|He was born 9th October 1954 in Bunde (Ostfriesland). 1970 he completed secondary education and from 1970 to 1973 attended vocational school. From 1974 to 1975 he worked as sales manager for Rheiderland daily. From 1976 to 1986 he was an employee in the administration and later Chairman of the Works Council of Lebenshilfe, an NGO for the disabled, in Leer. |
1970 he joined the SPD and since 1972 held various party posts, among them: 1979-1987 Vice-chairman and till May 2005 Chairman of the local organization of the SPD in Bunde. He was Vice-Chairman of the SPD organization in Leer and till May 2005 Treasurer of the SPD district Weser/Ems. From 1986 till 1994 he was Press Officer and Managing Director of the SPD Weser/Ems district.
From 1976 to 1991 he was a member and from 1980 to 1991 leader of the SPD group in the Municipal Council Bunde. 1994 he was elected into the German Bundestag, where he was Chairman of the Defence Committee from 2002 to 2005. He is Vice-president of the German-Israeli Association and Vice-president of the German-Atlantic Association.
On 15th April 2005 he was elected Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces by 307 to 276 votes, with 15 abstentions and one invalid vote. He was sworn in and took office on 12th May 2005.