Dick Gephardt grew up in the same working class neighborhood on the south side of St. Louis, Missouri that he represented in the U.S. Congress for 28 years. Gephardt’s father, a milk truck driver and Teamster, taught him the value of hard work. His mother, a secretary, taught him the value of community and caring about others. Gephardt continued his education past high school with the help of a church scholarship and student loans.
After graduating from Northwestern University and the University of Michigan Law School, Gephardt began a career in public service as a grassroots organizer. Elected a St. Louis Alderman in 1971, he saw first hand how families, senior citizens, small business owners and others yearned for lawmakers who cared about their circumstances and committed to working on their behalf.
From 1977, Gephardt was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1988, he had an unsuccessful Presidential bid, and returned to Congress to become the Majority Leader. In 1994 he became the highest ranking Democrat as House Minority Leader. In his career he led legislative efforts to raise the minimum wage; protect affirmative action; pass campaign finance reform; include labor and environmental standards in U.S. trade agreements; maintain standards in drinking water; clean up Brownfield sites; and secure protection for family farms.
In 2003, Gephardt again pursued the Democratic Presidential nomination, campaigning for universal healthcare, pension reform, and energy independence. In 2004, he retired from Congress, and now works as a consultant. Endowing the Gephardt Institute for Public Service in 2005, he provides ongoing support and vision for its future.
He has been married to Jane Gephardt for four decades and they have three children: Matt, a software developer; Chrissy, a political activist; and Kate, a teacher.