Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA)

Congressional Arts Leadership
2001

For more than 20 years, Congressman Norm Dicks has given valuable voice to the importance of the National Endowment for the Arts, and to community cultural life in his home state of Washington. He received a rare first-term appointment to the House Appropriations Committee in 1976, and was an early supporter of federal funding for the arts. In 1990 he helped raise the NEA's budget to an all-time high of $170 million, and his reputation as a fair and conscientious lawmaker served the NEA well in the years to follow when the agency came under severe attack - Congressman Dicks' indefatigable efforts helped make sure the government's role in funding the arts was not only understood, but upheld by his colleagues.

Time and again, Congressman Dicks has taken to the House floor to cite crucial facts and set the record straight when it comes to NEA grant money - his informed, inspired debate in time of great controversy has enlightened agency critics and brought to the forefront the many benefits of federal funding for the arts, such as increased access to cultural activities and arts education. He has seen these benefits first hand in his district, including the revitalization of downtown Tacoma and youth arts programs in nearby Seattle. In his hometown of Bremerton, he spearheaded an effort to restore and reopen the Admiral Theater, which has played an important role in downtown development. The Congressman's passion extends to the issues of economic and community development, and he has been successful in his historic preservation and restoration efforts in the Puget Sound area, including Tacoma's Union Station.

Congressman Dicks has always supported the highest level of funding possible for the NEA, and is leading the effort to bring the budget back to, and beyond, its 1990 high. In these volatile times, his steadfast support is extraordinary, and a reflection of the spirited mix of determination and dignity with which he holds office. From Washington State to Washington, D.C., Congressman Dicks is a well-recognized patron of the arts. He serves as a member of the Board of the Washington Opera, and avidly supports events that sustain the Kennedy Center, Fords Theater and other cultural institutions in the nation's capital. In addition, he currently serves on the board of Visitors of the U.S. Air Force Academy and on the Congressional Advisory Council of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation. Congressman Dicks and his wife Suzanne have two children.