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GONZAGA UNIVERSITY NEWS RELEASE
Dale Goodwin, Director
Peter Tormey, Associate Director
|Rep. Nethercutt Reading Room Dedication Nov. 6|
The festivities led by Gonzaga President Rev. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., are open to the public and mark the formal recognition of Nethercutt’s commitment to public service and his donation to Gonzaga University of his political papers and memorabilia during his tenure in Congress. Those who plan to attend are asked to please contact Whitney at 800-463-6925 or via e-mail at email@example.com. Business attire is recommended.
Ironically, Nethercutt, a 1971 Gonzaga University School of Law alumnus, worked for Ralph E. Foley, the father of former House Speaker Tom Foley. In his first run for Congress, Nethercutt defeated Tom Foley. While attending GU Law School, Nethercutt clerked briefly for Ralph E. Foley, a Spokane Superior Court judge at that time.
Nethercutt, who was born in Spokane on Oct. 7, 1944, represented the state’s Fifth Congressional District from 1995-2005 after narrowly unseating Foley in the dramatic 1994 election, marking the first time a sitting Speaker of the House was defeated since 1860. Nethercutt’s wife Mary Beth Nethercutt is a 1983 alumna of the Gonzaga School of Law. His late father George R. Nethercutt was a 1941 graduate of Gonzaga Law School.
Nethercutt served on the House Appropriations Committee and the House Science Committee. He was re-elected four times and was unsuccessful in his 2004 bid for the U.S. Senate. At last count, the Foley Center had received nearly 200 boxes of materials plus a variety of pictures, awards and other memorabilia. The papers will be made available to the public once they are all processed and cataloged. The catalog for the Nethercutt Collection will be available on the Web at the following link; the materials will be accessible through the library’s Special Collections department. Nethercutt donated his papers to Gonzaga in 2006.
In an interview at that time with Gonzaga News Service, Nethercutt said he has always been very proud of his Gonzaga Law School education and pleased to make the archival material available to citizens of Eastern Washington.
“I think it’s a 10-year period in history that scholars and the public alike will have some interest in and it’s a pleasure to make sure people in Spokane and Eastern Washington will have the opportunity to look at it,” Nethercutt said, adding he believes there are two aspects of the collection that may prove to be the most interesting to the public.
“Two things come to mind; historically, I think the change in leadership in the House from Democrat to Republican for the first time in 40 years, and all that surrounded the first 100 days of my first Congress, as well as the progress that was made, should be of interest to people because it was an historic time in our country and really had a profound impact on public policy,” Nethercutt said. “And certainly the (President Clinton) impeachment experience for the country will be of interest to both opponents and proponents of impeachment.”
The North Central High School and Washington State University graduate said he received thousands of cards and letters advocating both sides of the impeachment issue, and read each one.
“The thoughtfulness that went into those letters and mailings that I received were really helpful for me as a person sitting in Congress trying to sort out what’s right and wrong in that whole impeachment process,” Nethercutt said. “I was struck by the profound nature of the correspondence and the sincere expressions of constituents who were passionately saying ‘impeach’ while others were saying ‘don’t impeach.’ All of that is there in the collection. I kept everything that I received and everything that I wrote.”
Nethercutt said he ultimately voted in favor of four of the five articles of impeachment, adding it was not a pleasant experience.
“I did not enjoy that part of my service,” he said. “I thought it was a dark day for our country to go through. It was unpleasant for me because I did not want to see the country have to face that very difficult decision. But, that is the beauty of our system. It allows the impeachment process to work, judgments are made and the country moves on.”
The Nethercutt Reading Room includes a plaque honoring the former congressman and three display cases of photographs and memorabilia depicting his tenure in the House. The contents of the display cases will rotate over time. The remaining materials are stored in a Special Collections vault.