January 9th marks the 102nd birthday of our 37th President Richard Milhous Nixon. As President, Nixon ended the Vietnam war and brought our troops home, opened the door to China, negotiated a nuclear arms reduction agreement with the Soviet Union, saved the State of Israel from total annihilation in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, raised the share of Southern schools that were desegregated from 10 percent to 90 percent without violence or bloodshed, implemented the Philadelphia Plan in 1970 — the first significant federal affirmation program, raised the civil rights enforcement budget 800 percent; doubled the budget for black colleges, started the Office of Minority Business Enterprise, raised U.S. purchases from black businesses from $9 million to $153 million, increased small business loans to minorities 1,000 percent, increased U.S. deposits in minority-owned banks 4,000 percent and formed of the Environmental Agency. In 1971, Nixon proposed health insurance reform — a private health insurance employer mandate, federalization of Medicaid for poor families with dependent minor children, and support for HMOs. A limited HMO bill was enacted in 1973. In 1974, Nixon proposed more comprehensive health insurance reform — a private health insurance employer mandate and replacement of Medicaid by state-run health insurance plans available to all, with income-based premiums and cost sharing.

In 2009, I had a portrait of President Nixon tattooed on my back because I admire his tenacity, resilience and persistence. It's a daily reminder that in life, when things don't go your way, when you face disappointments, when you suffer defeats or setbacks, when you try and fail, you have to pick yourself and get back in the fight. "A man is not finished when he is defeated, he is only finished when he quits," he said. Happy Birthday, Mr. President.