Hon. Richard Gephardt
Former Majority Leader
US House of Representatives
Prior to launching Gephardt Group, Dick Gephardt represented the Third Congressional District of Missouri in the United States of Representatives (1977-2005) and served as both House Majority Leader (1989-1995) and House Democratic Leader (1995-2003). During those years, he became one of the nation’s most respected politicians, and became known as an expert on economic issues and foreign affairs and an eloquent voice for fairness, justice and opportunity for every American. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has lauded his character, saying, "Dick Gephardt's word 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 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. He repeatedly reached across the aisle to pass campaign finance reform, end corporate welfare and restore tax code fairness for all.
Where our relationships abroad were concerned, Gephardt was an active interlocutor. He conferred with the Dalai Lama, John Hume, Kim Dae Jung, Yitzhak Rabin, Vaclav Havel and Nelson Mandela, among others. A leading voice for human rights, tolerance and racial reconciliation, he sought to convey American values in his trips abroad and to establish contacts with other nations and peoples to strengthen America's place in the world. During his years in Congress, he was a leading advocate for HIV and 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 advocates for pooling talents, making common sacrifices and sharing goals to make any group more effective. He uses stories from his political and life experiences to reinforce his message of hope and prosperity for all Americans.
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 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 issues.
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 2003, after serving in the House Democratic leadership for over thirteen years, he announced his candidacy for the presidency, and helped define the issues of the election as the 2004 campaign unfolded.
Gephardt is married to Jane Gephardt, and they are the parents of three grown children.