The Honorable Richard Gephardt served as Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives and has been one of the nation’s most respected politicians for over three decades. He is an expert on economic issues, foreign affairs and an eloquent voice for fairness, justice and opportunity for every American. Senator and Presidential candidate John McCain (R-AZ) has lauded his character, saying, “Dick Gephardt’s words you can take to the bank.”
Working tirelessly in Congress, Gephardt sought to promote economic and personal security by strengthening bedrock commitments to the American people, especially on Medicare and Social Security. He fought to lay the groundwork for long-term prosperity and opportunity for every hard-working family. He always sought to enact policies that unlock people’s potential and liberate the entrepreneurial spirit of the American people. Joining with Senator McCain, he repeatedly reached across the aisle to pass bipartisan campaign finance reform, end corporate welfare and restore tax code fairness for all.
Drawing on his knowledge, leadership abilities and diplomatic experience, he helped lead the country through the worst attack in its history since Pearl Harbor. On September 12, 2001, Gephardt visited the White House and pledged his unstinting support in the fight against terrorism and to do whatever it takes to protect all American families.
Gephardt is CEO and President of the Gephardt Group, and currently serves as the advisory board chairman of the Richard A. Gephardt Institute for Public Service at Washington University in St. Louis. He is also senior counsel at the global law firm DLA Piper and an active consultant for Goldman Sachs.
He has traveled extensively and conferred with Nobel Laureates Kim Dae Jung, Yitzhak Rabin, Vaclav Havel and Nelson Mandela. A leading voice for human rights, tolerance and racial reconciliation, he conveyed American values in his trips abroad and to establish contacts with other nations and peoples to strengthen America’s place in the world. He is a leading advocate for HIV/AIDS relief in Africa and other developing regions.
In an economic address to the Democratic Leadership Council, Gephardt said, “Opportunity, responsibility and community isn’t just a slogan, it defines who we are as a party.” He brings this optimism to the podium, where he speaks not only about his thirty years of political experience, but also about the future of America. Gephardt reveals how he is more idealistic today than he was the first day he walked into the halls of Congress; he is awed by what Americans are capable of accomplishing. He uses stories from his political and life experiences to reinforce his message of hope and prosperity for all Americans.
AT A GLANCE: Born in 1941 in the same South St. Louis neighborhood that he represented in Congress, Gephardt began his career in public service as a precinct captain in St. Louis’s 14th Ward. After graduation from Northwestern University and the University of Michigan Law School, he was twice elected Alderman and became the leader of a group of aggressive young reformers know as the “Young Turks.”
Gephardt was first admitted to the Missouri Bar Association in 1965 and elected to represent Missouri’s Third Congressional District in 1976. As a House freshman, he was given the rare opportunity of serving on both the Ways and Means and Budget Committees, where he became a national leader on health care, trade and tax fairness.
In 1984, Gephardt was elected Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the fourth-ranking leadership position in the House. In 1987, he became the first democratic candidate to enter the 1988 presidential race, where he won the Iowa Democratic Caucus and helped frame the economic issues that dominated the election. In 1989, he was elected by his colleagues in the House to serve as their Majority Leader.
He is married to Jane Gephardt. They are the parents of three children: Matt, a software developer; Chrissy, a Democratic activist; and Kate, a teacher.