Robert Kastenmeier

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Robert Kastenmeier
Robert Kastenmeier.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1991
Preceded by Donald Edgar Tewes
Succeeded by Scott Klug
Personal details
Robert William Kastenmeier

(1924-01-24)January 24, 1924
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
DiedMarch 20, 2015(2015-03-20) (aged 91)
Arlington, Virginia
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Dorothy Chambers
Profession Lawyer
Military service
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1943–1946
Rank First Lieutenant
Philippines Campaign (1944–45) World War II

Robert William Kastenmeier (January 24, 1924 – March 20, 2015) was a United States politician. He represented Wisconsin in the United States House of Representatives from 1959 to 1991, and was a member of the Democratic Party. [1] [2]



Kastenmeier was born in Beaver Dam, Dodge County, Wisconsin, where he attended public school. [3] He continued his education at Carleton College and at the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he received his LL.B. in 1952. After being admitted to the bar, he began the practice of law in Watertown, Wisconsin. [4]

Military service

He entered the Army as a private in February 1943 and served in the Philippines. He was discharged on August 15, 1946 as a first lieutenant. Afterwards, he served in the War Department as a branch office director in the claims service in the Philippines from 1946 to 1948. [3]

Political career

In 1955, Kastenmeier was elected justice of the peace for Jefferson and Dodge Counties, and he served until 1959.

Kastenmeier made an unsuccessful bid for Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district in 1956, losing to Republican Donald Tewes by 11 points. In a rematch in 1958 he defeated Tewes by 6,200 votes, being elected to Congress for the first time. He won a third race with Tewes in 1960, and faced another close contest in 1962. However, he romped to a fourth term in 1964. Kastenmeier overall served from the 86th Congress to the 101st Congress. [5]

As a congressman, Kastenmeier was one of the managers appointed by the House in 1986 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against Harry E. Claiborne, a judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. Kastenmeier helped to frame the impeachment resolution against Claiborne. [6]

Kastenmeier was a sponsor of the Copyright Act of 1976. [7]

In 1990, Kastenmeier unexpectedly lost his re-election bid to Republican Scott Klug, a former television anchor who was nearly 30 years his junior. [8]

The Robert W. Kastenmeier United States Courthouse of the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin was named in his honor.

Kastenmeier lived in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin [5] and then Arlington, Virginia where he died on March 20, 2015. [9]


  1. ^ Robert Kastenmeier, Wisconsin Historical Society
  2. ^ State of Wisconsin 1989-1990 Blue Book. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Administration, 1989, p. 13.
  3. ^ a b "Robert Kastenmeier, Liberal Voice in House for 32 Years, Dies at 91". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Watertown Historical Society, Robert Kastenmeier
  5. ^ a b Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005, page 493 Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  6. ^ Barone, Michael; Ujifusa, Grant (1987). The Almanac of American Politics 1988. National Journal. p. 1295.
  7. ^ Matt Schudel. " Robert W. Kastenmeier, former Wisconsin congressman, dies at 91". The Washington Post, March 21, 2015.
  8. ^ R. W. APPLE Jr. " Quiet Service Since '59, Then a Stunning Defeat". The New York Times, November 12, 1990.
  9. ^ Ex-Wisconsin Rep. Kastenmeier, early Vietnam critic, dies

Further reading

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Donald Edgar Tewes
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Scott Klug