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Culver, John



  • Existence: 1932-


John Chester Culver was born in Rochester, Minnesota on August 8, 1932. He was raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in American Government in 1954. His time at Harvard was also made memorable by his notable career as a football fullback, and he was a National Football League draft choice. After Harvard, Culver spent a year at Cambridge University in England, where he pursued graduate scholarship study. From 1955-1958 he served in the United States Marine Corps, and was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain. In 1962 he graduated from Harvard Law School. In 1962-1963 Culver worked in Washington, D.C. as legislative assistant to Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. In 1963 he returned to Iowa, was accepted to the Iowa Bar and began practicing in Cedar Rapids. He ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for Iowa's 2nd District and was elected in 1964, defeating the incumbent James Bromwell. He won his four subsequent elections, and served in the House from 1965 through January 3, 1975.   During his 5-term tenure in the House, Culver served on two important committees: Foreign Relations and Government Operations. On the Foreign Relations Committee, Culver served on subcommittees dealing with Africa, Inter-American Affairs, and Foreign Economic Policy, which he chaired. On the Government Operations Committee, Culver served on subcommittees dealing with Intergovernmental Operations, and State Department Organization and Foreign Operations. As a liberal, Culver disapproved of many of the actions and methods of the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee, but he also served as a member of that committee as well. In addition, he was a member of the Select Committee on Committees of the House, created to reform House Committee operations and the seniority system. The committee was chaired by Richard Bolling of Missouri. In 1972 Culver was appointed regional whip.   1973 was a particularly significant year for Culver in terms of positions he held. He was made a member of the Democratic Council of Elected Officials and was appointed chairman of the Democratic Study Group. He also became a member of the Trilateral Commission.   In 1974 Culver ran for the U.S. Senate, to replace the retiring Democrat Harold Hughes. Culver defeated Republican David Stanley and served in the Senate until 1981. He was defeated for re-election in 1980 by Republican Congressman Charles Grassley. While in the Senate he served on the following committees: Armed Services, Judiciary, Environment and Public Works, and Select Committee on Small Business. As a member of the Judiciary Committee he chaired the Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure as well as the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency. He also was a member of the Criminal Laws and Procedures and the Antitrust and Monopoly Subcommittees. On the Armed Services Committee he served as the chairman for two subcommittees: Research and Development, and General Legislation. As well, he acted as a member of the subcommittees dealing with manpower and personnel as well as procurement policy and reprogramming. On the Select Small Business Committee he chaired the Government Regulation and Paperwork Committee and was a member of the Taxation, Financing and Investment Subcommittee. On the Environment and Public Works Committee he was chairman of the Resource Protection Subcommittee, and served on the subcommittees for environmental pollution and for nuclear regulation.   In addition to these standard committee assignments, Culver wrote the Senate Resolution establishing a Temporary Commission on the Operation of the Senate, a citizen's panel known as the "Culver Commission." He also served as a member of the President's Commission on Olympic Sports. He was a congressional observer of the negotiations for the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II).   Culver continues to reside in Washington, D.C., where he practices law, and also retains a home in McGregor, Iowa. He is married to Ann Cooper Culver of Cedar Rapids, and the two have four children - Christina, Rebecca, Catherine and Chester (Chet, Governor of Iowa 2007-2011). Culver holds honorary degrees from Loras College in Dubuque, Westmar College in Le Mars, Upper Iowa College in Fayette, and Marycrest College in Davenport. In his retirement from politics, in 2000 he co-authored, with John Hyde, a biography of the liberal Iowa politician Henry Wallace, entitled American Dreamer: A Life of Henry A. Wallace.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

John Culver Papers

Identifier: MsC0810

U.S. Congressman and Senator from Iowa.

Dates: 1965-1981