Steve Symms, U.S. Senator

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Steven Douglas "Steve" Symms

Birthplace: Nampa, Canyon County, Idaho, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Darwin Symms and FNU Symms (Smith)
Ex-husband of <private> Symms (Stockdale)
Father of Daniel Thomas Symms
Brother of <private> Symms and <private> Mertz (Symms)

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Steve Symms, U.S. Senator

Steven Douglas "Steve" Symms (born April 23, 1938) was a four-term congressman (1973–81) and two-term U.S. senator (1981–93) from Idaho. He was among the most conservative members of the Republican Party. He is currently a partner at Parry, Romani, DeConcini & Symms, a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C.

Life and career

Symms attended public schools in Canyon County and graduated from Caldwell High School in 1956. He attended the University of Idaho in Moscow and graduated in 1960, with a B.S. in agriculture. After graduation, Symms served in the Marines for three years, after which he worked as a private pilot and apple farmer. From 1969–72, he was editor of the newspaper, the Idaho Compass.

In 1972, Symms ran for Congress with a theme tied to his apple farm. He featured a drawing of a big red apple and the slogan, "Take a bite out of big government!" He was elected to the United States Congress, and he won re-election three times, serving until 1980, when he ran for the U.S. Senate. He unseated four-term incumbent Democrat Frank Church. Symms was re-elected in 1986, defeating Democratic Governor John V. Evans.

Symms was succeeded by the Republican mayor of Boise, Dirk Kempthorne, who was later a two-term Idaho governor and from 2005 to 2009 was the United States Secretary of Interior in the Cabinet of President George W. Bush.

After leaving the U.S. Senate, he founded Symms, Lehn Associates, Inc., a consulting firm. In January 1999, he partnered with John Haddow and formed Symms & Haddow Associates, a lobbying firm. In January 2001, Steve and John joined forces with Romano Romani and former Senator Dennis DeConcini of Parry, Romani & DeConcini to form Parry, Romani, DeConcini & Symms.

Symms is a cousin of former Oregon congressman Denny Smith.

During part of his tenure in the Senate, Symms sat at the Candy desk.


Senator Symms was one of several Republican senators who in 1981 called into the White House to express his discontent over the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court; the opposition hinged over the issue of O'Connor's presumed unwillingness to overturn Roe v. Wade.

During the 1988 U.S. presidential election, Symms claimed in a radio interview that a photograph existed from the 1960s showing Kitty Dukakis, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, burning an American flag to protest the Vietnam War. Kitty Dukakis angrily denied the accusation as "totally false and beneath contempt," and Symms later admitted that he could not substantiate it. Nevertheless, the claim became national news, as media outlets began searching for the photograph Symms said he had "heard" about. The flag-burning story was one of several false rumors about Dukakis that circulated during the 1988 campaign. "Mr. Symms's comment was the third time in a few days that prominent Republicans have publicly aired allegations that the Democrats have swiftly rebutted," the New York Times reported

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Steve Symms, U.S. Senator's Timeline

April 23, 1938
Nampa, Canyon County, Idaho, United States
November 4, 1961
Age 23
Helena, Lewis and Clark County, Montana, United States