Rep. Rahall (D-WV)
Nick Rahall is a former Democratic representative from West Virginia, and the longest serving representative in U.S. history. He is of Lebanese descent and is a practicing Presbyterian. During his time in Congress, Rahall served on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, in the subcommittees on Aviation, Highway and Transit, and Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials. He served as the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee from 2007 until 2011.
Five years after graduating from Duke University, Rahall was elected to Congress in 1976 at the age of 27, the youngest member of Congress at the time, representing the West Virginia 4th district. Before running for office Rahall was a staff assistant to Senator Robert Byrd. Rahall was reelected to Congress 17 times, serving 19 terms.
Rahall has been vocally critical of the Israeli government, especially its policies regarding Palestinians. He voted against the House’s 2006 resolution to condemn Hezbollah attacks and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, and support Israel’s right to defend itself. Instead, he supported an alternative resolution that expressed similar sentiments. The bill included language urging the Israeli military to “pursue its soldiers in a measured manner.”
He is a critic of the war in Iraq, but supported the war in Afghanistan. He has travelled to the Middle East on several occasions, having met with Yasser Arafat in Jordan where Rahall received the Jordanian award for Public Service. Arafat was the first president of the Palestinian National Authority, and he remains a controversial figure. Depending on whom you talk to he is either a terrorist or a freedom fighter.
Rahall is a supporter of the coal industry in West Virginia. In 2010, he helped block a bill that would prohibit coal companies from putting mining waste in Appalachian streams.
But, he is critical of industrial practices that have led to increased levels of carbon dioxide and other green houses gasses into the atmosphere. These, he believes, contribute heavily to man-made climate change.
He is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, and received an ‘A’ rating from the association in 2014.
Since his departure from politics, Rahall has joined the lobbying firm, Cassidy & Associates, specializing in transportation and natural resources. He lives with his wife Melinda and his three kids in Beckley,West Virginia.