Wally Herger

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Wally Herger
WallyHerger.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Eugene A. Chappie
Succeeded by Jared Huffman
Member of the
California State Assembly
from the 3rd district
In office
1980–1986
Preceded by Eugene A. Chappie
Succeeded by Christopher Chandler
Personal details
Born (1945-05-20) May 20, 1945 (age 69)
Yuba City, California, U.S.
Nationality  United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Diane Herger (Divorced) Pamela Herger; 9 children
Residence Chico, California, U.S.
Alma mater American River College

California State University, Sacramento

Occupation Oil Executive
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)

Walter William "Wally" Herger, Jr. (born May 20, 1945) is an American politician. He was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1987 until 2013, representing California's 2nd congressional district, the largest congressional district by area in California. It covers almost all of interior northern California including, Chico, Redding and Red Bluff. On January 10, 2012, Herger announced he would not seek re-election to the House in November.[1]

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

Herger was born in Yuba City, California. He is of Swiss descent; his grandfather emigrated to the US from the canton of Uri in the late 19th century.[2] Herger was raised on his family's 200-acre (0.81 km2) cattle ranch and plum farm in the northern California town of Rio Oso (between Yuba City and Sacramento). He also worked in the family's oil and gas exploration business.[3] He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was about 20 years old.[4] He graduated from American River College with an Associate of Arts. He also attended California State University, Sacramento for a year. His political career started in 1976, with his election to the East Nicolaus School Board. He also served northern California in the California State Assembly from 1980–86.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

Herger was easily reelected to Congress due to the "safe" Republican voter registration advantage in this district, but his election campaigns were challenged by Democrat candidates in his last campaigns. The district often fields a candidate registered with a third party, such as the Libertarian party and, during the 1990s, the Natural Law Party. In 2002 and 2004, Herger defeated Democrat Mike Johnson, garnering 67% of the vote in 2004. In 2006, Herger faced Arjinderpal Sekhon and received 64% of the vote.[5] In 2008, Herger faced Trinity County Supervisor Jeff Morris, who did somewhat better, holding Herger to 57% of the vote.[6] In 2010, Herger faced a Republican primary challenge from retired Colonel Pete Stiglich, and ran in the general against Democrat Jim Reed, a lawyer who divides his time between the Bay Area and Fall River. Herger prevailed with 57% of the vote. Herger was often considered one of the least effective U. S. Congressmen on Capitol Hill.

Tenure[edit]

Wally Herger on the Speaker's Balcony overlooking the National Mall.

Herger served on the influential United States House Committee on Ways and Means since his tenure began as a federal representative. Within Ways and Means, representative Herger serves on two subcommittees, the Subcommittee on Trade, and the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support. In the 110th Congress he was named the Ranking Member of the Republican (minority) delegation to the Trade Subcommittee. Representative Herger's participation in full committee is limited to Ways and Means, in accordance with the rules of the Committee on Ways and Means. While he chaired the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support (called the Subcommittee on Human Resources during his watch) beginning with the 107th Congress, he played a leading role in the reauthorization and expansion of the 1996 welfare reform law. He sponsored the Criminal Welfare Prevention Act, passed as part of the larger 1996 Welfare Reform Law. This bill gave additional financial incentives to law enforcement agencies that identitied fraudulent recipients of aid].[3][7]

On August 18, 2009, Herger triggered controversy when he attended a town hall meeting in Redding, California, where an audience member introduced himself as a "proud right-wing terrorist"[8] The person admitted to reporters in a private interview ten days latter, after the controversy had reached national attention, that he had misspoken, having intended to say "extremist". Herger did not immediately distance himself from the remark then and there, but, instead, after the constituent's lengthy comment, responded by saying, "Amen. God bless you. There goes a great American." Many people, both inside and outside Herger's congressional district found his failure to respond immediately unacceptable.[9] Herger's gaffe attained the apotheosis of national media attention when Keith Olbermann picked the story up for his show Countdown with Keith Olbermann on August 28, 2009.

Legislative philosophy

Herger's primary legislative concerns as a member of Congress and the Ways and Means Committee include:

  1. Securing economic growth and encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship by reducing the tax burden on American families and small businesses.
  2. Making government run more efficiently by reducing federal regulatory burdens and spending.
  3. Responsibly reforming entitlement programs to make them sustainable and ensure that they will still be around for future generations of Americans.[3]
Legislative goals

The 2nd congressional district is driven by agriculture. Herger supports legislation to bolster free and fair trade in an effort to support his constituency. Congressman Herger, from his position on the Trade Subcommittee, plans[when?] to lead the consideration of trade agreements with foreign nations. His intent is to broaden the opportunities for American businesses to export their products to growing foreign markets. He anticipates that agreements with Panama, Peru and Colombia will expand American exports throughout the western hemisphere. He has worked on the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act, which institutes a framework for managing federal forest assets that will be tested on federal lands in Lassen, Plumas, and Tehama counties, and has been negotiated by a diverse coalition that includes environmental and logging interests. The act aims to reduce vegetation density in Forest Service lands, while expanding forest biodiversity (i.e. reduction of “monoculture” forests).[10]

Congressmen Herger and Meek (D-FL) drafted a bill to repeal the three percent withholding tax scheduled to begin in 2011. The withholding tax would apply to governments with expenditures of greater than 100 million USD on services from for-profit companies. The law mandates that governments will only deliver 97 percent of a contract to the contractor, and send the remaining 3% to the IRS. Vendors and contractors are expected to increase their bid values to cover this new cost. The National Association of Counties thinks that this will give Counties a competitive disadvantage when dealing with vendors and contractors. (Counties assess costs of federal ‘3-percent withholding law’)[11][12] [13]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Herger was married to Pamela Sargent, with whom he has 9 children and 9 grandchildren.[citation needed] He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and used to sit on the United States House Committee on Ways and Means.[3]

Electoral history[edit]

California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 1986[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger 109,758 58.25%
Democratic Stephen C. Swendiman 74,602 39.60%
Libertarian Harry Hugh "Doc" Pendery 4,054 2.15%
California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 1988[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger (*) 139,010 58.82%
Democratic Wayne R. Meyer 91,088 38.54%
Libertarian Harry Hugh "Doc" Pendery 6,253 2.65%
California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 1990[16]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger* 133,315 63.67%
Democratic Erwin E. "Bill" Rush 65,333 31.20%
Libertarian Ross Crain 10,753 5.14%
California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 1992[17]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger* 167,247 65.19%
Democratic Elliot Roy Freedman 71,780 27.98%
Libertarian Harry H. "Doc" Pendery 17,529 6.83%
California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 1994[18]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger* 137,864 64.17%
Democratic Mary Jacobs 55,959 26.04%
American Independent Devvy Kidd 15,619 7.27%
Libertarian Harry H. "Doc" Pendery 5,418 2.52%
California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 1996[19]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger* 144,913 60.80%
Democratic Roberts Braden 80,401 33.74%
Natural Law Patrice Thiessen 7,253 3.04%
Libertarian William Brunner 5,759 2.42%
California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 1998[20]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger* 128,372 62.52%
Democratic Roberts "Rob" Braden 70,837 34.50%
Natural Law Patrice Thiessen 6,138 2.99%
California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 2000[21]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger* 168,172 65.73%
Democratic Stan Morgan 72,075 28.17%
Natural Law John McDermott 8,910 3.48%
Libertarian Charles R. Martin 6,699 2.62%
California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 2002[22]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger* 117,747 65.79%
Democratic Mike Johnson 52,455 29.31%
Natural Law Patrice Thiessen 4,860 2.72%
Libertarian Charles R. Martin 3,923 2.19%
California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 2004[23]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger* 182,119 66.85%
Democratic Mike Johnson 90,310 33.15%
California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 2006[24]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger* 134,911 64.18%
Democratic Arjinderpal Sekhon 68,234 32.46%
Libertarian E. Kent Hinesley 7,057 3.36%
California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger* 163,459 57.90%
Democratic Jeffrey W. Morris 118,878 42.11%
California's 2nd Congressional District House Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Wally Herger* 130,837 57.15%
Democratic Jim Reed 98,092 42.85%

References[edit]

  1. ^ Herger announces he will not seek re-election in 2012
  2. ^ Swiss descent of Herger
  3. ^ a b c d Representative Wally Herger 2007 bio (2nd District of California); retrieved February 11, 2011, from
  4. ^ Church News, March 29, 2008.[full citation needed]
  5. ^ CA Secretary of State — Statement of Vote — 2006 General Election. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/sov/2006_general/congress.pdf
  6. ^ CA Secretary of State — Statement of Vote — 2008 General Election. Retrieved January 10, 2009, from http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/sov/2008_general/23_34_us_reps.pdf
  7. ^ Herger, W. (May 25, 1999); retrieved July 24, 2007
  8. ^ "Right wing "terrorist" says he misspoke". Retrieved August 28, 2009. 
  9. ^ "TV Commentator Calls for Herger's Resignation". Retrieved August 28, 2009. 
  10. ^ USDA Forest Service HFQLG Forest Recovery Act Pilot Project (June 4, 2007); retrieved July 24, 2007
  11. ^ Wally Herger 2nd District of California. (January 2, 2007), retrieved July 24, 2007
  12. ^ ThreePercentWithholding. (January 1, 2007); retrieved March 4, 2008
  13. ^ "Counties assess costs of federal '3-percent withholding law'" (January 1, 2007), retrieved March 4, 2008.
  14. ^ 1986 general election results
  15. ^ 1988 general election results
  16. ^ 1990 general election results
  17. ^ 1992 general election results
  18. ^ 1994 general election results
  19. ^ 1996 general election results
  20. ^ 1998 general election results
  21. ^ 2000 general election results
  22. ^ 2002 general election results
  23. ^ 2004 general election results
  24. ^ 2006 general election results

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Eugene A. Chappie
California State Assemblyman, 3rd District
1980–1986
Succeeded by
Christopher Chandler
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Eugene A. Chappie
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 2nd congressional district

1987–2013
Succeeded by
Jared Huffman