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Former Democratic House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt on his new book '535 Not 1' & the importance of compromise in Congress

Dick Gephardt, former congressman and Democratic House Majority Leader.
Mike Kiniry / WGCU
Dick Gephardt, former congressman and Democratic House Majority Leader.

Dick Gephardt first entered public service in 1968 as a Democratic committeeman for the 14th ward in St. Louis. He was 27 years old. Three years later he moved up to become 14th ward alderman and held that position until 1976.

He then turned his attention to Congress and was elected in 1977 to represent Missouri's 3rd congressional district — that’s the St. Louis area — in the United States House of Representatives. He held that seat for 14 terms and left Congress in 2005.

During his time there Mr. Gephardt held several leadership roles. He was Leader and Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, then House Majority Leader for six years, and then he became Minority Leader when the republicans regained control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years in 1995 and Newt Gingrich became Speaker. He also ran for president twice, in 1988 and 2004.

Congressman Gephardt has a new book out, called “535 Not 1.” In it, he tells some of his story about his time in Congress, and talks about what he sees as the crucial role compromise necessarily must play in the legislative process. He stopped by the studio to talk about the book, and the times we’re in politically in this country.

You can hear the the rest of our extended conversation below.


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