Richard A. Gephardt is the House Minority Leader. He was elected by his colleagues to serve as the top Democratic leader in the House of Representatives in 1994.
Before his elevation to the top Democratic spot, Gephardt served as majority leader, the second-ranking Democratic post, for more than five years after being the first Democratic candidate to enter the 1988 presidential race. He joined the Democratic leadership in 1984, elected chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the fourth-ranking leadership post in the House.
Gephardt was first elected to represent Missouri's third congressional district in 1976. As a House freshman, he was given the opportunity of serving on both the Ways and Means and Budget Committees.
For nearly two decades, he has been an advocate for issues of economic fairness and opportunity for every American family. He is also focused on health care and trade.
He firmly believes in the words of his mentor, the late Dick Bolling that anything good or important that ever happened in Washington must have the support of both parties. In the House, Gephardt continues to try to build a "bipartisan coalition of the center" with moderate Republicans to cut through partisan gridlock and get things done.
Gephardt authored An Even Better Place: America in the 21st Century, his conception of the most pressing concerns affecting the American people as we enter a new millennium.
Gephardt is a St. Louis native who is deeply attached to his city, its people, and its culture. A fiercely loyal Cardinals fan, Gephardt also started the process that brought the Super Bowl Champion Rams to the city from Los Angeles.
After graduating from Northwestern University and the University of Michigan Law School, he began his career in public service as a precinct captain in St. Louis's 14th Ward. From there he was twice elected Alderman, and become known as the leader of a group of aggressive young reformers known as the "Young Turks," who implemented bold new policies to revive the city.
Gephardt was born in 1941 in the same South St. Louis neighborhood he represents today. He is married to Jane Byrnes Gephardt. They have three children.