ENG: Walter William "Wally" Herger, Jr. (born May 20, 1945) is an American politician. He was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1987 until 2013, representing California's 2nd congressional district, the largest congressional district by area in California. It covers almost all of interior northern California including, Chico, Redding and Red Bluff. On January 10, 2012, Herger announced he would not seek re-election to the House in November.
Early life, education, and early political career
Herger was born in Yuba City, California. He is of Swiss descent; his grandfather emigrated to the US from the canton of Uri in the late 19th century. Herger was raised on his family's 200-acre (0.81 km2) cattle ranch and plum farm in the northern California town of Rio Oso (between Yuba City and Sacramento).
He also worked in the family's oil and gas exploration business. He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was about 20 years old. He graduated from American River College with an Associate of Arts. He also attended California State University, Sacramento for a year. His political career started in 1976, with his election to the East Nicolaus School Board. He also served northern California in the California State Assembly from 1980–86.
U.S. House of Representatives - Elections
Herger was easily been reelected to Congress due to the "safe" Republican voter registration advantage in this district, but his election campaigns have been challenged by Democrat candidates in recent elections. The district often fields a candidate registered with a third party, such as the Libertarian party and, during the 1990s, the Natural Law Party. In 2002 and 2004, Herger defeated Democrat Mike Johnson, garnering 67% of the vote in 2004. In 2006, Herger faced Arjinderpal Sekhon and received 64% of the vote.
In 2008, Herger faced Trinity County Supervisor Jeff Morris, who did somewhat better, holding Herger to 57% of the vote. In 2010, Herger faced a Republican primary challenge from retired Colonel Pete Stiglich, and ran in the general against Democrat Jim Reed, a lawyer who divides his time between the Bay Area and Fall River. Herger prevailed with 57% of the vote.
Herger has served on the influential United States House Committee on Ways and Means since his tenure began as a federal representative. Within Ways and Means, representative Herger serves on two subcommittees, the Subcommittee on Trade, and the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support. In the 110th Congress he was named the Ranking Member of the Republican (minority) delegation to the Trade Subcommittee.
Representative Herger's participation in full committee is limited to Ways and Means, in accordance with the rules of the Committee on Ways and Means. While he chaired the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support (called the Subcommittee on Human Resources during his watch) beginning with the 107th Congress, he played a leading role in the reauthorization and expansion of the 1996 welfare reform law. He sponsored the Criminal Welfare Prevention Act, passed as part of the larger 1996 Welfare Reform Law. This bill gave additional financial incentives to law enforcement agencies that identitied fraudulent recipients of aid].
On August 18, 2009, Herger triggered controversy when he attended a town hall meeting in Redding, California, where an audience member introduced himself as a "proud right-wing terrorist" The person admitted to reporters in a private interview ten days latter, after the controversy had reached national attention, that he had misspoken, having intended to say "extremist". Herger did not immediately distance himself from the remark then and there, but, instead, after the constituent's lengthy comment, responded by saying, "Amen.
God bless you. There goes a great American." Many people, both inside and outside Herger's congressional district found his failure to respond immediately unacceptable. Herger's gaffe attained the apotheosis of national media attention when Keith Olbermann picked the story up for his show Countdown with Keith Olbermann on August 28, 2009.
Herger is married to Pamela Sargent, with whom he has 9 children and 9 grandchildren. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and sits on the United States House Committee on Ways and Means.
February 13, 2013