Issue One commemorates the life of former Congressman Charles “Charlie” Stenholm (D-TX) an active member of Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of more than 200 former members of Congress, governors, and Cabinet secretaries united to fix America’s broken political system.
Congressman Stenholm died on May 17. He was 84 years old.
A staunch food and consumer rights advocate, Congressman Stenholm was a champion for agricultural policy, and beloved by his colleagues for his ability to work on both sides of the aisle.
Charles Stenholm was born to a family of immigrant farmers in Stamford, Texas in 1938. He would spend his entire childhood and early adult-life in Texas, graduating from neighboring universities Tarleton State in 1959, and Texas Tech University in 1962. After receiving formal education in the science of agriculture, Stenholm would return to his family farm until 1965—the year he began his first political endeavor as a lobbyist. Nearly 13 years later, Stenholm would run for a vacated seat in his hometown 17th district and be elected to his first and only position in public office.
Congressman Stenholm embraced his duty as a public servant, becoming a well-known bipartisan dealmaker, emphasizing that “compromise is not just a four-letter word,” and that “it is critical that our leaders lead and that bipartisan coalitions and compromises be formed and supported.” Stenholm’s ability to work both sides of the aisle and deliver results to his constituents led to him serving 13 terms in Congress.
Congressman Stenholm continued devoting his life to public service after his congressional tenure, teaching weekly classes at his alma mater Tarleton State and serving as a board member for The Committee on a Responsible Federal Budget.
Congressman Stenholm is a model for bipartisan dealmaking, and his contributions to government will continue to be felt for generations to come. He will be greatly missed.