Oldest Members of the United States Congress

10 Oldest Members of the United States Congress

Congress is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Both houses of Congress have an age requirement: it is at least 25 years of age for the House and at least 30 years old for the Senate. While these age requirements are generally low, most members of Congress are nearly senior citizens. As of October 2018, the average age of the 115th Congress (the current Congress) is 57.8 years for the House of Representatives and 61.8 years for the Senate.

Although those averages may seem old, all of the members of Congress on this list are in their 80s! Only one of them has announced that they plan to retire at the end of the current term, which means that the rest of them are only going to grow older while they continue to serve. This list contains current members of Congress in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. We have previously covered the Oldest Senators Ever as well as the Oldest U.S. Congressmen (House of Representatives) ever. Some of the people on this list are also on those lists as well.

10. Pat Roberts (April 20, 1936 – Present)

Current Age: 82 years old in 2018
Current House:  Senate (formerly in the House of Representatives)
Political Party:  Republican
State:  Kansas
Years in Office:  January 3, 1997 – Present; January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1997 (House of Representatives Kansas’s 1st District) (total of 37 years)

Pat Robertsphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Pat Roberts has been a member of Congress in both the House of Representatives and the Senate since 1981. Roberts spent 16 years in the House and is going on has currently been a Senator for 21 years. Currently, Roberts is the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, a position he also held as a member of the House. Roberts is the first person in Congressional history to chair the Agriculture Committee in both the House and the Senate.

Roberts is also a former Marine and served from 1958 – 1962. After this, Roberts started his political career as an administrative assistant to United States Senator Frank Carlson from 1967 – 1968. Following this brief role, Roberts became the administrative assistant for United States Congressman Keith Sebelius from 1968-1980.


9. Eddie Bernice Johnson (December 3, 1935 – Present)

Current Age: 82 years old in 2018 (will be turning 83 at the end of the year)
Current House:  House of Representatives
Political Party:  Democratic
State:  Texas
Years in Office:  January 3, 1993 – Present (25 years)

Eddie Bernice Johnsonphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Eddie Bernice Johnson began her Congressional career in 1993 and has achieved many firsts as an African American woman. Johnson’s tenure in politics began in 1972 when she was elected to the Texas House of Representatives. During that time, Johnson became the first woman in Texas history to lead a major Texas House committee (the Labor Committee). In 1986, Johnson became a Texas State Senator – she was both the first woman and first African American from Dallas to hold the office.

Johnson has served on various committees and subcommittees, including the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Subcommittee on Aviation, the Subcommittee on Railroad, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, and the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. In 2010, Johnson was elected as the first African-American and the first female Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.


8. Jim Inhofe (November 17, 1934 – Present)

Current Age: 84 years old in 2018
Current House:  Senate (formerly in the House of Representatives)
Political Party:  Republican
State:  Oklahoma
Years in Office:  November 16, 1994 – Present; January 3, 1987 – November 15, 1994 (House of Representatives Oklahoma’s 1st District) (total of 31 years)

Jim Inhofephoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Jim Inhofe has had a long career and politics and started out in the Oklahoma State house of representatives in 1967. Inhofe then went on to the Oklahoma State senate before becoming Mayor of Tulsa from 1978 – 1984. In 1986 Inhofe was elected to Congress as a member of the House of Representatives for Oklahoma’s 1st District. After a serving a few terms on the House, Inhofe became a Senator in 1994 and has served since.

Before starting his political career, Inhofe was briefly in the Army. Today, Inhofe serves as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Inhofe is also a member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, the Commerce Committee, and the Small Business Committee.


7. Richard Shelby (May 6, 1934 – Present)

Current Age: 84 years old in 2018
Current House:  Senate (formerly in the House of Representatives)
Political Party:  Republican
State:  Alabama
Years in Office:  January 3, 1987 – Present; January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1987 (House of Representatives Alabama’s 7th District) (total of 39 years)

Richard Shelbyphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Richard Shelby was first elected to the Alabama Senate in 1986 and assumed office at the beginning of the following year. Before joining the Senate, Shelby was on the House of Representatives for four terms and was in the Alabama Legislature for eight years.

Like many politicians, Shelby was a lawyer from 1968 – 1978, which was when he was first elected to the House. As a Senator, Shelby has served as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations; as a senior member of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee as well as the Committee on Rules and Administration; and on the Committee on Environment and Public Works.


6. Orrin Hatch (March 22, 1934 – Present)

Current Age: 84 years old in 2018
Current House:  Senate
Political Party:  Republican
State:  Utah
Years in Office:  January 3, 1977 – Present (41 years)

Orrin Hatchphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Orrin Hatch is the longest-serving Republican Senator in the United States history with uniterrupted service (Senator Strom Thurmond had served for longer but resigned for a brief period). Hatch has been in the Utah Senate since 1977 and has been reelected every term since then.

Hatch has been a long-time member and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Currently, Hatch is serving as the President Pro Tempore and as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

In his personal life, Hatch credits his love for his wife and family as the key to his success. Hatch has been married for more than 50 years and has six children, 23 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren.


5. Chuck Grassley (September 17, 1933 – Present)

Current Age: 85 years old in 2018
Current House:  Senate (previously in the House of Representatives)
Political Party:  Republican
State:  Iowa
Years in Office:  January 3, 1981 – Present; January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1981 (House of Representatives Iowa 3rd District) (total of 43 years)

Chuck Grassleyphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Chuck Grassley is one of the longest-serving members of Congress and has had an even longer political career. Grassley was a farmer and sheet metal shearer before he joined the Iowa Legislature in 1958. In 1974, Grassley was elected to the House of Representatives and served on the House until 1981. Since then, Grassley has been a Senator in Iowa.

Grassley has served on a number of committees over years, including the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Committee on Finance; Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary; Committee on the Budget; Joint Committee on Taxation; Chairman of the Caucus on International Narcotics Control; and Co-Chair of the Caucus on Foster Youth.


4. Dianne Feinstein (June 22, 1933 – Present)

Current Age: 85 years old in 2018
Current House:  Senate
Political Party:  Democratic
State:  California
Years in Office:  November 4, 1992 – Present (26 years)

Dianne Feinsteinphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Dianne Feinstein, who has been a Senator since 1992, is known for setting many firsts in Congress and in politics overall. Before joining the Senate, Feinstein was the first female mayor of San Francisco and the first woman president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

When she was elected to the Senate, Feinstein became the first female senator in California. Feinstein then went on to become the first female member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the first woman to chair the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, the first woman to chair the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the first woman to serve as ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee.


3. Don Young (June 9, 1933 – Present)

Current Age: 85 years old in 2018
Current House:  House of Representatives (formerly in the Senate)
Political Party:  Republican
State:  Alaska
Years in Office:  March 6, 1973 – Present; January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1971 (16th District); January 11, 1971 – March 6, 1973 (Alaska Senate) (total of 47 years)

Don Youngphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Alaska Representative Don Young has served in Congress since 1967 and is the longest serving member of the current Congress. Young briefly served in the Alaska Senate, but has primarily been a member of the House for most of his 47 year career. As a House Representative, Young has served on House Natural Resources Committee, the Resources Committee, and was Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Young is currently the 45th Dean of the House of Representatives.

Before becoming a politician, Young made his living as a commercial fisher and a teacher. Young also searched for gold. According to Young’s biography, he is the only licensed mariner in Congress.


2. Sander Levin (September 6, 1931 – Present)

Current Age: 87 years old in 2018
Current House:  House of Representatives (formerly in the Senate)
Political Party:  Democratic
State:  Michigan
Years in Office:  January 3, 2013 – Present (9th District); January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2013 (12th District); January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1993 (17th District); 1965 – 1970 (Michigan Senate) (total of 40 years)

Sander Levinphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

At 87 years of age, Sander Levin is the oldest Democrat currently serving in Congress. Levin has been in politics since he was 35 years old. In 1965 Levin was elected to the Senate and he served as Senate Minority Leader from 1969 – 1970. Levin’s brother Carl, also served in the Senate from 1979 – 2015, making the Levin brothers the longest-serving siblings in Congressional history.

Levin first became a House Representative in 1983 and has been the representative of two other districts since then. Over his 35 year career in the House, Levin has served on the House Banking Committee and the Ways and Means Committee. Levin has also been the Chair or Ranking Member on the Subcommittees on Human Resources, Social Security, Health Care and Trade.


1. Sam Johnson (October 11, 1930 – Present)

Current Age: 88 years old in 2018
Current House:  House of Representatives
Political Party:  Republican
State:  Texas
Years in Office:  Texas

Sam Johnsonphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Sam Johnson, the House Representative from Texas’s 3rd district, is currently 88 years old, which makes him the oldest member of Congress. Johnson was first elected to the House in 1991 and has successfully been reelected in every election since then. In early 2017, Johnson said that he would finally retire, after serving for 27 years, at the end of 2018.

Before entering politics, Johnson was in the Air Force for 29 years. Johnson flew in combat missions during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. During the Vietnam war Johnson was a POW for nearly seven years and endured 42 months in solitary confinement.

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