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Richard H. Lehman


Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 18th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by Bill Thomas
Succeeded by George Radanovich

Born July 20, 1948 (1948-07-20) (age 61)
Fresno, California
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Virginia Lehman
Religion Lutheran

Richard Henry Lehman (born July 20, 1948) is a former member of the United States House of Representatives from California who served from 1983 to 1995; he was previously a member of the California State Assembly.

Lehman was born in Fresno, California, and attended local public schools. He attended Fresno City College before transferring to the University of California at Santa Cruz from which he earned his degree. Upon graduating from college, he enlisted as a reservist in the National Guard and received a job as a staff member for California State Senator George Zenovich. In 1976, Lehman was elected to the State Assembly as a Democrat. He rose quickly through the ranks, becoming assistant majority leader by 1978. In 1983, he successfully ran for a seat in Congress, representing a newly-created district in Fresno. He was reelected five times.

Lehman was known in Congress for his passionate commitments to important causes such as environmental protection, recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and gun control. He was able to strike delicate balances on many of these issues, a particularly important skill given the increasingly conservative nature of his Fresno-based congressional district. His notable successes include playing instrumental roles in passage of laws to protect the Kings and Tuolumne Rivers, the California Desert Protection Act, and expansions of wilderness areas in the Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.

Lehman's district was made considerably more Republican after the 1990s' round of redistricting. It was renumbered the 19th District, and pushed further to the north, incorporating some more rural territory in the Sierra Nevada. At the same time, he lost his share of Stockton to the new 10th District, and lost most of his Latino constituents to the neighboring 20th District. Lehman barely held onto his seat in 1992, winning by only 1,100 votes over Republican Tal Cloud, a businessman from Fresno. This led to speculation that the 19th would not stay Democratic for long. In 1994, Lehman was swept from office in the Republican Revolution, losing to Republican George Radanovich by a shocking 17-point margin--one of the largest margins of defeat for an incumbent that year.

Lehman is currently a partner for the Sacramento-based lobbying firm Lehman and English. He also serves as a member of the board of the National Parks Trusts, the Mono Lakes Committee, and is on the board of directors of Premier Valley Bank in Fresno.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Ernest N. Mobley
California State Assemblyman, 31st District
1976-1982
Succeeded by
Bruce Bronzan
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bill Thomas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 18th congressional district

1983–1993
Succeeded by
Gary Condit
Preceded by
Robert J. Lagomarsino
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 19th congressional district

1993–1995
Succeeded by
George Radanovich
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