Vernon Ehlers is currently a Republican U. S. Congressman representing the people of Michigan’s Third Congressional Federal District. He will be starting his seventh term in the 110th Congress on January 2007. He was first elected to the 103rd Congress in a special election on December 7, 1993. He represents a Congressional District that includes the city of Grand Rapids, and he holds the seat formerly occupied by President Gerald R. Ford.
Ehlers’ background is in teaching, research and public service. He is one of the few members of the U. S. Congress to hold a Ph. D. degree, and one from a prestigious university, the University of California at Berkeley. He has taught at Berkeley and at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Prior to his present position in the U. S. Congress he served in the Michigan Legislature.
In the U. S. House of Representatives, Ehlers currently serves as Chairman of the House Administration Committee, having been appointed to Chairman in January 2006. He is also a member of the Science Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Education and Workforce Committee.
Prior to his service in the U. S. House of Representatives, Ehlers served for 11 years in the Michigan Legislature, serving two years in the State House and nine years in the State Senate. At the end of his Michigan State Senate service he was President Pro Tem of the Michigan State Senate. He also served for eight years on the Kent County, Michigan, Board of Commissioners.
Ehlers earned his undergraduate degree in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1956. He remained at Berkeley to do graduate work in Nuclear Physics and earned his Ph. D. Degree in Physics in 1960. As an aside, completing a Ph. D. degree in the field of Physics in only four years was virtually unheard of at that time. It usually took much longer. Following the completion of his doctorate, he remained at Berkeley to do research in, and teach Physics. He remained at Berkeley until 1966. He then returned to Grand Rapids and joined the Physics Department Faculty at Calvin College. He remained there for 16 years, teaching, doing research and serving as the Physics Department Chairman. During his tenure at Calvin College he also served as a volunteer science advisor to the then U. S. Congressman Gerald R. Ford. In 1982 he left Calvin College to serve in the Michigan Legislature.
During his entire career Ehlers has received over seventy awards and other forms of recognition. The five most prominent forms of recognition are:
Michigan State University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate Degree in 1998,
Grand Valley State University, Michigan, awarded him an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters in 2002,
The American Association for the Advancement of Science awarded him the Philip Hauge Abelson Prize,
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers awarded him the Ralph Coe Award in 2002, and
The Ripon Society awarded him the Rough Rider Award in 2006.
Vernon Ehlers was born in Pipestone, Minnesota on February 6, 1934. He is married to Johanna Meulink. The couple has four adult children and four grandchildren.
Vernon Ehlers, Congressional Bio
Vernon Ehlers, www.ehlers.org
Vernon Ehlers, www.vote-smart.org/bio.php?can_id=1882103 (link no longer active)
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