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Government

Notable returned Peace Corps Volunteers in government.

  • Harry Birnholz,

    chief of party-anticorruption program in Niger (Benin 1974-77)

  • Theodore Celeste,

    Ohio House of Representatives, 24th House District (Fiji 1968-70)

  • Christopher Dodd
    Christopher Dodd

    Former U.S. Senator, Connecticut (Dominican Republic 1966-68)

    Dodd is a former U.S. Senator from Connecticut. There are four returned Volunteers in the U.S. Congress.

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  • Jim Doyle
    Jim Doyle

    Governor of Wisconsin and wife Jessica Doyle (Tunisia 1967-69)

  • Steve Driehaus,

    former U.S. Representative from Ohio (Senegal 1988-1990)

    “I lived with a family in a village of 300 people, and she lived with us. When I look at this photo, I think I was much younger and I weigh less, and I have less gray in my beard. The Peace Corps was a fantastic experience. It was probably, with the exception of my marriage and my children, the most important experience in my life. Those 2½ years were very valuable. I had a prototypical Peace Corps experience — I lived in a rural area, and you have a far deeper appreciation for how so many millions of people live life around the world that is so different than ours.”

    Driehaus adds: “I like to tease the others — they were all serving the year I was born.”

  • Sam Farr,

    U.S. Representative from California (Colombia 1964-66)

    “For two years, I lived amid severe poverty in Medellin, Colombia, helping the poorest of the poor figure out what they wanted from their government and then working with them to get it. I learned firsthand what contributes to poverty, and I’ve worked four decades to defeat it. As my wife said, I’m still a Peace Corps volunteer at heart; I’ve just changed my barrio.”

  • John Garamendi,

    U.S. Representative from California (Ethiopia 1966-68)

  • Gene V. George,

    deputy assistant administrator director at the Office of Human Resources (USAID) (Nepal 1972-73)

  • Mike Honda,

    U.S. Representative from California (El Salvador 1965-67)

    “My time in El Salvador taught me so much. I went into the Corps as a college student shy of graduation with little direction; I emerged with the confidence that my emotional, psychological and physical limits had been pushed, plied and ultimately surpassed. I went into the Corps driven by the shame of my youthful lack of direction; I emerged determined to do something about the pervasive poverty surrounding me. I went into the Corps speaking one language; I emerged speaking another: Spanish, a gift that introduced me to a new world, gave me a new way of understanding new cultures and helped me connect to constituents in California. The Peace Corps got me back to the basics, and I realized that every day is a gift to be used wisely. That gift is what guides me now in Congress.”

  • Elisa Long,

    assistant federal public defender in Western District of Pennsylvania (Marshall Islands 1987-89)

  • Joseph W. Lown,

    mayor of San Angelo, Texas (Bolivia 1999-2001)

  • Dan McAllister,

    treasurer tax collector of San Diego, CA (Micronesia 1974-77)

  • Matthew Patrick,

    Massachusetts State Representative (Ghana 1977-79)

  • Sarah Parker,

    associate justice, North Carolina Supreme Court (Turkey 1964-66)

  • Thomas Petri,

    U.S. Representative from Wisconsin (Somalia 1966-67)

    Petri’s spokesman shares this story: “Having finished law school, Petri was assigned to bring some order to Somalia’s legal code. Because of the country’s colonial history, some of the laws were in Arabic, some in Italian and some in English. They were numbered, so if you had a copy of law 100, you knew that there were 99 before it.

    Petri went to the custodian of the laws to request a complete copy. He was told that that would be impossible. He returned over the course of several days, sometimes bringing the custodian tea, and gradually obtained a law or two at a time. Eventually, the custodian took him to a room where the laws were kept, bound in twine and totally ignored.”

  • Ken Roberts,

    associate administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA (Paraguay 1977-79)

  • Denny Robertson,

    USAID development counselor (Philippines 1977-79)

  • Christopher Shays,

    currently board of directors for the CIT Group, former U.S. Representative from Connecticut (Fiji 1968-70)

  • Robert Taft
    Robert Taft

    Currently at the University of Dayton. former governor of Ohio from 1999 to 2007 (Tanzania 1963-65)

  • James Walsh,

    former U.S. Representative from New York (Nepal 1970-72)

  • Michael "Mike" Ward,

    former U.S. Representative from Kentucky (The Gambia 1977-78)

Last updated Nov 20 2013

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