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Lionel Halvidar (The Second Renaissance)

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Lionel "Leo" Halvidar (born March 3, 1991) is the 65th and current President of the United States, and the first colonial to hold the office. Halvidar led the United States through its Second Civil War and Third Mexican-American War. Born in Freemont, California, Halvidar spent his early days as a relatively unknown engineer, leaving for the Martian frontier in 2026, and spending much of the century leading the terraforming effort on Mars. Halvidar was a founder of the Interplanetary Trade Commission, a Union Party leader, Resident Commissioner to Congress during the 2110s, and the longest serving Chairman of the ITC. He advocated for the integration of the colonies into the Union; he promoted the modernization of the economy by adopting the Quantum Economic Model and constructing a global transit network; he opposed the mass deportations of resident aliens from the Southwest in the 2080s. Halvidar was a longtime advocate against Mexican political influence in the Southwestern States, and consistently pushed for full integration of the colonies into the Union. Halvidar, a moderate from a colonial territory, secured the Union Party presidential nomination in 2132. With very little support in the Border States, Halvidar swept the rest of the country and was elected president in 2132. His election prompted five Border states to form Aztlan before he took the office. No compromise or reconciliation was found regarding secession.

Astronaut Career

Halvidar left for Mars in 2026 where he began to make a name for himself as an explorer and terraforming engineer. He moved up the ranks of the Mars Corporation and was the first to put forth a plan for a planetary transit network for Mars, which was eventually adopted by 2037. In 2036, Halvidar left Mars for the Saturn system to supervise the construction of the Gondor colony on Titan. While on Titan, Halvidar attended and came to author the Huygens Agreement of 2039 between the Mars Corporation and Galileo Development that would bind the inner and outer system's colonies under a single market, and ensure Nitrogen from Titan would provide the buffer atmosphere for Mars.

In 2042 Halvidar formed Trident Industries and left for Triton where he organized the construction of the largest Helium-3 mining operation in the system. He also organized the paraterraforming effort on Triton, working with Titan to jointly develop a solar heating network throughout the system. Halvidar remained at Triton until 2049 when he returned to Earth for a long overdue sabbatical, having been exposed to high levels of radiation and micro-gravity for over 20 years. At the age of 58, Halvidar received his first artificial body and remained on Earth for a medically mandated 10 years, where he worked as a member of the Earth Working group.

Halvidar remained on Earth after the technical end of his sabbatical to work with NASA on the Prometheus project. Halvidar, as head of Trident Industries and a respected elder of the Space Industry, helped organize the in orbit construction and supply of materials to the Prometheus. He remained at NASA for much of the 2060s and even left the system as captain of the W-A Drive ship Intrepid. After five years in the Alpha Centauri system as commander of a terraforming team, Halvidar returned to Mars and announced his retirement from space exploration at the age of 86.

Founding of the ITC

Lionel Halvidar founded the Interplanetary Trade Commission with the other leaders of the Mars Corporation and the great NGOs of the system after Galileo Development's President, Adrian Hayer orchestrated the purchase of 35% of MarsCorp's holdings, in exchange for long term trade between the colonies. In a sign of solidarity, Halvidar and Hayer were the first to agree to dissolve their companies for the sake of Mars and the future of the colonies. Halvidar used his influence with the government on Earth to broker the second part of Hayer's solution, promising regular Helium-3 shipments from Neptune to Earth in exchange for assurances by Congressional leaders and the President, that any immigration bill brought before Congress would not constrain the flow of citizens to the colonies. By 2081 Halvidar's efforts helped produce the Rosiland Amendment which permitted people to immigrate to the United States on Mars, while also granting the Martians the right to divide themselves into Territories.

Halvidar founded the Union Party to organize the political arm of the ITC, pushing the new body to adopt common economic and financial policies, and build up the Planetary Gaurds of the colonies to keep the peace in the territories. Halvidar would go onto to build the Martian Planetary Gaurd at the behest of Chairman Hayer.

The Guardiola Incident

Halvidar joined the Mars Planetary Guard in 2097 where he received the rank of Colonel for his experience as a leader and as a captain of exploration vessels. He lobbied the ITC and the US Congress to increase funding for colonial security, and argued that the US government on Earth directly combat the Guardiola Foundation, which was regularly attacking a number of Earth-Luna orbital colonies.

In 2099 when the Guardiola's staged their attack on the Earth orbitals, Halvidar was among the reinforcements from Mars to join the fighting in Earth Orbit. Halvidar commanded the USPGS Scott Carpenter and combated the Guardiolas at L2 and LEO for the duration of the conflict. At the pivotal battle of Stanford Station, the Carpenter was damaged sufficiently to undergo decompression. Halvidar escaped with most of the crew and entered combat in a vacuum rated armor where he commanded the remainder of his crew until they were rescued by the USPGS Gus Grissom. Halvidar remained in the Planetary Guard until the end of the war and retired from active duty. He was awarded the Planetary Guard Cross for his actions at the battle of Stanford Station.

Resident Commissioner of Bradbury

After the Guardiola Incident, Halvidar returned to Bradbury as a semi-retired Union Party leader. In 2104, Halvidar was named to replace Orin Lassiter, who had died in office, as Resident Commissioner to Bradbury. Halvidar reluctantly took the position, but later claimed that he had come to find a new purpose as Bradbury's delegate to Congress. Halvidar organized the colonial delegation to make the issues of the colonies known, rather than territorial concerns. He gained a reputation as an outspoken voice for colonial integration and was elected and re-elected to his position six times before the expiration of his term.

While Resident Commissioner, Halividar also served as the defacto leader of the Union Party, the colonies largest political institution. Originally a single issue party created to fight for colonial integration, Halvidar widened its focus to push for the US adopting the Quantum Economic Model, introducing colonial criminal justice practices into the state legislatures on Earth, rewilding Earth, and supporting infrastructure expansion and reform projects. Under these reforms the Union Party found allies in the Progress and Green Parties, and began to gain a voting base on Earth.

Chairman of the ITC

Chairmanship (2115-32)

After serving in the Planetary Guard and representing Bradbury as a Resident Commissioner to Congress,  Halvidar was pushed to become Chairman of the ITC after Raleigh Kanzaki's lackluster term drove the other leaders of the ITC to call for Halvidar to take the reigns of the colonial government following the end of his term in Congress. Halvidar ran and won with overwhelming support, and became the driving force behind a renewed call to action for colonial integration into the Union. Halvidar was one of the most active Chairmen in living memory, and was seen by most as a moderate between the revolutionaries in the colonies, and the established forces on Earth.

His greatest challange came with the Second Martian Revolution of 2129. Halvidar had publicly debated Luong herself to quell the calls for independence, but as the MSIF became more militant, Halvidar eventually advised police and territorial militias to increase their presence at locations where the MSIF held their rallies. It all came to a head when Luong and her supporters stormed the Headquarters of the ITC in Bradbury. Luong hoped to overthrow the ITC, which she and her supporters had come to see as lap dogs of the US government on Earth, and Halvidar as a political threat. Flying red flags and brandishing old weapons and armor from the Guardiola Incident, five thousand MSIF stalwarts clashed with the police November 11, 2130. Halvidar called out the territorial militia, and eventually the Mars Planetary Guard to put the mob down, and never left the ITC headquarters during the riots. After the violence had ended, Halvidar declared the MSIF to be a "clear and present danger" to the colonies (something the Chairman of the ITC didn't actually have the power to do) and ordered the arrest of every member for treason. The majority of the MSIF was arrested or killed in the raids on their safe-houses following the Bradbury Riots; Luong herself was killed during one such raid.

Halivdar's popularity in the colonies and on Earth grew after the Bradbury Riots, and he used this publicity to lobby the government on Earth with one message, "Bring the colonies into the Union, or you will face TWO rebellions." With the parties busy tearing themselves apart over the 2130 midterms, it doesn't seem likely that this warning will be heeded by the leadership of Earth. Halvidar was elected four times as Chairman of the ITC, and was virtually unopposed in the last election before running for the Presidency.

Presidency

2132 election and secession

On November 6, 2132, Halvidar was elected the 65th president of the United States, beating Vice President David Castillo of the Mexicanos Libres party, Lydia Monroe of the Conservatives, and Mike Jacobi of the Progress party. He was the first president from the Union Party. His victory was largely due to his record as Chairman of the ITC, and support from the more pluralist Northern and Eastern states. Although Halvidar won only a plurality of the popular vote in the first ballot, his victory in the second ballot was decive. Halvidar spent the last weeks of the campaign building a coalition government with Union, Progress, and Green party candidates, and even had support from within the Conservative party.

As Halvidar's election became evident, secessionists made clear their intent to leave the Union before he took office in January.

Beginning of the Second Civil War

Colonial Integration

With the attack on Camp Navajo on February 2nd, 2133, it became clear that the Aztlan rebellion had greater military support than previously believed. The threat of rebellion on Earth and in the colonies was considered too great a risk by most leaders, including Halvidar, and thus the issue of Colonial Integration returned.

Halvidar understood that the Federal government's power to govern a large number of states was impractical under the current structure of the Constitution, a sentiment that was the primary driving force behind the opposition to colonial integration. He argued before and during his election that the eventual integration of the colonies would result in a more prosperous society on Earth and in the colonies. At the beginning of the war, he also sought to persuade the states to accept integration in exchange for economic benefits from a unified QEM. Opposition in Congress over how heavily representation would be skewed in favor of the colonies, even with increases to the size of the House, kept integration from reaching the floor.

On November 17, 2134, endorsed by Halvidar, Congress passed an act expanding the size of the House of Representative to 1000 seats, set to go in effect following the 2134 midterms. The act came with the admission of 50 new states into the Union from the colonies, including all the Lunar States, and the most populous states on Mars. Halvidar had pushed for admitting all colonial territories that qualified for statehood, but resistance from Congressional leaders forced a compromise measure.

The previous year, the House of Representatives had passed the 36th Amendment to the US Constitution, introduced almost 11 months ago by Union party leaders, to create a new level of representation between the federal and state level. The Amendment would establish planetary commonwealths, that would govern entire worlds, while the United States as a whole would continue to be governed through the Federal government, which would treat the Commonwealths as it had treated States in the original drafting of the constitution. The amendment was passed by the Senate on September 30, 2135, and would go into effect on the first Election Day following ratification. On New Year's eve, 2136, the Congress brought hundreds of new states into the Union from across the system.

With the midterm elections on the horizon, Halvidar set out to fully integrate the functions of the ITC into the Federal Government, believing that the Colonies had to be brought into the Union with the full support of the Union states on Earth, rather than simply force their terms through a packed Congress. Congress passed all the major provisions of Integration before the 2134 midterms, mainly expanding the Commerce Department and the Federal Reserve to manage monetary policy and trade from the QEM, and accepting the Commonwealths of Earth, Mars, Luna, Titan, Triton, Ganymede, Callisto, and Venus into the Union.

War with Mexico

The Battle of DC

With the colonial fleet still three days out, the NSA and military intelligence began uncovering evidence of a possible Mexican attack on American military command structure. The obvious target was Cheyenne Mountain, which had stood defiant in American hands during the duration of the conflict. Few believed at the time that an attack on the Capital was even possible, thus only a small contingent of troops were moved to protect DC while the majority of the DoDs attention went to securing the Mountain. Despite these initial impressions, Mexico launched a daring attack on the US capitol on August 26th, detonating a nuclear flare above the city and invading in force from covert assault ships in orbit. With only minutes to prepare for the attack once the invasion was flare was launched, the Capital suffered extensive losses at the start of the Battle. The flare cleared the skies of drones and the EMP disabled most civilian communications and services, while the fireball destroyed the Washington Monument and damaging/destroying a number of other historical landmarks on the National Mall The primary blast radius did not significantly extend to Residential areas, but despite this more than 20,000 people died from the initial blast. The US Congress was actually outside of the blast radius, and the White House bunker housed the President, the Joint Chiefs and what members of the Cabinet and staff could fleet to the safety of the hardened shelter.

President Halvidar, while in the White House bunker, ordered all available US forces and armed personnel to defend the city, recalling national guard forces from as far away as New York to come to the aid of the Capitol. What few forces were in the immediate area were out of the blast radius, and surrounded the National Mall where Mexican forces were establishing a forward emplacement. The President initially left battlefield command to ranking officers in the field, who garrisoned Union Station, GW University, and the Capitol before moving in to secure the White House and establish additional emplacements at the Lincoln Memorial. Mexican forces quickly overwhelmed the hastily established garrisons at the Hill and Union Station, and turned their attention to the White House, while additional forces routed the American forces from the west end of the Mall, blocking any potential reinforcements. House to House fighting and entrenched positions near the ruins of the Washington Monument slowed the Mexican advance, but with the field commanders dead and only a handful of captains and leutenants trying to coordinate a unified defense, President Halvidar took the field in to directly oversee the defense of the nation’s capital, the first President to do so since George Washington. Halvidar donned the armor he wore during the Guardiola Incident and coordinated forces in DC from the ruins of the White House, which was converted into a Forward Operating Base. While Halvidar intended to stand in defense of the city, he ordered Vice President Cora Fabian, who was campaigning for Halvidar's re-election in New York, to remaine out of the city in the event that he should fall. The Battle of Washington was the bloodiest the war had yet seen, with house to house fighting and open field warfare on the National Mall generating casualties in the thousands. For 29 hours the Mexican forces attempted to take the Capitol, until the colony fleet arrived on August 27th at 4:21 am EST.

The reinforced US Space Forces engaged the Mexicans in orbit, invading Mexican Orbitals in force and destroying dedicated military platforms in a matter of minutes. Where Mexican miliatry platforms were quick to destroy, the invasion of the Orbitals lasted nine hours, in some cases continuing for some time after the colonials arrived to the relief of DC. After the Victory of DC, the colonial forces outnumber the Mexican allied forces 2 to 1, and with supremacy in space, the US begins a sustained campaign against Polish and Mexican-allied assets from orbit. The first wave of Colonial forces invaded in the tens of thousands to the relief of American allied forces across the planet, while orbital bombardment of Poland and Mexico crippled the Mexican-allied war machine.

2136 re-election

While the war was still being waged, Halvidar faced reelection in 2136. Halvidar was a master politician, bringing together—and holding together—all the main factions of the Coalition Government, and bringing in Conservative leaders as well. The election was all but guaranteed for Halvidar after the victory at the Battle of DC, where Halvidar took the field and directly commanded the defense of the city.

Halvidar participated in very few debates with the few rival candidates that stood to challenge him, and often tasked his Vice President, Cora Fabian, to run the campaign while Halvidar was occupied with the War. On Election Day 2136, Halvidar won an unprecedented 81% of the vote, largely thanks to newly admitted colonial states. Halvidar's re-election was the first election in American history to have taken place across multiple planets and moons in the system, and further unified the country after the victory at DC.

Redefining the republic

Other enactments

Halvidar was a very active President in legislative affairs prior to Mexico's invasion, and used his position in the Union Party to craft national policy during the Second Civil War. He signed the Venusian Settlement Act in 2134, making the soon to be habitable territories on Venus available for purchase at very low cost. The Expanded Space Access Acts of 2134 and 2136 granted federal support for the construction of 22 additional space elevators around the plane and supporting infrastrucutre, which were completed in 2141. The passage of the Settlement Act and the Space Access Acts was made possible by the absence of Southwestern congressmen and senators who had opposed similar measures in the 2120s. In 2134, Congress created, with Halvidar's approval, the Department of Colonization, which was responsible for overseeing terraforming and planetary colonial settlement efforts.

Other important legislation involved two measures to integrate the Interplanetary Trade Commission's responsibilities directly into the Federal government: adopting the Quantum Economic Model into the Commerce and Treasury Departments, and a series of tax code reforms. In 2133, Halvidar signed the Shonekan Act which nationalized the country's natural resources. Also in 2133, Halvidar signed the Revenue Act of 2133, adopting the hyper-progressive tax system of the colonies into the Federal tax code. Halvidar also presided over the nationalization of the US financial system by the Federal Investment and Banking Act. It provided a strong financial network in the country and streamlined banking and trade for private businesses and the federal government.

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