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William A. Steiger

William Albert Steiger (May 15, 1938 – December 4, 1978) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1967 until his death from a heart attack in Washington, D.C. in 1978. He served as a Republican from Wisconsin.[1]

William A. Steiger
William A. Steiger cph.3c32771.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 6th district
In office
January 3, 1967 – December 4, 1978
Preceded byJohn A. Race
Succeeded byTom Petri
Chairman of the College Republican National Committee
In office
Preceded byDan Hofgren
Succeeded byJim Harff
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
In office
Personal details
William Albert Steiger

(1938-05-15)May 15, 1938
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, U.S.
DiedDecember 4, 1978(1978-12-04) (aged 40)
Washington D.C., U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Janet Dempsey (m. 1963)
EducationUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison (BS)

Early lifeEdit

Steiger was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He attended the youth government and leadership program Badger Boys State in 1955 where he was elected Governor and then represented his state at Boys Nation. In 1960, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. After college, Steiger entered the business world, becoming a part owner of the Oshkosh Motor Lodge. Later, he became the president of Steiger-Ratke Development. In 1960, the young Steiger made his first run for elected office and became a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1961 to 1965.[2] His wife was Janet Dempsey Steiger; they were married on August 10, 1963.


In 1966, Steiger was elected to the 90th United States Congress as the representative of Wisconsin's 6th congressional district. He was reelected to the six succeeding congresses as well. Steiger however died in office before being able to serve as part of the 96th Congress overall serving from January 3, 1967 till December 4, 1978. His death left a vacancy in the house that was filled by a special election resulting in the election of Tom Petri. While in the House, Steiger was a strong supporter of tax cuts as a way to stimulate the economy. He sponsored legislation reducing the capital gains tax, establishing OSHA, and securing environmental protection for the Great Lakes. The bills he authored on these topics include the Williams-Steiger Bill establishing OSHA in 1970, the Clear Lakes Bill establishing environmental protection for the Great Lakes, the Older Americans Act of 1965, the Elementary and Secondary School Act, the Manpower Act, and the Steiger Amendment of 1978 reducing the capital gains tax.

While a Congressman, in 1969 he employed the future Vice President Dick Cheney as an intern.[3]


Steiger died in Washington D.C. at the age of 40 from a heart attack just weeks after winning reelection.[4]


The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) annually hands out the William Steiger Memorial Award, which honors individuals from the social/political sphere whose efforts have contributed to advancements in occupational safety and health.

His son, William R. Steiger, worked for Governor Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin, and most recently as the Director of the Office of Global Health Affairs and Special Assistant to the Secretary for International Affairs, in the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, where he has been the subject of controversy for his role in the politicization of science.

The congressman was honored in his hometown of Oshkosh with the naming of the William A. Steiger Park, which is located on the south shore of the Fox River, east and west of the Wisconsin Street Bridge.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 'Wisconsin Blue Book 1977,' Biographical Sketch of William A. Steiger, pg. 15
  2. ^ 'Wisconsin Blue Book 1966,' Biographical Sketch of William A. Steiger, pg. 66
  3. ^ American President: Richard B. Cheney
  4. ^ "U.S. Rep. William Steiger dies of heart attack at 40," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 5, 1978, p. 12

External linksEdit

  • United States Congress. "William A. Steiger (id: S000847)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Wisconsin Historical Society
  • William A. Steiger papers in the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives
  • William A. Steiger at Find a Grave
  • ACGIH - William Steiger Memorial Award
  • William A. Steiger, late a representative
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John A. Race
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Tom Petri