Ehlers Announces Reelection Bid

May 3, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Congressman Vern Ehlers announced this morning that he will seek a sixth full term representing the state’s Third District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ehlers made his intentions known during a news conference this morning at the Fifth Third Bank building in downtown Grand Rapids.

The district includes all of Barry and Ionia counties, plus most of Kent County, excluding Alpine, Sparta, Tyrone and part of Solon townships.

Ehlers was first elected to the House in a special election in December 1993, following the death of Paul Henry, and subsequently was re-elected to five full terms, most recently in 2002, when he captured 70 percent of the vote.

“It is a great honor, a high calling and a personal privilege to represent the people of the Third District — one that I take very seriously every time I cast a vote, make a speech or introduce a bill on their behalf,” Ehlers said. “I am very pleased with the progress we have made, but there is still much to be accomplished.”

Ehlers has been a legislative leader in several areas, especially Great Lakes issues, K-12 education improvement, strengthening U.S. manufacturing, fighting Michigan job losses, guiding America’s scientific research programs, and strengthening the transportation system.

“These issues are vitally important to the Third District and the nation, and my experience and expertise will allow me to provide leadership as Congress works to address them,” he said.

Ehlers serves on five different House committees: Science; Education & the Workforce; Transportation & Infrastructure; House Administration; and the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress. He serves as chairman of the Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment, Technology and Standards, a post he has held since 2001.

Ehlers began his elective public service career in 1975, following his election to the Kent County Board of Commissioners. There he served for eight years, three as chairman. In 1982 he was elected to the Michigan State House of Representatives, and then to the Michigan Senate in 1985, where he served until being elected to Congress. He has served in a variety of other capacities throughout his career, including as science adviser to then-Congressman Gerald R. Ford in the early 1970s.

After attending Calvin College for three years, Ehlers earned his undergraduate degree in physics in 1956 from the University of California-Berkeley, where he then achieved his Ph.D. in nuclear physics in 1960. After six years of research and teaching at U.C. Berkeley, Ehlers returned to Calvin as a physics professor, later becoming chairman of the college’s physics department. Ehlers is the first research physicist ever elected to Congress and one of only a handful of scientists currently serving on Capitol Hill.           

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