Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Guy Vander Jagt
Guy Vander Jagt was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1966-1992 and a member of the National Republican leadership. He was born in Cadillac, Michigan, on August 26, 1931. He began preaching at the Tustin Presbyterian Church while a high school student. He graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, in 1953, and won several state and national public speaking competitions. He next attended Yale Divinity School , graduating in 1957. He also studied for a year at the University of Bonn on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship. VanderJagt next went back to school to study law at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. but soon transfered to the law school at the University of Michigan, where he received his J.D. in 1960. From 1960 to 1964 he practiced law in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In 1964 he was elected to the Michigan State Senate. Unable to raise enough support for a U.S. Senate run, in 1966, he ran instead to fill his opponent's U.S. House seat. Vander Jagt was simultaneously elected to fill out the remainder of Bob Griffin 's term in 1966 and to sit for the next term starting in 1967. He continued to hold that seat until January 3, 1993.
One of his earliest appointments found him on the Space, Science and Astronautic Committee during the development of America's space program and the landing on the Moon. On the Conservation and National Resources Subcommittee, he worked to establish Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore near his home although he later had cause to note that park mismanagment illustrated "one of the most reprehensible aspects of the land acquisition process.". As a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, President Richard Nixon sent him on trade missions to Africa and Asia. Vander Jagt was appointed to the Ways and Means Committee in 1974 where he served on the Trade and Select Revenue Measures Subcommittees. He continued to serve on this commitee throughout his House career. He also served on the Joint Tax Committee of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
In 1980, Vander Jagt was chosen by Ronald Reagan to deliver the keynote address at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Michigan. He was being considered as a potential Vice Presidential candidate. Using momentum from the convention speech, Vander Jagt won the position of Republican leader of the U.S. House in a race against Bob Michel . Vander Jagt served as Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee for 18 years. Vander Jagt made Newt Gingrich the chairman of a Republican long-range planning committee before Gringrich was even sworn-in to his House seat, catapulting him ahead of sitting committee members.
In 1992, Vander Jagt lost the Republican primary to challenger Peter Hoekstra. He went back into private law practice and work as a public speaker. Reagan was quoted as saying "some call me the great communicator but if there was one thing I dreaded during my eight years in Washington it was having to follow Guy Vander Jagt to the podium."
- "You know, there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats. By and large Democrats really do believe in more spending so government can do more good things for people. Republicans really do believe in less spending so the taxpayer can keep more."
- Hope College Joint Archives , holder of most of his papers, others are held by Grand Valley State University
- Frontline interview "The Long March of Newt Gingrich" 
- Leading Authorities speaker's bureau information page
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