Meet The New Council Members: Congressman Dave Obey (Ret.)

David ObeyCongressman Dave Obey represented Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District in the House of Representatives for 42 years. He is the longest serving member of Congress in Wisconsin history. Of the over 10,000 men and women who have served in the House in the nation’s history, only 21 have served longer.

When he was first elected on April l, 1969, he was the youngest member of the House in the nation. Before his election to Congress, he served in the Wisconsin State Assembly for 6 1/4 years, where he served as Deputy Leader. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with undergraduate and MA degrees in political science with a focus on Russian area studies.

In Congress, he served two terms as Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee where he focused committee attention on America’s growing income disparity.

For ten years, he chaired the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee dealing with issues ranging from the Contra War in Nicaragua to the search for Middle East peace and the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain.

From 1995 until his retirement in 2011, he served as the lead Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee including three terms as Chairman. From 1995 to 2011 he also served as the lead Democrat on the Labor, Health, Education, and Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee including two terms as Chairman. He has been at the center of almost every major budget priority debate for over 20 years.

Throughout his career he has been a leader of progressive forces on issues including worker rights, education, health care, medical research, environmental protection, and international relations. He has also been a key leader in Congressional reform efforts and chaired the committee that wrote a new code of ethics for the House in 1977.

He played a leadership role in the passage of the American Economic Recovery Act after the economic collapse of 2008. He also presided over the House when it passed the landmark Health Insurance Reform Act.

Since retiring from Congress, he has served as a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS), headquartered at the University of Wisconsin, Marathon County. WIPPS is a non-profit institute that addresses local, state, and national issues by linking public scholarship, civic outreach, and student service to enhance communities. It is designed to be responsive and collaborative, bringing non-partisan approaches, tools, and resources to help state and local governments, businesses, non-profit organizations, and citizens address and solve real problems.

The APSA Nominating Committee met on February 13, 2015, and nominated the slate of officers and council members to serve beginning in fall 2015. The call for nominations was circulated widely among the membership with outreach to APSA committees and organized sections. The nominating committee made its decisions after careful deliberation and due consideration for the diversity of the field and the varied interests of political scientists. There were no additional nominees from the members, and council members and officers were approved in October 2015 by the APSA Council, under its power to fill interim vacancies (APSA Constitution, Article V). APSA welcomes the new council members and other officers to APSA leadership.