Steve Gunderson

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For the actor, see Steve Gunderson (actor).
Steve Gunderson
SteveGunderson.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by Alvin Baldus
Succeeded by Ron Kind
Personal details
Born (1951-05-10) May 10, 1951 (age 63)
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Political party Republican
Domestic partner Jonathan Stevens
Alma mater University of Wisconsin-Madison
Religion Lutheran

Steven Craig "Steve" Gunderson (born May 10, 1951, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin) is the former President and CEO of the Council on Foundations[1] and a former Republican congressman from Wisconsin.

Early years[edit]

Gunderson grew up near Whitehall, Wisconsin. After studying at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he went on to train at the Brown School of Broadcasting in Minneapolis.

Political career[edit]

Gunderson served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1975 to 1979 before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980. Representing Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district. First being elected to the 97th Congress, he served eight terms in the House and did not seek re-election to the 105th Congress in 1996.[2] He was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President's Commission on White House Fellows in January 2010.[3]

Opposed and then supported by conservatives[edit]

In 1994, Gunderson was outed as gay on the House floor by conservative then-representative Bob Dornan (R-CA) during a debate over federal funding for gay-friendly curricula,[4] making him one of the first openly gay members of Congress and the first openly gay Republican representative.[5] In 1996, Gunderson was the only Republican in Congress to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act,[6][7] and he has been a vocal supporter of gay rights causes since leaving Congress.

Although Gunderson drew opposition from some conservatives for his support of gay rights causes, other conservatives later praised him for his advocacy on behalf of expedited immigration rights for the Laotian Hmong, who had been allied with U.S. war efforts during the Vietnam War and later faced persecution under the Communist government of Laos.

In an October 1995 National Review article, Michael Johns, a former Republican White House aide and Heritage Foundation policy analyst, praised Gunderson's efforts in behalf of the Hmong people, quoting Gunderson as telling a Hmong gathering in Wisconsin: "I do not enjoy standing up and saying to my government that you are not telling the truth, but if that is necessary to defend truth and justice, I will do that."[8] Republicans also called several Congressional hearings on alleged persecution of the Hmong in Laos in an apparent attempt to generate further support for their opposition to the Hmong's repatriation to Laos. Led by Gunderson and other Hmong advocates in Congress, the Clinton administration's policy of forced repatriation of the Hmong was ultimately overturned and thousands were granted U.S. immigration rights.

Personal[edit]

Gunderson wrote the 1996 book House and Home. He currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his partner, Quang Pham.

Published works[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Steven Gunderson, President & CEO". Council on Foundations. Retrieved August 27, 2009. 
  2. ^ http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/dictionary/index.asp?action=view&term_id=2037&search_term=gunderson
  3. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 1/19/10". January 19, 2010. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  4. ^ Chris Bull (May 3, 1994), The Out House: Congressional Debate over an Education Bill Gets Personal and Nasty, The Advocate, p. 29.
  5. ^ Bergling, Tim (May 11, 2004). "Closeted in the capital: they're powerful, Republican, and gay. Will the marriage battle finally get them to come out to their bosses?". The Advocate. Retrieved August 27, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 316". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. July 12, 1996. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 104th Congress - 2nd Session: On Passage of the Bill (H.R.3396 )". United States Senate. September 10, 1996. 
  8. ^ Johns, Michael (1995-10-23). "Acts of betrayal — persecution of Hmong". National Review. Archived from the original on April 29, 2008. Retrieved June 2, 2008. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Alvin Baldus
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district

1981–1997
Succeeded by
Ron Kind