Pete Stark

American politician (1931-2020)

Fortney Hillman "Pete" Stark Jr. (November 11, 1931 – January 24, 2020) was an American businessman and politician. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1973 to 2013. He served as a Democrat from California.[1]

Pete Stark
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 2013
Preceded byGeorge P. Miller
Succeeded byEric Swalwell (Redistricting)
Constituency8th district (1973–1975)
9th district (1975–1993)
13th district (1993–2013)
Personal details
Fortney Hillman Stark Jr.

(1931-11-11)November 11, 1931
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
DiedJanuary 24, 2020(2020-01-24) (aged 88)
Harwood, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Carolyn Layton nee Wente (div. 1989–1991)
Deborah Roderick
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology (B.S.)
University of California, Berkeley (M.B.A.)
Military service
AllegianceUnited States of America
Branch/serviceAir Force
Years of service1955–1957

After 2010 redistricting, Stark campaigned for the 15th district seat in 2012, narrowly finished first in the primary but lost in the general election to fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell.

Stark had been the longest-serving member of Congress from California, serving continuously from January 3, 1973 through January 3, 2013.

Early life Edit

Stark was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was raised in San Francisco, California. He studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the University of California, Berkeley.

Political career Edit

In 1972, Stark moved to Oakland to run in the Democratic primary against 14-term incumbent U.S. Representative George Paul Miller of Alameda in what was then the 8th district. In the 1972 general election, he defeated Republican Lew Warden with 53% of the vote. He was re-elected a total of 18 times until loosing in the 2012 primaries to Eric Swalwell.

2007 Iraq War comment Edit

On October 18, 2007, Stark made the following comments on the House floor during a debate with Congressman Joe Barton of Texas:

Republicans sure don't care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where are you going to get that money? Are you going to tell us lies like you're telling us today? Is that how you're going to fund the war? You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement.[2][3]

Following the initial criticism to his statements, when asked by a radio station if he would take back any of his statements, Stark responded "Absolutely not. I may have dishonored the Commander-in-Chief, but I think he’s done pretty well to dishonor himself without any help from me."[4]

Personal life Edit

Stark revealed he was an atheist in 2007, which made him the first openly atheist member of Congress.[5] In 1989, he married Carolyn Layton nee Wente. They divorced in 1991. He then married Deborah Roderick.

Stark died on January 24, 2020 at his home near Annapolis, Maryland of leukemia, aged 88.[6]

References Edit

  1. Lochhead, Carolyn (August 17, 2012). "The San Francisco Gate - Pete Stark's burned bridges have cost him". The San Francisco Gate. The San Francisco Gate. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
  2. Video at YouTube, October 18, 2007.
  3. The John Ziegler Show, KFI, October 18, 2007 (7PM hour) and October 19, 2007 (7PM hour) podcast Archived 2007-10-28 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
  4. KCBS, "Stark Stands Behind GOP Accusations Archived 2007-11-28 at the Wayback Machine", October 18, 2007.
  5. "Congressman Holds No God-Belief". Secular Coalition for America. March 12, 2007. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved October 1, 2007.
  6. "Former California Congressman Pete Stark dies at 88". 2020-01-25. Retrieved 2020-01-25.

Other websites Edit

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