Born In Stamford, Texas. Grew up on a farm in Ericksdahl, a Swedish Community 9 miles east of Stamford. Graduated from Stamford High School in 1957. Active in sports and FFA. Graduated from Tarleton State Jr. college in 1959. Played football and basketball for the Plowboys. Member of ROTC and FFA. Today teaches a class on agriculture and energy policy at Tarleton State University. Attended Texas Tech where he earned a B.S. and M.S. in agriculture education. Upon graduation taught Vocational Agriculture at Avoca and began farming with father on family farm. Became Executive Vice President of Rolling Plains Cotton Growers in 1965. Became General Manager of Stamford Electric Cooperative in 1969. Resigned to devote full time to farming in 1977. Elected to Congress in 1978. Served the 32 County 17th District for 13 terms. On House Agriculture Committee serving as ranking Democrat last 8 years. Earned a reputation for building bi-partisan alliances on agriculture, energy, budget, rural healthcare, and social security. Has received Honorary Doctor of Laws Degrees from Abilene Christian University, Hardin Simmons University, and McMurry University.
2005 to 2016 he served as Senior Policy Advisor for OFW LAW in Washington D.C. Now serves on the. Boards of The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and the Concord Coalition.
He and his wife of 59 years, Cindy, have 3 children Chris, Cary, and Courtney and 4 grandchildren Cole, Chase, Cameron, and Chandler. Home is now Granbury where they are enjoying semi-retirement, playing a lot of bridge and golf and enjoying the grandchildren. Members of Bethel Lutheran Church at Ericksdahl and Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Granbury.