Rep. David Obey (Wisconsin)Appropriations Committee
By Monica Ekman
- David Obey (pronounced OH-bee) was first elected to the Wisconsin state Assembly at age 24. He won his House seat in a 1969 special election at age 30.
- Before his career in politics took off, he worked in his father's floor-covering business, as a real-estate broker, and as an assistant in a family-run supper club and motel.
- Obey left the Republican Party during the anti-Joe McCarthy era and became a Democrat in the 1950s. He opposes abortion and gun control.
- Obey and his wife attended the same middle school, high school, and college (the University of WisconsinMadison). He received his master's degree in political science and expected to teach Chinese and Russian politics.
- In 1976, he chaired a committee that proposed changes to the code of ethics for the House. More than 20 members have been disciplined under the changes and many members have had to give up their home law practices.
- Obey was the Appropriations chairman for about nine months in 1994, ending when the Republicans swept the election in 1994. As chairman, he completed all 13 spending bills before the end of their fiscal years. It hasn't happened since.
- Obey plays the harmonica in the bluegrass band Dave Obey and the Capitol Offenses with his two sons, Craig and Douglas, who both play guitar.
- Sen. Paul Sarbanes and Obey co-edited a book, The Changing American Economy, on the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Full Employment Act.
- In April 1997, during a heated House floor debate on campaign finance reform, then Republican Whip Tom DeLay shoved Obey with both hands and several bystanders heard DeLay call Obey a "gutless chicken s---."
- In 2003, he called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign.
- New York Times
- Roll Call
- Biography Resource Center
- Almanac of American Politics
- National Journal
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel