Dale Bumpers was born in 1925 and brought up in Charleston, Arkansas. When he was a young boy, the U.S. underwent through the Great Depression forcing Bumpers to do odd jobs to support his family. Bumpers spent the better part of the Great depression working in farms, canneries, and even acted as the hearse driver in his father’s funeral.
During that period, he also worked as an attendant in a small grocery store. Before passing away, the senior Bumpers had served a one term as a state legislator. From a young age, the senior Bumpers taught his son that being elected in to a political office was the biggest achievement that a man could have. This must have been the young man’s motivation for his political career later on in life. (Worrell 1)
As a young boy, Dale Bumpers spent his life within Arkansas. He attended public schools within his hometown and even went to the University of Arkansas where he got his undergraduate. Finally, he attended the Northwestern University Law School in Chicago where he attained his graduate degree in law.
Before joining the University for his Graduate Degree in law, Bumpers first had a brief stint in the U.S. military. During World War II, that lasted from 1943-1946, he served in the American Marine Corps. During his university days, Bumpers became a great admirer of Democratic politics especially those of its presidential candidate Aldai Ewing Stevenson. Bumpers completed his law degree in 1952 and was admitted into the Arkansas bar the same year.
In the same year, he became the Charleston city attorney a position he held until 1970. His experience as the Charleston attorney inspired him to write an autobiography The Best Lawyer in a One-Lawyer Town: A Memoir that was published in 2003. (Bumpers 8)
Although Bumpers had long been interested in politics, he had not made his political ambitions explicit. However, this changed in 1970 when he suddenly announced his interest for the governorship seat on a Democratic part ticket.
However, some thought this to be impossible as he had to battle for the nomination with other established candidates led by a former Governor Orval Faubus and Joe Purcell who was the then Attorney General among others. Although he was a newcomer with no big name to his cap, he won the people’s heart with his rich spoken language and personal charisma. During the first round of the elections, Bumper managed to go into the runoff stage with a previous governor Orval Faubus.
Although Bumpers had a slim victory that led him to the runoff, he got a landslide victory during the next phase of the elections. When the general election finally came, Bumpers emerged victorious over Winthrop Rockefeller the then serving Republican Governor. His election as the governor marked his long political career in the United States. He was reelected as the governor in 1972 again defeating a serious pool of both Democratic and Republican contenders. (Biographical Directory of the United States Congress)
The political career of Dale Bumpers continued to shine brighter and brighter leading into his election into the United States Senate in 1974.
This was a position that Bumpers would hold for four consecutive terms until his retirement in 1998. In 1974, he won against John Harris Jones and in 1980 he defeated William Clark who was a Democratic turned Republican. In the 1986 elections Bumpers was able to retain his seat by defeating Asa Hutchinson a trend that he maintained in 1992 when he trounced future Governor Mike Huckabee. In 1998, he was ineligible for reelection having served the maximum four terms and he retired gracefully from elective office. (Blair 72)
As a federal government official, Bumpers chaired many committees, which were mandated with bettering the welfare of the American people. This included chairing the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, which was mandated with raising the standards of small business people in America. Before his retirement, he also served as a junior member of a committee tasked with looking into Energy and Natural Resources affairs.
After his retirement, Bumpers helped his long time friend and the then President Bill Clinton escape an impeachment trial against him. (The Pbs NewsHour) Even after retirement, Bumpers and his wife continued to support their noble cause of childhood vaccination. This led to the establishment of the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center that seeks to further research in vaccine growth. Today, Dale Bumpers is regarded as one of the greatest American senators who are still alive.
Dale Bumpers endured a challenging childhood to become one of the greatest politicians that America has ever produced. During his childhood, Bumpers had to perform odd chores in order to pay his bills. However, he beat all the odds to become an attorney and later a Governor.
He was later elected in the Senate for four consecutive terms until his retirement in 1998. During his tenure as a senator, Bumpers served in many key committees including the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. After his retirement, his defense helped President Clinton to overcome an impeachment trial against him.
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Bumpers, Dale, (1925- ), n.d. Web. Oct 25. 2010.
Blair, Diane. The Big Three of Late Twentieth-Century Arkansas Politics: Dale Bumpers, Bill Clinton and David Pryor. The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, 1995. 53-79. Print.
Bumpers, Dale. The Best Lawyer in a One-Lawyer Town: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 2003. 1-12. Print
The Pbs NewsHour. The Impeachment Trial. Former Senator Dale Bumpers, 1999. Web. Oct 31. 2010.
Worrell, Diane. The Arkansian. Senator Dale Bumpers Project Begins, 2010. 1-36. Print