Charles W. Stenholm Charles Walter "Charlie" Stenholm, (born October 26, 1938) is a politician from the state of Texas. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives for 13 terms, from 1979 to 2005.
Stenholm was born in Stamford, Texas and he graduated from Texas Tech University - with a B.S. (1961) and an M.S. (1962) in Agriculture Education (1961). He has operated a cotton farm in West Texas for many years.
Stenholm was elected to the House as a Democrat in 1978, representing the Abilene-based 17th District. He became one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, and was a leader of the Boll Weevils during the 1980s. Stenholm opposed abortion and gun control. However, his main interests were in agriculture and budget matters. For six years, he was ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee. He worked very closely with the committee's chairman, Republican Larry Combest of the neighboring 19th District, to shepherd the 2002 Farm Bill through Congress. He was a longtime supporter of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
Stenholm frequently clashed with President Bill Clinton, and voted for three of the four articles of impeachment against him. However, he was a severe critic of the Bush Administration's fiscal policy, and voted against making Bush's tax cut permanent.
Despite his moderate-to-conservative voting record, Stenholm faced several tough reelection campaigns in the late 1990s. It was generally believed that he would be succeeded by a Republican once he retired. However, he was a major target of the Tom DeLay-engineered redrawing of Texas' congressional districts in 2003. Stenholm's district was split among three districts. Most of his former territory, including his home in Abilene, was thrown into the Lubbock-based 19th District, represented by Combest's successor, Randy Neugebauer. The new district retained most of Neugebauer's former territory, an advantage that Stenholm was unable to overcome despite his seniority in the House. He lost by 10 percentage points.
After his defeat, he was mentioned by some major news organizations as a possible candidate for Secretary of Agriculture in President Bush's second term Cabinet, despite Bush's support of the redistricting plan. In the end, Bush nominated Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns, a fellow Republican, for the post. Stenholm is curretly a lobbyist representing various agricultural interests, including the horse meat industry.