John Paul Hammerschmidt
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Arkansas's 3rd district
January 3, 1967 - January 3, 1993
|James William Trimble|
|Chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party|
|William L. Spicer|
|Lloyd Vance Stone Jr.|
|Winthrop Paul Rockefeller|
|Republican National Committeeman|
|A. Lynn Lowe|
|Born||May 4, 1922|
Harrison, Arkansas, U.S.
|Died||April 1, 2015 (aged 92)|
Springdale, Arkansas, U.S.
|Alma mater||Oklahoma State University (BS)|
|Branch/service|| United States Army Air Corps|
United States Air Force Reserve
District of Columbia Army Reserves
|Years of service||1942-1945 (Army Air Corps)|
1977-1981 (Army Reserves)
|Battles/wars||World War II (South-East Asian theatre)|
|Awards||Distinguished Flying Cross with three Oak leaf clusters|
John Paul Hammerschmidt (May 4, 1922 – April 1, 2015) was an American politician from the state of Arkansas. A Republican, Hammerschmidt served for thirteen terms in the United States House of Representatives for Arkansas's 3rd congressional district located in the northwestern quadrant of his state. He served from 1967 until his retirement in 1993.
In 1974, a nationally Democratic year, he secured his fifth term by defeating the then 28-year-old future President Bill Clinton. He was also the first Republican elected to the House of Representatives from Arkansas since Reconstruction. Coincidentally, Hammerschmidt left the House the same month in which Clinton became president.
Born in Harrison in Boone County in northwestern Arkansas, Hammerschmidt was the fourth of five children of the former Junie Mildred Taylor and Arthur Paul Hammerschmidt. Both sets of grandparents migrated to Boone County in the early years of the 20th century and were of German descent. He graduated in 1938 from Harrison High School.
Hammerschmidt served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. In 1942, he joined the 3rd Combat Cargo Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps and served in the China-Burma-India theater until the end of the war in 1945. Hammerschmidt received the Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters for his service in the war.
Hammerschmidt returned to the United States and attended Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) at Stillwater, Oklahoma, from 1945 to 1946, having received a Bachelor of Science degree. He then entered the lumber industry, working at the Hammerschmidt Lumber Company, which had been founded by his grandfather, and becoming its president. Hammerschmidt also was president of the Construction Products Company and the Arkansas Lumber Dealers Association and Southwestern Lumberman's Association.
Hammerschmidt was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, and 1988. He was twice the state chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, serving from 1964 to 1966 and again from 2002 to 2004. His successor as chairman in 1966, Odell Pollard of Searcy in White County, died three weeks before the death of Hammerschmidt.
In the 1966 election, Hammerschmidt won the Republican nomination for his 3rd district and then defeated the incumbent Democrat, James William Trimble, by more than nine thousand votes. He became the first Republican to represent Arkansas in Congress since Reconstruction. Hammerschmidt was elected twelve more times, having served twenty-six years from January 3, 1967 to January 3, 1993, from the 90th Congress to the 102nd Congress. He became very popular in his district, even though most of its residents had never been represented by a Republican before. The 3rd has always been a rather conservative district; it has only supported a Democrat for president twice since 1952.
Hammerschmidt would only face another contest anywhere near as close as his initial bid for the seat. In the 1974 election, he defeated Bill Clinton (then a University of Arkansas law professor) by only 6,400 votes. Clinton had harshly criticized Hammerschmidt for being one of the few Republicans to stand by Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. This election was one of only four in which Democrats received more than one-third of the vote against Hammerschmidt (the others being Hardy Croxton in 1968, Donald Poe in 1970, and the former Clinton associate James McDougal in 1982). The district reverted to form in 1976, when Hammerschmidt was reelected unopposed. In 1978, Hammerschmidt faced weak opposition from the Hot Springs real estate broker William C. Mears and instead had the resources to help the Republican gubernatorial nominee, A. Lynn Lowe, a farmer from Texarkana, win in Boone County. Lowe, who also was the state party chairman, lost, however, to Hammerschmidt's former opponent, Bill Clinton, by an approximate margin of 63-37 percent.
Hammerschmidt was a member of the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (PCAST) which was organized in September 1989 to review and report on aviation security policy in the light of the sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988.
Hammerschmidt had a conservative voting record on foreign policy and social issues, but a slightly more moderate record on economic issues. He supported an amendment proposing to enact Flag Desecration Laws.
Hammerschmidt was in the Air Force Reserve from 1945 to 1960 and the Army Reserve from 1977 to 1981. He was a Presbyterian and a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Freemasons, Shriners, Elks, Rotary International, and had alumni status at the Alpha Zeta chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. From 1999 to 2004, he was a trustee of Arkansas State University at Jonesboro. Hammerschmidt died at the age of 92 of heart and respiratory failure at a hospital in Springdale, Arkansas.
The John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Building near the Fayetteville Historic Square is home to the Fayetteville office of the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.
Interstate 49 in Arkansas is designated as the John Paul Hammerschmidt Highway in northwest Arkansas.
John Paul Hammerschmidt was born on May 4, 1922, in Harrison to Arthur Paul and Junie M. Hammerschmidt. Hammerschmidt was the fourth of five children. Both sets of grandparents migrated to Boone County in the early years of the twentieth century and were of German descent.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
James William Trimble
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 3rd congressional district
|Party political offices|
William L. Spicer
| Chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party
John Paul Hammerschmidt
| Republican National Committeeman
John Paul Hammerschmidt