RPCVs in Congress Will be Lowest Since ’87
By Jonathan Pearson on Thursday, November 4th, 2010
Tuesday’s defeat of Congressman Steve Driehaus (D-OH) and the pending retirement of Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) means the next Congress will have the fewest number of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) since 1987. It will also mark the first time in more than 30 years that the United States Senate will be without a lawmaker who served in the Peace Corps.
Driehaus (Senegal 88-90), a freshman lawmaker representing the greater Cincinnati region, was defeated in a rematch from two years ago. Republican Congressman Steve Chabot was returned to the House with 52 percent of the vote.
The four other RPCVs in the House were easily returned to office. Republican Tom Petri, the senior member of the group, received nearly 71 percent of the vote and will begin his 17th term representing constituents from Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District.
The remaining three House members with Peace Corps in their background are Democrats representing central and northern California. Sam Farr (Colombia 64-66), was re-elected to his tenth term in office in the 17th district, winning with 66 percent of the vote. Mike Honda (El Salvador El Salvador 65-67) will begin his 6th term in the neighboring 15th District. He also received 66 percent of the vote. The newest member to the House, 10th District Congressman John Garamendi (Ethiopia 66-68 ), will begin his second term in office after being re-elected with 58 percent of the vote. The House RPCVs have provided a strong bi-partisan voice in support of Peace Corps initiatives, ranging from increased funding for the agency to securing House passage of Peace Corps commemorative legislation earlier this year.
Senator Dodd (Dominican Republic 66-68), announced his retirement from the Senate earlier this year and was honored for his service last March at an NPCA Director’s Circle gathering.
1995 marked the high-water mark for a Peace Corps presence on Capitol Hill. Seven RPCV lawmakers served in the 104th Congress.