A Senator from Arkansas; born in Charleston, Franklin County, Ark., August 12, 1925; attended the public schools of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; graduated, Northwestern University Law School, Chicago, Ill., 1951; admitted to the Arkansas bar in 1952 and commenced practice in Charleston; served in the United States Marine Corps 1943-1946; Charleston city attorney 1952-1970; special justice, Arkansas Supreme Court 1968; Governor of Arkansas 1970-1974; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1974 for the term commencing January 3, 1975; reelected in 1980, 1986, and again in 1992 for the term ending January 3, 1999; was not a candidate for reelection in 1998; chairman, Committee on Small Business (One Hundredth through One Hundred Third Congresses).
Senator Dale Bumpers’ legal and public policy practice includes providing strategic counsel and advice to corporate, trade association, nonprofit, and organizational clients on a broad range of international and government relations issues.
Dale represents Riceland Foods (the largest rice cooperative in the US), Sanofi Pasteur (regarding children’s vaccines) and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Early in his career, Dale played a central role in ending segregation in his small Arkansas town. Serving as attorney to a school board in Charleston, Arkansas, he recommended that the school desegregate even though he had not read the decision handed down a few weeks earlier by the US Supreme Court. The integration of schools in Charleston came at the beginning of a movement that swept through the South.
Dale was first elected to the US Senate in 1974, where he served four terms as a Democratic Senator from Arkansas. In 1997, he became the highest-ranking Democratic member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. In addition, Dale’s service included work as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he served as chairman of and, later, ranking member on the Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies Subcommittee. He also served as chairman of and, later, ranking member on the Senate Small Business Committee.
An eloquent and tireless advocate, Dale called for a balanced budget long before it became a highly-charged national issue. He consistently opposed government waste, leading the successful battles to cancel the $12 billion Superconducting Super Collider. Dale has fought to stop the giveaway of America’s public lands to foreign-owned mining interests, bring competition to our National Park concessions, preserve the nation’s natural heritage and environmental riches, and prevent whimsical changes to the Constitution, among a litany of other legislative accomplishments.
During 1999, after his retirement from the Senate, Dale served as Director of the Center for Defense Information. He also served as Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at the University of Arkansas and Guest Lecturer at Hendrix College. In the year 2000, in a poll of Arkansas political scientists, Dale was the only Governor in the 20th Century to achieve the station of Great.
Dale and his wife, Betty, have been strong advocates of childhood immunization, and in 1999, a new vaccine research center at the National Institutes of Health was named the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center.
Before entering politics, Dale lived in Charleston, Arkansas, where he practiced law; operated a small hardware, furniture and appliance store; and raised cattle; in addition to serving as city attorney, school board president and president of the Chamber of Commerce.