no idea what the ESS (French acronym) is, and as for the last sentence, "action de groupe" is pretty vague.
#"J'intègre la commission..." Not sure what to make of this.

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