Norm Dicks, a native of Bremerton, Washington, was elected to Congress in November 1976. Educated in Bremerton-area elementary and schools, Rep. Dicks graduated from the University of Washington in 1963. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 1968 and later that year joined the staff of Senator Warren G. Magnuson. He served as Legislative Assistant until 1973, when he became the Senator's Administrative Assistant. He resigned from that post in early 1976 to begin what was a successful campaign for Congress in Washington State's 6th Congressional District, and he has been re-elected in every election since that time.

In Congress

Having received a rare first-term appointment to the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Dicks currently serves as the top-Ranking Democratic member of the full Appropriations Committee, as well as the ranking Democratic member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

Career Highlights

Rep. Dicks has been an influential, moderate Member of Congress on defense and national security issues. During the 1980's he was involved in all of the major arms control debates in Congress, and was appointed to serve as an official observer to the US-Soviet arms reduction talks because of his expertise. His familiarity with highly classified defense programs led to his appointment in 1990 to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, on which he served for eight years. From 1995 through 1998, he served as the ranking Democratic Member of the House Intelligence Committee, and in 1998 was named the Ranking Democrat on a special Select Committee investigating technology transfer to China. Rep. Dicks was awarded the CIA Director’s Medal, among other honors, upon completion of his service on the Intelligence Committee in late 1998.

The environment has always been a high priority for Rep. Dicks, who has served on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee during his entire tenure in Congress. In 1984 he was responsible for a key addition – the Clearwater area– to the Washington Wilderness bill and he has consistently succeeded in funding other critical additions to National Parks and roadless areas in Washington State. In the late 1980s and early 1990s he was involved in the regional effort to develop a response to the listing of the Northern Spotted Owl, which resulted in reductions of timber harvesting on federal lands. During the Clinton-Gore Administration, he worked with all of the relevant federal agencies to assemble a program of federal assistance to affected forest workers and timber communities, which has totaled more than $1.2 billion in the past six years and which continues today.   He also worked with the Clinton-Gore Administration to bring federal assistance to the west coast states to address the listings of threatened salmon runs.  One of his most significant environmental achievements came in September, 2000, as Rep. Dicks wrote a landmark bill that created a new federal lands conservation trust.  This bill doubled the nation's commitment to preserving threatened parklands and protecting wildlife over a six year period. In 2007 Rep. Dicks became Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and he immediately launched an effort to restore funding for the operations accounts of America's National Parks, which had suffered from years of constrained budgets that, in his view, diminished the visitor experience at many of the park units.  As Chairman he also helped to increase support for the EPA’s research and remedial efforts to restore major estuaries around the United States, including Puget Sound.

In 2010 Rep. Dicks became Chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and currently serves as the Ranking Democratic Member of that panel.

At home, he has been known as an aggressive champion of economic development funds for local communities, and he was successful in bringing Urban Development Action Grants and other federal programs to spur the revitalization of downtown Tacoma and to re-develop the waterfront areas of Bremerton. He launched the effort to restore Tacoma’s Union Station by turning it into a federal courthouse, and was a major advocate for locating a branch campus of the University of Washington in downtown Tacoma. Rep. Dicks was also the instigator of a landmark land claims settlement, as he led the effort to resolve land claims made by the Puyallup Tribe that were clouding titles to important port, industrial and residential property in Pierce County. After years of negotiations, the settlement agreement was reached and Rep. Dicks introduced the legislation which authorized and appropriated the federal share of the settlement. In Bremerton, he has worked with the Navy and the local community to build new housing and to create incentives for improving the existing housing stock. He co-chaired an effort to preserve and restore the Admiral Theatre, and is currently supporting the concept of a downtown/waterfront retail development that will boost the city’s tax base and improve the quality of life for Navy personnel stationed at Bremerton. Rep. Dicks’ amendment to a highway reauthorization bill created a separate federal program for ferry system funding, and he is currently supporting an effort to launch a new fast passenger-only ferry run from Bremerton-to-Seattle.

Professional Associations

Rep. Dicks currently serves on the Congressional Advisory Council of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and on the Board of Advisors of the National Bureau of Asian Research.  He is a member of the Washington State Bar and District of Columbia Bar, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In Washington State, he serves as an honorary member of Rotary and Kiwanis clubs in his district, and as a member of the Puget Sound Naval Bases Association.


Born December 16, 1940, Rep. Dicks is married to the former Suzanne Callison. They have two children, David and Ryan.

Norm's Family. Pictured from left to right are Ryan Dicks, his wife Ann, Norm, his late mother Eileen, his wife Suzie, and David Dicks with his wife Antonia.


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