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|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Missouri's 5th district
January 3, 1983 - January 3, 1995
|Member of the Missouri House of Representatives|
from the 26th district
January 1977 - January 1983
|Born||October 16, 1951|
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Education||Grinnell College (BA)|
His father was James Wheat, an officer and civil engineer in the U.S. Air Force. His mother Emogene (Jean) Wheat was a teacher. Since his father served in the USAF, he grew up in air bases and went to schools in Wichita, Kansas, and Seville in Spain. In 1968, he graduated from Airline High School in Bossier City, Louisiana. Wheat was hired by the Department of Housing and Urban Development as an economist in 1972 after passing his B.A. in economics at Grinnell College, in Iowa. Between 1973 and 1975 he joined the Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City for the same role. In 1975 he then became an aide to Mike White a Jackson County, Missouri, executive. In 1976, he won the election to the Missouri general assembly, at the age of 25 and stayed there until 1982.
When Congressman Richard Walker Bolling had to retire after the 1982 House of Representative election, Wheat won the Democratic primary by only 1,004 votes (11%). He went on to win the general election to succeed Bolling by beating Republican John Sharp with 58% of the votes.
Wheat was the youngest member of the United States House of Representatives ever to be appointed to the Rules Committee, and was also the first African-American to represent a district with a non-liberal white majority. He was also a member of the United States House Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families
After United States Senator John Danforth said he would not run for re-election in the 1994 election, Wheat chose to leave the House and instead run for Danforth's seat. Wheat lost the general election to former governor John Ashcroft. Karen McCarthy was elected to succeed him in the House.
After his Senate race, Wheat was chosen as vice president of Public Policy and Government Relations at CARE. He served as deputy campaign manager and director of constituent outreach of President Bill Clinton's re-election campaign in 1996. In 1997, Wheat formed the lobbying group Wheat Government Relations. Wheat Government Relations is a full service lobbying firm representing clients on a broad range of issues including: Health Care, Energy, Financial Services, Education, Telecommunications, Information Technology, etc.
Wheat currently serves on the Board of Directors at CARE.
Wheat has three children.