About Our Founder

Dick Gephardt

Founder Dick Gephardt

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. Congressman 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, Congressman Gephardt began a career in public service as a Democratic committeeman for the 14th ward in St. Louis from 1968 to 1971. Elected a St. Louis Alderman in 1971, he saw firsthand how families, senior citizens, small business owners and others yearned for lawmakers who cared about their circumstances and committed to working on their behalf.

In 1976, Congressman Gephardt was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1988, he had an unsuccessful Presidential bid, and upon his return to the House in 1989, became the House Majority Leader. For the next fourteen years, Congressman Gephardt was the highest ranking Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In his congressional 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, Congressman Gephardt again pursued the Democratic Presidential nomination, campaigning for universal healthcare, pension reform, and energy independence. In 2005, he retired from Congress, and now leads his firm, Gephardt Government Affairs. Endowing the Gephardt Institute for Public Service in 2005 (now the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement), he provides ongoing support and vision for its future.

He has been married to Jane Gephardt for five decades and they have three children: Matt, Chrissy, and Kate.