The Honorable Robert Michel of Illinois, who died on February 17 at age 93, served as minority leader for 14 years, the longest-serving minority leader in the U.S. House. The Republican congressman represented Illinois’s 18th congressional district from 1957 to 1995.
“Robert Michel was an exemplary public servant who put the needs of his constituents and his country above party politics,” said The Honorable John Edward Porter, Research!America’s Board Chair. “He reached across the aisle and worked with Republicans and Democrats alike to achieve common goals and address critical issues that impacted the health and prosperity of our nation.”
After leaving Congress, he served as senior advisor to the Campaign for Medical Research and joined the lobbying firm Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) where he worked toward doubling the National Institutes of Health’s budget with the late Honorable Paul G. Rogers.
President Clinton presented Michel with the Medal of Freedom in 1994, the nation’s highest civilian honor, saying Michel “served our nation well, choosing the pragmatic but harder course of conciliation more often than the divisive but easier course of confrontation.” Michel was honored for his work with the Congressional Distinguished Service Award in 2003 and the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy at the 2004 Advocacy Awards Dinner.