World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Richard Vander Veen

Article Id: WHEBN0004277658
Reproduction Date:

Title: Richard Vander Veen  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Harold S. Sawyer, Hestor L. Stevens, Henry M. Kimball, Joseph L. Hooper, Herschel H. Hatch
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Richard Vander Veen

Richard Vander Veen
Dick Vander Veen with JFK
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 12th district
In office
February 18, 1974 – January 3, 1977
Preceded by Gerald Ford
Succeeded by Harold S. Sawyer
Personal details
Born (1922-11-26)November 26, 1922
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
Died March 2, 2006(2006-03-02) (aged 83)
East Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of South Carolina (B.S.)
Harvard Law School (LL.B.)
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1941–1946, 1950-1952
Rank Junior Lieutenant
Battles/wars World War II • South Pacific Theater
Korean War

Richard Franklin Vander Veen (November 26, 1922 – March 2, 2006) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

Early life and education

Born in Grand Rapids, Vander Veen attended the local public schools and graduated from Muskegon High School in 1940. He earned a B.S from the University of South Carolina in 1946 and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1949. He was admitted to the Michigan bar in 1949 and commenced practice in Grand Rapids. In 1951, he, Walter Freihofer and George Cook formed what was to become the third-largest law firm in Grand Rapids. He retired from the law firm when he was elected to Congress.

Military service

With the outbreak of World War II, Vander Veen enlisted in the United States Navy January 1941 and served until 1946, seeing active duty in the South Pacific Theater. He also served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1952 with the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade.

Political career

In 1958, Vander Veen made an unsuccessful bid as the Democratic Party candidate to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Representative Gerald Ford in Michigan's 5th congressional district. He became chair of the Michigan Fifth District Democratic Party in 1959 and was an unsuccessful candidate in the Democratic primary election for Lieutenant Governor of Michigan in 1960, losing to T. John Lesinski. He was chairman of the Michigan State Democratic Convention in 1960, and was a delegate to the state conventions in 1962 and 1964. He served on the Michigan State Mental Health Commission, 1958–1963, and the Michigan State Highway Commission, 1964–1969. In 1969, he was elected to the East Grand Rapids Board of Education.

After Gerald Ford resigned his House seat in 1973 to become Vice President of the United States, Vander Veen was elected in a special election on February 18, 1974, to fill Ford's seat in the 93rd Congress. Vander Veen's election from the heavily Republican district was seen as a stunning upset defeat for the Republican Party. He is the only Democrat to be elected to Congress from the Grand Rapids area since 1912. The Republican candidate, Robert VanderLaan, was the Republican leader of the Michigan Senate and, up to that point, had never lost an election. Vander Veen turned the election into a referendum on the increasingly unpopular U.S. President Richard Nixon. He stopped campaigning directly against his opponent, and instead took out newspaper advertisements "in which he promised to do his utmost to dislodge Nixon and turn the presidency over to Ford, a political folk hero in the district."[1] This upset caused a panic in the Republican Party leadership, as it appeared to foreshadow more losses for the party in the November elections.[2][3] Political analyst Larry Sabato writes in his Crystal Ball newsletter that Vander Veen's capture of Gerald Ford's solidly Republican district after Ford had been elevated to the Vice Presidency was an electrifying victory that foreshadowed the Democratic Watergate landslide of November 1974.[4] (see also 1974 Midterm Senate and House elections)

Vander Veen was reelected in November 1974 to a full term in the 94th Congress, but lost his seat in 1976 to Republican Harold S. Sawyer. In 1978, Vander Veen ran for the United States Senate, but lost his bid for the Democratic nomination to Carl Levin, who went on to win the general election in November.

Vander Veen formed two environmental companies: Resource Energy and Enigered. In 1990, he founded the Ryerson Library Foundation, and served as its president.

VanderVeen, 2002.

After his service in Congress, Vander Veen served as a member of the Michigan State Waterways Commission. Vander Veen died of prostate cancer at his home in East Grand Rapids at the age of 83.


  1. ^ In the Shadow of Watergate: Bob Michel Becomes a Congressional Leader by Frank H. Mackaman, The Dirksen Congressional Center
  2. ^ "Nixon: Lots of People Cheat on Taxes" The Tech, March 1, 1974, p. 4
  3. ^ "An Early Alarm Bell For the G.O.P.", TIME, March 4, 1974
  4. ^  

External links

  • The Political Graveyard
  • Congressman Vern Ehlers' note to Members of Congress about the death of former Congressman Vander Veen
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Gerald Ford
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Harold S. Sawyer
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.