John Culver

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John Culver
John Culver.jpg
United States Senator
from Iowa
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1981
Preceded by Harold Hughes
Succeeded by Chuck Grassley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1975
Preceded by James E. Bromwell
Succeeded by Michael T. Blouin
Personal details
Born John Chester Culver
(1932-08-08) August 8, 1932 (age 86)
Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Children 5 (including Chet)
Alma mater Harvard University
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Profession Lawyer
Military service
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1955–1958

John Chester Culver (born August 8, 1932) is an American politician, writer and lawyer who represented Iowa in both the United States House of Representatives from 1965 to 1975 and the United States Senate from 1975 to 1981. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Early life and education[edit]

Culver was born in Rochester, Minnesota, the son of Mary C. (Miller) and William C. Culver. He moved with his family to Cedar Rapids, Iowa as a child.

Culver is a graduate of both Harvard University and Harvard Law School. As an undergraduate, Culver played fullback on the Harvard football team with the future Senator Edward Kennedy. He served as a captain in the United States Marine Corps from 1955 to 1958 as well. Culver was inducted into the Harvard Football Hall of Fame in 1978. Culver was the Lionel de Jersey Harvard Scholar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, for a year following his tenure at Harvard College.


Culver began practicing law in Cedar Rapids in 1963, but soon entered politics. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Iowa as a Democrat in 1964. He served in the House from 1965 until 1975.

In 1974, Culver was elected to the U.S. Senate, winning the seat left open by the retirement of Harold E. Hughes with 50.02% of the vote. Culver served one term in the Senate, from 1975 until 1981. Culver was defeated in a bid for reelection by Republican Chuck Grassley in 1980. Culver took 45.5% of the vote to Grassley's 53.5%.

In 2000, Culver co-authored American Dreamer, the first comprehensive biography of Henry A. Wallace.

Culver recently retired from the firm of Arent Fox in Washington, D.C., where he established the government affairs practice.[1] He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Mary Jane Checchi.

Culver was a featured speaker at the August 28, 2009 memorial service for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, speaking as his Harvard classmate and teammate, his colleague for a time in the Senate, and his longtime friend.[2]

Until January 31, 2011, Culver was the interim director of the Institute of Politics (IOP) at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University,[3] being replaced on that date by former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, with Culver remaining on the board of advisers as director emeritus.

Personal life[edit]

John Culver has five children named Chet (the former 41st Governor of Iowa), John, Christina, Cathy, and Rebecca Scoggin.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • United States Congress. "John Culver (id: C000979)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • The John Culver Papers are housed at the University of Iowa Special Collections & University Archives.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
James E. Bromwell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 2nd congressional district

1965 – 1975
Succeeded by
Michael T. Blouin
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Harold E. Hughes
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Iowa
1975 – 1981
Served alongside: Richard C. Clark, Roger W. Jepsen
Succeeded by
Charles Grassley