Larry Lee Pressler (born March 29, 1942) is a U.S. Republican politician. He was the first Vietnam veteran to be elected to the United States Senate.
Born in Humboldt, South Dakota, Pressler is a graduate of the University of South Dakota, Oxford University (as a Rhodes Scholar), the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Harvard Law School. He became a lawyer, and then served in the Vietnam War in the United States Army from 1966 until 1968. After serving for several years in the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer he was elected to the House of Representatives from 1975 to 1979. He was a Senator from South Dakota from 1979 to 1997, and was chairman of the Commerce Committee from 1995 to 1997.
In his first year as chairman of the Commerce Committee, Pressler authored and won overwhelming congressional and presidential approval of a sweeping reform of telecommunications legislations—the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Given the hostility of the powerful stakeholders in the communications and media industries, this law would probably not have happened but for Senator Pressler's long-time efforts, supported also by Sen. Fritz Hollings of South Carolina, the ranking Democratic Senator. Pressler negotiated the compromises that gained the support of diverse industry groups in telecom, broadcasting, and cable TV, as well as of the Bill Clinton White House, state utility commissions, and public morality advocates. Only 5 Senators (including Sen. John McCain) and 20 Representatives voted against the law. The impact of the Act was felt immediately. Major firms sought new alliances, and consolidated into often larger entities.