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Sherwood Boehlert

Sherwood Boehlert
Boehlert at a press conference
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 24th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Donald J. Mitchell
Succeeded by Michael Arcuri
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 23rd district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Michael R. McNulty
Succeeded by John M. McHugh
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 25th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by Hamilton Fish IV
Succeeded by James T. Walsh
Chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Jim Sensenbrenner
Succeeded by Bart Gordon
Oneida County Executive
In office
January 1, 1980 – December 31, 1982
Preceded by William E. Bryant
Succeeded by John D. Plumley
Personal details
Born (1936-09-28) September 28, 1936
Utica, New York
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Marianne Willey
Residence New Hartford, New York
Alma mater Utica College
Occupation plant manager, political assistant
Religion Roman Catholic

Sherwood "Sherry" Louis Boehlert (born September 28, 1936) is a retired American politician from New York. He represented upstate New York in the United States House of Representatives from 1983 until 2007. Boehlert, a Republican, was considered to be a member of the party's moderate wing. He served as Chairman of the Science Committee from 2001 to 2006.


  • Early life, education, and early political career 1
  • U.S. House of Representatives 2
    • Elections 2.1
    • Tenure 2.2
    • Committee assignments 2.3
  • Post-elective office career 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life, education, and early political career

Boehlert was born in Utica, New York to Elizabeth Monica Champoux and Sherwood Boehlert,[1] and graduated from Utica College. He served two years in the United States Army (1956–1958) and then worked as a manager of public relations for Wyandotte Chemical Company.

After leaving Wyandotte, Boehlert served as Chief of Staff for two upstate Congressmen, Alexander Pirnie and Donald J. Mitchell;[2] following this, he was elected the county executive of Oneida County, New York, serving from 1979 to 1983. After his four-year term as county executive, he ran successfully for Congress in the elections of 1982. He was re-elected to every Congress subsequent.

U.S. House of Representatives


After redistricting, incumbent Republican U.S. Congressman Hamilton Fish of New York's 25th congressional district decided to run in the newly redrawn New York's 21st congressional district. Boehlert decided to run and won the primary with 56% of the vote.[3] He won the general election by defeating Democrat Anita Maxwell 56%–42%.[4]

After that, he won re-election every two years until he decided to retire in and not seek re-election in 2006. His district number changed twice, each time after redistricting. In 1992, he decided to run in the newly redrawn New York's 23rd congressional district when he ran in the newly redrawn New York's 24th congressional district in 2002. He was challenged in the Republican primary five times: 1986 (67%),[5] 1996 (65%),[6] 2000 (57%),[7] 2002 (53%),[8] and 2004 (60%).[9] His lowest re-election winning percentage in the general election was 57%, in his last re-election in 2004 when he defeated Democrat Jeff Miller 57%–34%.[10]


Boehlert's official portrait as Science and Technology Committee Chairman

Boehlert is best known for his work on environmental policy. Beginning in the 1980s with the acid rain crisis, Boehlert became a prominent voice in the Republican party for the environment. He was a major contributor to the acid rain provisions of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Boehlert pushed continually to increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for light trucks and automobiles and was the lead GOP sponsor of numerous CAFE amendments.Due to Boehlert's constant battles over environmental legislation, often putting him at odds with his party's leadership, National Journal dubbed Boehlert the “Green Hornet” and featured him as one of the dozen “key players” in the House of Representatives.

Due to his centrist views, Time Magazine also recognized Boehlert as a “power center” on Capitol Hill and Congressional Quarterly named him one of the 50 most effective Members of Congress. Boehlert also was a member of several national moderate GOP groups including the Republican Main Street Partnership and the Ripon Society.

On the Science Committee, Boehlert championed investments in the National Science Foundation, science and math education programs and the Department of Energy's Office of Science. As Chairman he pushed for measures to increase cybersecurity R&D[11] and the creation of a Science and Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security. After 9/11 and the 2001 anthrax attacks, Boehlert crafted legislation establishing the DHS S&T Directorate to oversee development of technologies to secure against terrorist attacks. This homeland security S&T bill reported out of the Science Committee was ultimately accepted by the congressional leadership and President Bush and enacted as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

Boehlert was one of the first Members of Congress to call for a competitiveness agenda, culminating with a major National Academy of Sciences report Rising Above the Gathering Storm on retaining U.S. leadership in science and engineering, as well as the American Competitiveness Initiative introduced by President Bush in 2006.

Boehlert was an active promoter of first responder legislation, a strong champion for volunteer firefighters[12] and original member and Chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.

On March 17, 2006, at a press conference Boehlert announced that he would not seek a thirteenth term in office. Several important landmarks are named for Boehlert that reflect his work on transportation and science issues. These include the renovated Union Station in Utica and the new science facilities[13] of the Air Force Research Laboratory--Information Directorate in Rome, New York.[14]

Committee assignments

Boehlert served on the Science Committee for his entire congressional career. In addition, he was the third-ranking member of the Transportation Committee; from 1995 to 2000, he served as the chairman of its Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. He was also a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, serving as interim Chairman in 2004.

Post-elective office career

Since 2007, Boehlert has remained active promoting environmental and scientific causes. He serves currently on the Board of the bipartisan Alliance for Climate Protection chaired by former Vice President Al Gore. Boehlert currently serves as a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center.[15]


  1. ^ 1
  2. ^ "Boehlert Begins Plans for Transition; Calls Pawlinga and Eilenberg", The  
  3. ^ Our Campaigns – NY District 25 – R Primary Race – Sep 23, 1982
  4. ^ Our Campaigns – Race
  5. ^ Our Campaigns – NY District 25 – R Primary Race – Sep 09, 1986
  6. ^ Our Campaigns – NY District 23 – R Primary Race – Sep 10, 1996
  7. ^ Our Campaigns – NY District 23 – R Primary Race – Sep 12, 2000
  8. ^ Our Campaigns – NY District 24 – R Primary Race – Sep 10, 2002
  9. ^ Our Campaigns – NY – District 24 – R Primary Race – Sep 14, 2004
  10. ^ Our Campaigns – NY District 24 Race – Nov 02, 2004
  11. ^ H.R. 3394 – Cyber Security Research and Development Act, Rep. Boehlert (R-NY)
  12. ^ National Volunteer Fire Council Presents Appreciation Award to Rep. Sherwood Boehlert
  13. ^ "Lab building to be named for Boehlert". Rome Daily Sentinel (Rome, NY). Retrieved 6 October 2015. Rep. Michael A. Arcuri and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that Building #3 at the lab will be formally named the "Sherwood Boehlert Center of Excellence for Information Science and Technology." 
  14. ^
  15. ^ [2] "Senior Fellows, Bipartisan Policy Center"

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
William E. Bryant
Oneida County, New York Executive
January 1, 1980 – December 31, 1982
Succeeded by
John D. Plumley
Preceded by
Jim Sensenbrenner
Chairman of the House Science Committee
Succeeded by
Bart Gordon
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Hamilton Fish IV
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 25th congressional district

Succeeded by
James T. Walsh
Preceded by
Michael R. McNulty
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 23rd congressional district

Succeeded by
John M. McHugh
Preceded by
John M. McHugh
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 24th congressional district

Succeeded by
Michael Arcuri
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