"Democracy is measured not by its leaders doing extraordinary things, but by its citizens doing ordinary things extraordinarily well." - John Gardner
Bill Goodling shares educator and writer John Gardner's philosophy of governing. As a legislator, he fulfilled his pledge to put "people before politics," which his constituent service and legislative record make clear.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge's words, "common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom," epitomize Bill Goodling's down-to-earth style. "Congressman Bill," as he will always be known, continues to put people before politics. This philosophy helped the thirteen-term Representative effectively serve the residents of Adams, Cumberland, and York Counties in south central Pennsylvania's 19th Congressional District for twenty-six years.
Goodling's common-sense approach to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives came naturally. He was born December 5, 1927, in Loganville, Pennsylvania, a small southern York County town in which his ancestors had settled nearly a century before. His childhood was marked by hard work and community service. He and his five brothers and sisters were expected to help with work on the family fruit farm as well as in the community at large. Bill worked in the family's orchards before and after school each day.
The first six grades of Goodling's education where conducted in a one-room school house that is only a few miles from his current home in Seven Valleys, PA. Goodling graduated from York High School in 1945, then joined the Army and was stationed in Japan until 1948. Soon after, he began classes at the University of Maryland, and received a bachelor of science degree in 1953. He later earned his master's degree in education at Western Maryland College at the same time he taught, counseled and coached football, baseball, and basketball in the Southeastern School District in York County, PA.
After becoming principal of West York Area High School, in 1957 Bill married Hilda Wright of Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania. While continuing to pursue doctoral studies at Penn State University, Goodling found time to coach American Legion baseball, serve as School Board President of the Dallastown Area School District, and was active in the Boy Scouts of America, local health organizations, and the Loganville Methodist Church. In 1967, Goodling became Superintendent of Schools of the Spring Grove Area School District.
In 1974, Goodling was urged to seek the Republican nomination for the 19th District Congressional seat. He beat six opponents in the primary and went on to win the general election with 51 percent of the vote. From that narrow victory, Goodling went on to become one of the most popular legislators in south central Pennsylvania history. He served thirteen straight terms, the longest tenure of any 19th District representative this century. He typically captured more than 70 percent of the vote and even ran unopposed in several general elections.
Goodling served on the Committee on Education and Labor from his arrival in Congress, becoming Ranking Minority Member in 1990. After the Republican takeover in the 1994 elections, the Republican Conference elected him Chairman of the Committee.
As Chairman of the renamed House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Goodling relentlessly reexamined the proper federal role in both education and in the workplace. Over the years, his philosophy has been guided by two overriding principles: empowerment of America through local decisions and development of quality solutions. Ultimately, he believes the solutions to our problems are local, so control must be local and Federal action must be limited to those things it can do effectively and efficiently. In addition to demanding more local control, while in Congress Goodling undertook a massive effort to consolidate duplicative federal programs and eliminate wasteful spending. During his tenure over 150 federal education and job training programs were consolidated, eliminated or repealed.
Goodling served as a Member of the House Committee on International Relations, and the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights. Goodling returned to the Committee in 1991 after taking time out to serve first, as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and then the House Committee on Budget for the maximum six-year term.
Since his retirement, Goodling has taken a new role as Senior Advisor to Sagamore Associates, the Washington, DC-based, nationally respected federal affairs consulting subsidiary of the Indiana law firm of Baker & Daniels. Goodling's goal is to continue work on the issues to which he has devoted his career. At Sagamore Associates, he works with experts on national issues to enhance education at all levels, create meaningful job training opportunities, and tackle the challenges of our health care system.
Bill and Hilda Goodling have two children, Todd and Jennifer. Todd is an attorney and an architect, and Jennifer, a one-time professional tennis player, now teaches the sport.
In his spare time, Congressman Goodling enjoys raising thoroughbred horses and is an active sports enthusiast.
He also works to promote the efforts of the William F. Goodling Family Literacy Institute at the Pennsylvania State University and the William F. Goodling Advanced Skills Center in York, PA.
Honorary Doctorate Degrees: