Alan K. Simpson: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alan K. Simpson

In office
January 1, 1979 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by Clifford Hansen
Succeeded by Michael Enzi

Born September 2, 1931 (1931-09-02) (age 78)
Denver, Colorado
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Susan Ann (Ann) Schroll Simpson
Children Colin M. Simpson
Religion Episcopalian

Alan Kooi Simpson (born September 2, 1931, in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.) is a Republican politician who served from 1979 to 1997 as a United States senator from Wyoming. His father, Milward L. Simpson, was also a member of the U.S. Senate from Wyoming (1962–1967) and a former governor of Wyoming (1955–1959) as well.


Early life

As a young man, Simpson was a Boy Scout, and visited Japanese American Boy Scouts who, along with their families, had been interred in Wyoming during World War II. There, he developed a friendship with Norman Mineta, who later became a U.S. Congressman and cabinet member. They both served together on the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, and remain close friends.[1]

One of Simpson's babysitters as a young boy was the future lieutenant governor and education superintendent of Louisiana, William J. "Bill" Dodd, who played baseball for a time as a young man in Cody with teammate Milward Simpson.

Alan Simpson graduated from Cody High School in Cody, Wyoming, in 1949 and attended Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 1950 for a postgraduate year. He graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science degree and in 1958 with a Juris Doctor degree. He married Susan Ann Schroll, who was a fellow student at the University of Wyoming, in 1954. He served in the United States Army in Germany from 1955–1956 with the 10th Infantry Regiment, Fifth Infantry Division and with the 12th Armored Infantry Battalion, Second Armored Division.

He was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at the University of Wyoming.

Senator Simpson is a Freemason and holds the 33rd Degree Grand Cross from The Supreme Council 33rd Degree, Southern Masonic Jurisdiction.

Run-ins with the law

Simpson lead an interesting life as a youth, which undoubtedly helped shape his later career as a Republican politician. To quote a "friend of the Court" brief[2] filed before the United States Supreme Court in the juvenile imprisonment cases Graham v. Florida and Sullivan v. Florida:

In Simpson’s words to this Court, “I was a monster.”
One day in Cody, Wyoming, when Simpson was in high school, he and some friends “went out to do damage.” They went to an abandoned war relocation structure and decided to “torch” it. They committed arson on federal property, a crime now punishable by up to twenty years in prison if no one is hurt, see 18 U.S.C. § 844(f)(1), and punishable by up to life in prison if the arson causes a person’s death, see id. § 844(f)(3).
Luckily for Simpson, no one was injured in the blaze.
Simpson not only played with fire, but also with guns. He played a game with his friends in which they shot at rocks close to one another, at times using bullets they stole from the local hardware store. The goal of the game was to come as close as possible to striking someone without actually doing so.
Again, Simpson was lucky: no one was killed or seriously injured.
Simpson and his friends went shooting throughout their community. They fired their rifles at mailboxes, blowing holes in several and killing a cow. They fired their weapons at a road grader. “We just raised hell,” Simpson says. Federal authorities charged Simpson with destroying government property and Simpson pleaded guilty. He received two years of probation and was required to make restitution from his own funds – funds that he was supposed to obtain by holding down a job[3].

Wyoming House Of Representatives

Simpson served more than a decade in the Wyoming House of Representatives, from 1964 to 1977.

U.S. Senate

Simpson was elected to the U.S. Senate on November 7, 1978, but was appointed to the post early on January 1, 1979, following the resignation of Clifford P. Hansen. From 1985 to 1995, Simpson was the Republican whip in the Senate, having served with then Republican Leader Bob Dole of Kansas. He was chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee from 1981 to 1987 and again from 1995 to 1997 when Republicans regained control of the Senate. He also chaired the Immigration and Refugee Subcommittee of Judiciary; the Nuclear Regulation Subcommittee; the Social Security Subcommittee and the Committee on Aging. In 1995, he lost the whip's job to Trent Lott of Mississippi, and he did not seek reelection to the Senate in 1996. From 1997 to 2000, Simpson taught at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and served for two years as the Director of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School.

Simpson returned to his home of Cody and practices law there with his two lawyer sons (William and Colin) in the firm of Simpson, Kepler and Edwards. The three are also partners in the firm of Burg Simpson Eldrege Hersh and Jardine of Englewood, Colorado. Colin Simpson, the third generation of his family in Wyoming politics, is a Republican member of the Wyoming House of Representatives and served as Speaker of the House for the 59th session of the Legislature, 2008 to March 2009.

After Congressional service

Alan Simpson teaches periodically at his alma mater, the University of Wyoming at Laramie. He has completed serving as chair of the UW capital "Campaign for Distinction", which raised $204 million. That success was celebrated by the gala event, "An Extraordinary Evening", featuring former President George H.W. Bush (who had reportedly considered Simpson for the vice presidency in 1988) and Vice President Dick Cheney, another UW alumnus, and his wife, Lynne V. Cheney.

Simpson serves on the Commission for Continuity in Government. He also serves as co-chair of Americans for Campaign Reform with former Senate colleagues Bill Bradley of New Jersey, Warren Rudman of New Hampshire and Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, is active with the National Commission on Writing, is on the Advisory Board of Common Good (a legal reform coalition), is a former member of the American Battle Monuments Commission, and is a member of the Iraq Study Group.

Simpson's father, Milward Simpson, also served in the Senate and was among six Republican members who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on constitutional grounds. Alan Simpson, however, has been an outspoken advocate for access to abortion, gay and lesbian rights, and equality for all persons regardless of race, color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation. In an article in the Washington Post, the former senator wrote an article criticizing the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy stating " 'Gay' is an artificial category that says little about a person. Our differences and prejudices pale next to our historic challenge."

In 2001, Simpson became Honorary Chairman of the Republican Unity Coalition (RUC), a gay/straight alliance within the Republican Party. In this capacity, Simpson personally recruited President Gerald R. Ford to serve on the RUC's Advisory Board. The organization has since disbanded.

In 2002, Simpson got involved in the Republican gubernatorial primary on behalf of former Democrat Eli Bebout of Riverton, the seat of Fremont County. Simpson criticized Bebout's principal conservative challenger, Raymond Breedlove Hunkins of Wheatland, the seat of Platte County in southeastern Wyoming. Bebout defeated Hunkins but then lost the general election to the Democratic nominee David Duane "Dave" Freudenthal, a former United States Attorney appointed by President Bill Clinton.

In 2006, Mr. Simpson was one of twelve contributors to the Iraq Study Group Report.

In popular culture

The June 7, 1994, edition of the now-defunct supermarket tabloid Weekly World News reported that 12 U.S. Senators were aliens from other planets, including Simpson. The Associated Press ran a follow-up piece which confirmed the tongue-in-cheek participation of Senate offices in the story. Then-Senator Simpson's spokesman Charles Pelkey, when asked about Simpson's galactic origins, told the AP: "We've got only one thing to say: Klaatu barada nikto."[4] This was a reference to the 1951 science fiction classic film, The Day the Earth Stood Still, in which an alien arrives by flying saucer in Washington, D.C. Simpson also utters this phrase in a brief cameo in Men in Black.

Simpson also played himself in a cameo appearance for the 1993 film Dave. [2]

See also


  1. ^ Matthews, Chris (2002). "A Pair of Boy Scouts". Scouting Magazine. Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved 2006-12-16.  
  3. ^ Nos. 08-7412 and 08-7621 IN THE Supreme Court of the United States TERRANCE JAMAR GRAHAM Petitioner, v. FLORIDA Respondent. JOE HARRIS SULLIVAN Petitioner, v. FLORIDA Respondent. On Writs of Certiorari from the District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District, page 11. July 23, 2009.
  4. ^ "Senators Jokingly Confirm Tabloid Claim They Are Space Aliens", Associated Press, May 25, 1994

External links


  • Right in the Old Gazoo: A Lifetime of Scrapping with the Press (ISBN 0-688-11358-3, 1997, William Morrow & Company)
United States Senate
Preceded by
Clifford Hansen
United States Senator (Class 2) from Wyoming
1979 – 1997
Served alongside: Malcolm Wallop, Craig Thomas
Succeeded by
Mike Enzi
Political offices
Preceded by
Alan Cranston
Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
1981 – 1987
Succeeded by
Alan Cranston
Preceded by
Jay Rockefeller
Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
1995 – 1997
Succeeded by
Arlen Specter
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ted Stevens
Senate Republican Whip
1985 – 1995
Succeeded by
Trent Lott
Senate Majority Whip
1985 – 1987
Succeeded by
Alan Cranston
Preceded by
Alan Cranston
Senate Minority Whip
1987 – 1995
Succeeded by
Wendell Ford


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.

Alan Kooi Simpson (born 2 September 1931) is a Republican politician who served from 1979 to 1997 as a United States senator from Wyoming.



  • There is no "slippery slope" toward loss of liberty, only a long staircase where each step down must first be tolerated by the American people and their leaders.
    • As quoted in The New York Times (26 September 1982)
  • If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.
    • As quoted in Eyewitness to Power (2001) by David Gergen
  • As a lifelong Republican who served in the Army in Germany, I believe it is critical that we review — and overturn — the ban on gay service in the military. I voted for "don't ask, don't tell." But much has changed since 1993.
    My thinking shifted when I read that the military was firing translators because they are gay. According to the Government Accountability Office, more than 300 language experts have been fired under "don't ask, don't tell," including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. This when even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently acknowledged the nation's "foreign language deficit" and how much our government needs Farsi and Arabic speakers. Is there a "straight" way to translate Arabic? Is there a "gay" Farsi? My God, we'd better start talking sense before it is too late. We need every able-bodied, smart patriot to help us win this war.
  • I have had the rich satisfaction of knowing and working with many openly gay and lesbian Americans, and I have come to realize that "gay" is an artificial category when it comes to measuring a man or woman's on-the-job performance or commitment to shared goals. It says little about the person. Our differences and prejudices pale next to our historic challenge.
    • "Bigotry That Hurts Our Military" in The Washington Post (14 May 2007)


We've got only one thing to say: "Klaatu barada nikto."
  • Any education that matters is liberal. All the saving truths, all the healing graces that distinguish a good education from a bad one or a full education from a half-empty one are contained in that word.
    • Alan Simpson (b. 1912), an English born educator who became a U.S. citizen in 1954, in "The Marks of an Educated Man" in Readings for Liberal Education (1962), edited by by Louis Glenn Locke, William Merriam Gibson, and George Warren Arms, p. 47
  • An educated man is thoroughly inoculated against humbug, thinks for himself and tries to give his thoughts, in speech or on paper, some style.
    • Alan Simpson (b. 1912), on becoming president of Vassar College, as quoted in Newsweek (1 July 1963)

Quotes about Simpson

External links

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