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Congressman Norm Dicks to be UW Commencement speaker


Congressman Norm Dicks, who has served as a representative in Congress since 1977, will be the University of Washington’s speaker at the 2007 Commencement exercises June 9 at Husky Stadium.

Dicks, born in 1940, was a scholar-athlete at the UW, playing linebacker and guard on the football team and going to the Rose Bowl in 1961. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1963. He received a law degree from the UW in 1968.

His interest in politics began when as a UW undergraduate he was elected to the Associated Students of the University of Washington’s Board of Control. After graduating law school he became a legislative aide for Sen. Warren G. Magnuson, writing some of the senator’s speeches and helping with policy initiatives, such as lowering the voting age to 18. By 1973 he had risen to administrative assistant, the top staff position.

Dicks was successful in his first Congressional campaign in Washington’s sixth district, which includes his hometown of Bremerton, as well as Tacoma and most of the Olympic Peninsula. In his very first term he was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee and is now the third-ranking member on that committee. He serves on three key subcommittees -- defense, interior and environment, and military construction/Veterans Administration. He was recently elected chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, where he has served for 30 years, and also serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security. In addition to his chairmanship on Interior, he is the vice-chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

During the 1980s Dicks took an active role in the major arms debates in Congress and served as an official observer to the U.S.-U.S.S.R. arms reduction talks. Between 1990 and 1998 he served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee from 1995 to 1998.

With his seniority on the Interior Subcommittee, Rep. Dicks has emerged as a key advocate for environmental protection in Congress, and his legislative efforts have included the designation of important new roadless and wilderness areas, added protection against oil spills in Puget Sound and a recent effort to restore the national parks around the country after several years of tight federal budgets. He has also worked hard to clean up Puget Sound and Hood Canal, and his amendment to the EPA’s budgets in 2005 created a distinct “Puget Sound Program” at the agency to focus and expand the federal government’s research and remedial efforts.

Commencement ceremonies start at 2 p.m. The academic procession begins at 1:30. About 4,500 students are expected to participate, with an estimated 35,000 guests attending.


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