Steve Symms Steven Douglas Symms was an American congressman (1973-1981) and U.S. senator (1981-1993) from the state of Idaho. He was among the most conservative members of the Republican Party. He currently works for Parry, Romani & DeConcini, a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C.
Symms was born in Nampa, Idaho, on April 23, 1938. He attended public schools and graduated from the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho in 1960, with a B.S. in agriculture. After graduation, Symms served in the Marines for three years, after which he worked as a private pilot and fruit rancher on his family's farm. From 1969-1972, he was editor of the newspaper, the Idaho Compass.
In 1972, Symms was elected to the House of Representatives, and he won re-election three times, serving until 1980. In the 1980 election, he did not run for reelection in the House; instead he ran for the Senate. He unseated long-term incumbent Democrat Frank Church. Symms was reelected in 1986, when he defeated Democratic Governor John V. Evans.
Symms was one of six Republicans who voted "nay" on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Act passed by a vote of 91-6.
In the 1988 presidential election, at the behest of Lee Atwater, Symms floated a false rumor that Kitty Dukakis, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, had burned an American flag to protest the Vietnam War, as well as a claim that Dukakis himself had been treated for a mental illness.
Symms is a member of the John Birch Society.
When his wife Fran divorced him, and details of his philandering began to emerge, Symms decided not to run for re-election in 1992. He was succeeded by the Republican mayor of Boise, Dirk Kempthorne, who was later the Idaho governor and now the Interior Secretary-designate of President George W. Bush.
After leaving the Senate, he founded Symms, Lehn Associates, Inc., a consulting firm; in 2001, he left to join Parry, Romani & DeConcini.