Peter Hoekstra is the only member of the U. S. House of Representatives who was born in the Netherlands. That by itself qualifies him to be included in the list of prominent Dutch Americans. But that is by no means the only reason why he is included. During his 14 year congressional career he has become a nationally prominent member of that august body. He has become considerably more visible since he was appointed to be Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in August 2004. As of January 2007 he will lose that position but he will probably remain as the ranking Republican Member of that Committee.
Peter Hoekstra was born in the province of Groningen, the Netherlands on October 30, 1953. He immigrated into the United States as a three year old child with his parents in 1957. The family settled in western Michigan, in an area that is a Dutch American stronghold. He grew up there, went to Hope College, in Holland, Michigan and graduated with a B. A. Degree in Political Science in 1975. Apparently while in college he already had political ambitions and that may have been the reason why he decided to major in political science. He then entered the University of Michigan Business School from where he earned his M. B. A. Degree in 1977. Upon graduation he went to work for Herman Miller, an office furniture manufacturer, and spent the next 15 years at Herman Miller, working himself up to the position of Vice President of Marketing.
In 1992 he got that political itch again and decided to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in the Second Federal District in western Michigan, a congressional district that has the largest concentration of Dutch Americans in the nation. Even though he was running against another Dutch American, who was the incumbent, Hoekstra was able to convince the electorate that it was time for a change, and he managed to win the election in a door-to-door campaign. So in January 1993 Peter Hoekstra was sworn in as a member of the 102nd U. S. Congress.
He has been re-elected in subsequent terms and by the end of 2006 had completed seven terms, and will be starting his eighth term in 2007. During the seventh term he served on three major committees, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence which he chaired, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Education and Workforce Committee.
As Chairman of the highly visible Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, he has had quite a bit of national exposure. He has appeared among others on C-Span, the CBS Evening News, NBC Dateline, ABC Nightline, NPR Talk of the Nation and on various programs of the Fox News Channel. He has also written articles for such national publications as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
During the last year of Hoekstra's ninth term in Congress, he decided not to run for re-election. He apparently felt it was someone else's turn to represent the Second Federal congressional district of Michigan in the united States House of Representatives. There were rumors that he would position himself as a candidate for governor in the State of Michigan in the future. As of the year 2011, Hoekstra became an ex-congressional representative.
Hoekstra has been honored by a number of organizations for his work in the U. S. Congress. In 2004 he received the U. S. Chamber of Commerce “Spirit of Enterprise” award. Also in 2004, Americans for Tax Reform, awarded him the “Hero of the Taxpayer” award. Earlier, in 2003, Citizens against Government Waste awarded him the “Tax Payer Super Hero” award. And in the year 2000 Habitat for Humanity named him “Public Official of the Year”.
Peter Hoekstra is married to his wife Diane. The couple has three children, Erin, Allyson and Bryan. The family lives in Holland, Michigan.
Since the above report Hoekstra decided to run for governor of Michigan in 2012 in the Republican primary election. He was soundly defeated and the person who defeated him was elected as governoir of Michigan in the November 2012 election.
Peter Hoekstra Congressional Website
Peter Hoekstra, www.hoekstraforcongress.com
Peter Hoekstra, intelligence.house.gov
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