Oral History with Rick Boucher, June 28, 2023 (Ms2021-048)

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Frederick C. Boucher, better known as Rick, was born on August 1st, 1946 in Abingdon, Virginia.

Rick's long career in law and public service was heavily influenced by his upbringing and parents. His mother, Dorothy Buck Boucher, was a pioneer of women practicing law as she was in the first female class graduating from University of Virginia, School of Law in 1945, and became the first female lawyer working west of Roanoke. She later worked in Abingdon as a real estate lawyer and was the Democratic Chairman of the Political Party in Washington County. Rick's father, Ralph Emerson Boucher, was similarly a lawyer, primarily working criminal defense and was elected the Commonwealth's Attorney in Washington County for the Republican Party for several terms. This political opposition stressed the importance of bipartisanship and later inspired him to follow the family tradition in law and civil service.

He attended Roanoke College, where he studied political science and economics, with the ultimate goal of attending the University of Virginia, School of Law. Later, he graduated from Roanoke College in 1968, and then from the University of Virginia in 1971. After graduating, he moved to New York City to work in a Wall Street law firm, Milbank Tweed. Two weeks into working there, Rick met Alexander Forger, the New York director for the McGovern presidential campaign. This chance encounter led to him working as a political advance on the McGovern campaign, allowing him to travel the country and learn grassroots organizing. Later, this experience served to prepare him for his own Congressional campaigns.

He returned to Abingdon in 1973 in pursuit of the State Senate election in 1974. This election was the first step in his political career, where Rick served for seven years before being elected as Representative of Virginia's 9th District. He took the oath of office in 1983 under Tip O'Neill, where he served until 2011.

As a Congressman, Rick prioritized federal involvement in economic development -- particularly under the Reagan Administration. He was the lead author of the Democratic resolution of censure of the president, the Democratic position on the Bill Clinton impeachment. Later, he chaired multiple subcommittees including the Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, the Subcommittee on Communications and the Internet, and the Subcommittee on Science of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

After serving in Congress, Rick worked in a D.C. law firm until 2020 when he retired. In retirement, Rick enjoys the scenery of Abingdon where he lives with his wife.

In this addition to the Rick Boucher Papers, Rick talks about his life before getting elected to Congress, including his motivations and strategies in campaigning. He covers his time while serving in Congress, with special notice to influential bills that allowed for the development of Google and Amazon. In the donation to Virginia Tech, he hopes that these materials will instill the importance of civil service that he felt as a young man.


Oral History Item Type Metadata



Frederick "Rick" C. Boucher