Chet Edwards, a former Member of Congress, is a partner in Edwards, Davis Stover & Associates, a government relations consulting firm located in McLean, Virginia. He also holds the W.R. Poage Distinguished Chair in Public Service at Baylor University.
Edwards is respected on a bipartisan basis as a champion for America’s veterans and military families. He served Central Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives for 20 years, from 1991 to 2010. He was one of four Democratic Chief Deputy Whips, and in 2008 was one of five persons officially vetted for Vice President by then Senator Barack Obama.
Born in 1951 in Corpus Christi, Texas, Edwards is the son of a World War II naval aviator.
Upon graduation from Texas A&M University in 1974, magna cum laude in Economics, Edwards received the Earl Rudder Award, given to two top graduating seniors. In 1981 he earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
From 1974 to 1977 Edwards worked as a legislative and district aide for three and a half years for the legendary veterans’ champion, Congressman Olin E. “Tiger” Teague. Teague chaired the House Veterans Affairs Committee, was known for 32 years as “Mr. Veteran” in Congress and was the most decorated World War II veteran to serve in the House. It was Teague who encouraged Edwards to run for public office and inspired him to champion the cause of veterans.
From 1983 to 1990, Edwards served in the Texas State Senate and was named by Texas Monthly magazine as a “Top Ten Legislator.”
In 1990, Edwards was elected to represent Central Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives and served there from 1991 to 2010. For 14 years, Edwards represented the largest Army installation in the United States: Ft. Hood, Texas.
For six years in the House, Edwards served on the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committees and was the Ranking Member of the VA Health Care Subcommittee. In the 1990’s he led the fight to create a new public-private military family housing program, which has been heralded as the most important improvement ever in military family housing. In addition, he created the House Military Impact Aid Coalition to help ensure that military children receive a quality education.
As Chairman of the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee from 2007 to 2010, Edwards authored by far and away the largest increases in VA funding history. He authored and passed an historic 70 percent increase in funding for veterans’ health care and authored legislation to provide VA advance two year appropriations for the first time in history. While co-chairing the bipartisan House Army Caucus, Edwards successfully championed initiatives to honor America’s military families by building new child care centers, barracks, and six new, much-needed military hospitals.
In 2009 Edwards authored into law the “Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry” program, which provides full GI Bill college scholarships for all children who have lost a parent in military service to country since September 11th, 2001.
Respected military and veterans groups such as the Association of the U.S. Army, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, DAV, Vietnam Veterans of America, AMVETS and others have awarded Edwards for his national leadership on military and veterans issues.
While serving on the powerful House Appropriations Committee for 14 years, Edwards co-chaired the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, which funded the U.S. Department of Energy and the civilian construction programs of the Army Corps of Engineers. On the Subcommittee, he championed critical nuclear non-proliferation programs focused on preventing terrorists from stealing nuclear materials.
Edwards is a Member of the Arlington National Cemetery Advisory Commission and serves on the Board of the Military Child Education Coalition.
Edwards and his wife, Lea Ann, are the parents of two sons: J.T., a sophomore at Baylor University and Garrison, a senior at Langley High School in McLean, Virginia. The Edwards family attends the McLean Baptist Church in McLean, Virginia.
Chet Edwards: Military and Veterans Awards
- 2011 American Legion Distinguished Service Medal
- 2010 Honorary Member of the Order of Military Medical Merit for Exemplary Contribution to the United States Army Medical Department
- 2010 U.S. National Guard Bureau Minuteman Award
- 2009 AMVETS Congressional Silver Helmet Award
- 2009 U.S. Army Commander’s Award for Civilian Service
- 2009 U.S. Navy Distinguished Public Service Award
- 2009 Fleet Reserve Association Pinnacle Award
- 2008 American Legion Public Service Award
- 2008 VFW Congressional Award
- 2008 National Coalition for Homeless Veterans Congressional Award
- 2007 Texas Military Order of the Purple Heart Award
- 2007 “Going to Bat for Veterans” Award from the Disabled American Veterans
- 2007 “Platinum Award” from the American Psychiatric Association for support of PTSD research
- 2007 Congressional Achievement Award from the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)
- 2006 Military Coalition Marix Award of Merit
- 2006 Medal of Merit from the National Guard Association
- 2006 Exemplary Legislator from the National Association of Mental Illness’ Veterans Council
- 2005 Military Order of the Purple Heart’s National Inspirational Leadership Award for work in Congress on important veterans’ issues
- 2004 Support of Military Families Award from The National Military Family Association (NMFA).The award recognizes service and dedication to improving the quality of life for uniformed service members and their families
- 2004 Unsung Hero Award — American Legion
- 2004 Meritorious Service Award — American Legion
- 2004 “Going to Bat for Veterans” Award– National Disabled American Veterans
- 2004 Champion for Children – Military Impacted Schools Association
- 2003 Harry S. Truman Award—National Association of Federally Impacted Schools
- 2003 Legislator of the Year Award—Association of the U.S. Army
- 2002 Quality of Life Award from the USO
- 1996 L. Mendel Rivers Award of Excellence from the Air Force Sergeants Association for stopping the plan to reduce military retirement pay
- 1996 True Champion for Military School Children” Award by the National Military Impacted Schools Association (MISA)
- 1995 “Friend of Impact Aid” Award from the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS)
- 1995 “National Security Leadership Award” from the American Security Council
- 1993 Citation of Merit from the Disabled American Veterans