10 Oldest Senators In the US History

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Currently, Republicans’ median age is 59, and Democrats’ average is 61. Similarly examining each of the chambers, the average also varies considerably: the Senate’s average is 67-years-old, while the House’s average age is 57. So it seems that younger representatives are more likely to belong to the Democratic party.

Why does this matter?

As another election year begins, older senators continue to hold office and win primaries as younger people question why they don’t run for office themselves. The lack of diversity in age, gender, and race is concerning to many Americans.

How does this compare with other countries?

The United States House of Representatives has a median age (50) lower than the average global citizen (52). But other countries like Germany and Japan have even younger representatives: 38 and 39 years old respectively.

What if I know nothing about politics?

Don’t fret! The beauty of this list is that it doesn’t require you to understand the political system. We’ve included an easy-to-understand description of age, term limits, and government branches for each senator so everyone can enjoy reading.

So who are these old senators? Let’s explore some of the oldest Senators that have served America the longest today!

10 Oldest SittingU.S. Senators 

#10. Angus King (I-ME)

Biden considers Angus King for top intelligence post. Source: politico.com

Angus King is the junior United States Senator from Maine, and he’s also one of the oldest senators in the country. 

Angus was born on March 31, 1944, in Alexandria, Virginia. He earned his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1966, and then went on to earn his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1969. Angus worked as a lawyer and business executive before being elected to Congress in 1994. 

He served as the Independent Governor of Maine from 1995 to 2003, and then was elected to the Senate in 2012. Angus is currently 77 years old.

What peope like about senator Angus King

1. Angus King is a successful businessman

2. He has a law degree from Harvard

3. He was elected to Congress in 1994

4. He was the Independent Governor of Maine from 1995 to 2003

5. He was elected to the Senate in 2012

6. People like that he is a independent senator

What peope don’t like about senator Angus King

1. Angus King has been in the Senate for a long time

2. He is not very popular with younger voters because he doesn’t support progressive causes

3. His voting record is more conservative than many other senators, which makes him less appealing to Democrats

4. The lack of diversity in age, gender, and race is concerning to many Americans

5. People don’t like that Angus King was an Independent Governor of Maine from 1995 to 2003 because they think it means he’s too independent minded

6. They also don’t like that his voting record is more conservative than most other Senators because they think it means he won’t work well with others on both sides of the aisle

Next steps:

#9. Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Trump Decertifying Iran Deal Puts U.S. Credibility ‘In Jeopardy,’ Sen. Ben Cardin Says. Source: wbur.org

Benjamin Louis Cardin was born on October 5, 1943, in Baltimore, Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Baltimore School of Law. 

He served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1967 to 1987 and as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1987 to 2007. He has been a member of the United States Senate since 2007 and is currently the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

What people like about senator Ben Cardin

1. Ben Cardin is known for his honesty

2. He’s willing to work with both parties to get things done

3. He’s a strong advocate for renewable energy

4. He speaks out against the Trump administration’s policies

5. People like that he’s not affiliated with any party

What people don’t like about senator Ben Cardin

1. People don’t like that he’s not affiliated with any party and that he switches sides often

2. He doesn’t speak out against the Trump administration’s policies

3. Ben Cardin is known for his honesty, but people are concerned about this because they think it means he can be bribed or bought off by other politicians

4. He has been accused of being a “career politician” who never actually tried to make a difference in the world outside of Congress

5. Critics say that he is too focused on foreign policy, which isn’t an issue most Americans care about enough to vote for him

6. Some people dislike how much time Senator Cardin spends negotiating with other countries instead of focusing on their fellow Americans

Next steps:

#8. Jim Risch (R-ID)

US Senator James Elroy Risch. Source: thehill.com

Born in 1944, Jim Risch is one of the oldest senators in the United States. He was elected to the Senate in 2009, and he currently serves on the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; the Committee on Environment and Public Works; and the Committee on Indian Affairs.

He served as a Republican senator from the state of Idaho. 

What people like about senator Jim Risch

1. He is one of the oldest senators in the United States

2. He has served as a Republican senator from Idaho since 2009

3. He currently serves on three committees in the Senate, including Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Environment and Public Works; and Indian Affairs

4. Those who like him say he’s knowledgeable about agriculture, nutrition, environment, public works, and Indian affairs  – which are all important topics for senators to know about

5. Those who don’t like him mention that he votes along party lines most of the time without considering other viewpoints or opinions

What people don’t like about senator Jim Risch

1. He is known for his opposition to the Trump administration and speeches he has given on DACA, human rights, and foreign policy

2. People do not like that he is very liberal and votes along party lines most of the time

3. Some people also mention they appreciate his willingness to work with both parties

4. Resolve to Work Together

Next steps:

#7. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

McConnell calls Jan. 6 certification his “most consequential vote”. Source: axios.com

Mitch McConnell is the Republican Majority Leader of the United States Senate. He has served as a U.S. Senator from Kentucky since 1985. He is currently the second-longest-serving U.S. Senator in the history of Kentucky, and is the longest-serving Republican U.S. Senator in the history of Kentucky.

What people like about Mitch McConnell 

1. McConnell is a very experienced senator

2. He has served in the Senate for a long time

3. He’s been a part of many important decisions

4. He’s known for his strong conservative views

5. He’s been a vocal opponent of the Obama administration

6. He’s fighting to get Trump’s agenda through Congress

What people don’t like about Mitch McConnell 

1. He has been a part of many important decisions that have hurt the people he represents

2. He’s known for his strong conservative views and is an opponent to Obama’s administration

3. He’s fighting to get Trump’s agenda through Congress

4. McConnell is a very experienced senator, but some people don’t like how he votes along party lines most of the time

5. People don’t feel that Mitch McConnell represents them well because they’re not on the same side as him politically

6. His actions in recent years have made it harder for Kentuckians to access healthcare and affordable housing, while giving tax breaks to corporations and billionaires

Next steps:

#6. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Bernie Sanders makes a play for Biden Labor secretary. Source: politico.com

Bernie Sanders was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1941. After graduating from college, he moved to Vermont and started his political career there. He is currently serving his second term as an Independent senator from Vermont. He is the longest-serving independent member of Congress in American history. Sanders is also the oldest U.S. Senator, at 80 years old.

What people like about senator Bernie Sanders

1. People like that Bernie Sanders is a powerful independent senator who stands up for what he believes in.

2. People appreciate that Bernie Sanders has been fighting for progressive values his entire career.

3. Many people believe that Bernie Sanders is the most honest politician in America.

4. Bernie Sanders is known for being very consistent and always sticking to his beliefs.

What people don’t like about senator Bernie Sanders

1. Bernie Sanders is known for being very consistent and always sticking to his beliefs, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view.

2. Some people feel that Bernie Sanders is too idealistic and doesn’t understand how the real world works.

3. Others believe that Bernie Sanders’ policies are unrealistic and would never actually work in the real world.

4. Some people think that Bernie Sanders is too old and isn’t really up for the job anymore.

Next steps:

#5. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Sen. Patrick Leahy Discharged From Hospital, ‘Looks Forward To Getting Back To Work’. Source: forbes.com

Patrick Leahy was born on March 31, 1940, in Montpelier, Vermont. He is a graduate of Saint Michael’s College and Georgetown University Law Center. Leahy served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army from 1962-1964. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in November of 1974 and took office on January 3, 1975. He is currently the longest-serving Democrat in the Senate, as well as the second-longest serving senator in U.S. history.

The late Robert Byrd served as secretary of the Senate Democratic Caucus, Senate Majority Whip, Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, and President pro tempore of the United States Senate. But, he was briefly a member of the Ku Klux Klan during the 1940s. (A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party or movement.)

What people like about Senator Patrick Leahy 

1. Patrick Leahy is a long-serving senator who has a lot of experience in politics

2. He is known for being very consistent and always sticking to his beliefs

3. People appreciate that he is a powerful independent senator who stands up for what he believes in

4. He is also known for being very honest and straightforward with the people he represents

5. Patrick Leahy is someone who cares about the people of his state and always puts their needs first

6. He has a strong record on human rights and social justice, which makes him an important ally for progressives everywhere

7. Lastly, Patrick Leahy is someone who truly believes in democracy and the power of the people to make change

What people don’t like about Senator Patrick Leahy

1. Some people feel that Patrick Leahy is too consistent and doesn’t understand how the real world works.

2. Others believe that Patrick Leahy’s policies are unrealistic and would never actually work in the real world.

3. Some people think that Patrick Leahy is too old and isn’t really up for the job anymore.

Statement On The Leahy Amendment Continuing Resolution

Next steps:

#4. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)

Inhofe to announce reelection decision in March. Source: rollcall.com

Inhofe has been a senator since 1994 and is currently the oldest senator in the United States. He is a member of the Republican Party and serves on the Committee on Armed Services. Inhofe is also an outspoken climate change skeptic and has stated that he does not believe that humans are responsible for climate change.

What people like about Senator Jim Inhofe

1. Jim Inhofe is a long-serving senator who has a lot of experience in politics

2. He is known for being very consistent and always sticking to his beliefs

3. People appreciate that he is an outspoken climate change skeptic and states that humans are not responsible for climate change, which makes him an important ally for the Republican Party and conservatives everywhere

4. Jim Inhofe also serves on the Committee on Armed Services, so people know they can count on him to be strong when it comes to national security issues

5. Lastly, Jim Inhofe cares about the people of his state and always puts their needs first, which means he will fight hard against any legislation or policies that would hurt Oklahoma

What people don’t like about Senator Jim Inhofe

1. Senator Jim Inhofe is a climate change denier

2. He has made multiple speeches about the lack of evidence for global warming

3. His voting record on environmental issues is terrible, and he has voted against protecting endangered species every time

4. He also opposes regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act because it would be “job-killing”

5. Senator James M Inhofe believes that manmade contributions to climate change are minimal or nonexistent, despite all scientific evidence showing otherwise

6. President Trump nominated him to lead the Environmental Protection Agency in December 2016 but his nomination was blocked by Senate Democrats who cited his history of opposition to EPA regulations as a reason for their opposition

Next steps:

#3. Richard Shelby (R-AL)

Shelby opposed the spending bill he loaded with goodies. Source: politico.com

Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, is currently the oldest senator in the United States. He was born in April of 1932, which makes him 87 years old. Shelby has been in office since 1987 and shows no signs of retiring any time soon!

Do you know this? Shelby has been a Senator from Alabama for over 33 years and is the longest-serving member of his party.

What people like about Senator Richard Shelby

1. Senator Richard Shelby is a veteran politician

2. He has a long history of service to the people of Alabama

3. He is well-known for his conservative values

4. Shelby is a strong advocate for small businesses

5. He has a record of voting in favor of tax cuts and deregulation

6. He is also pro-life and supports gun rights

7. Shelby has been critical of President Trump, but does not oppose him outright

What people don’t like about Senator Richard Shelby

1. People don’t like that he’s been in office for a long time

2. He doesn’t seem to care about the people of Alabama

3. He’s not very accessible to his constituents

4. He supports Donald Trump wholeheartedly

Next steps:

#2. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Sen. Chuck Grassley Sets the Financial Agenda. Source: aarp.org

Chuck Grassley is the senior United States Senator from Iowa and has been in office since 1981. He is a member of the Republican Party and has been influential in agriculture policy. At 88 years old, he is currently the oldest senator in the United States.

What people like about Senator Chuck Grassley

1. He’s been in office for a long time

2. He is an influential member of the Senate

3. He has supported Donald Trump wholeheartedly

4. His work with agriculture policy has helped Iowa farmers immensely

What people don’t like about Senator Chuck Grassley

1. People don’t like that he is not transparent

2. He doesn’t care about what people think of him

3. Grassley doesn’t know how to use social media

4. His actions are not in line with his words, which makes it difficult for him to be taken seriously

5. He is more interested in getting re-elected than doing the right thing

6. He has voted against important legislation such as The Violence Against Women Act and The Family Medical Leave Act

7. Senator Chuck Grassley has been accused of using his position for personal financial gain by investing in companies that have business before Congress or by receiving gifts from lobbyists    

Next steps:

#1. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Democrats worry Feinstein can’t handle the Supreme Court battle. Source: politico.com

Dianne Feinstein was born in San Francisco, California on June 22, 1933. She is a graduate of Stanford University and has worked in a number of high-profile positions, including City Supervisor, Mayor of San Francisco, and United States Senator from California. Dianne Feinstein is currently the oldest serving United States Senator.

What people like about Senator Dianne Feinstein

1. Dianne Feinstein is a highly experienced politician

2. She is very knowledgeable about the issues

3. Feinstein has a strong record of fighting for women’s rights

4. She is committed to public service

5. Feinstein is well-respected by her peers

6. She is an effective legislator

7. Feinstein cares about her constituents

8. She is a good listener

9. Feinstein works hard to get things done

What people don’t like about Senator Dianne Feinstein

1. Dianne Feinstein is too old

2. Feinstein is out of touch with the people

3. Feinstein is a career politician

4. Feinstein has been in office for too long

5. Feinstein is corrupt

6. Feinstein doesn’t support Bernie Sanders

Next steps:

Oldest Former Members of the Current United States Congress 

Bill Pascrell (January 25, 1937 – Present)

>Write a short bio about senator Bill Pascrell Write a short bio about

Bill Pascrell is the second-oldest member of Congress. He was born on January 25, 1937 and retired in January 2019. He is currently 87 years old and has served in Congress since 1988. He is also the longest serving Democrat in New Jersey’s congressional delegation and the only New Jerseyan to serve as chairman or ranking member of one of seven committees that are among those most powerful in Washington.

Grace Napolitano (December 4, 1936 – Present)

Grace Napolitano is the oldest female member of Congress and was born on December 4, 1936. She has been a member of the House of Representatives since 1983 and is a member of the Democratic Party. Napolitano is from California and has served on a number of committees, including the Committee on Homeland Security.

Alcee Hastings (September 5, 1936 – Present)

Alcee Hastings is the second-oldest member of Congress. He was born on September 5, 1936 and currently serves as a Democratic Senator from Florida. He has served in Congress since 1993 after being appointed to the House of Representatives by President Clinton. He is also the longest serving Democrat in Florida’s congressional delegation and the only Floridian to serve as chairman or ranking member of one of seven committees that are among those most powerful in Washington!

Pat Roberts (April 20, 1936 – Present)

Pat Roberts is the senior United States Senator from Kansas. He was born on April 20, 1936 in Wichita, Kansas and is a member of the Republican Party. He has served in the Senate since 1997 and also served as a U.S. Representative from 1981 to 1997. Roberts is currently the chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

Eddie Bernice Johnson (December 3, 1935 – Present)

Write a short bio about Eddie Bernice Johnson, who is the oldest African-American woman in Congress, and the longest serving member of the House Committee on Science and Technology. As a member of Congress since 1993, she has been influential in issues relating to science and technology, as well as education and public works.

Final Thoughts

The average age of a Republican is 59, while the median Democratic member has an average age of 61 in the United States Senate. Similarly examining each chamber in Congress, you can see that there’s not as much variation between the Senate (average 67-years old) and House (average 57). 

So it seems like younger representatives are more likely to belong to the Democratic party. If this sounds like your experience too or if you want help enacting these principles into your own marketing plan, we would love to hear from you! Contact any senator and let us know what their response was.

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Editor
Sabrina is a former campaign manager who has decided to focus her effort to help people contact senators and get help. She leads our Editorial Team with Ronald and Lawrence to curate content and resources that help us navigate the system.

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