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Oral History Project

Rein J. Vander ZeeAssistant to the Senate Democratic Whip; Assistant Democratic Party Secretary (1961–1964)

Rein J. Vander Zee

Rein Vander Zee served as assistant to Senator Hubert Humphrey when Humphrey became Democratic whip in 1961. Vander Zee later served as assistant secretary of the majority, where he supervised the Democratic cloakroom and assisted Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and Democratic Secretary Bobby Baker. Having previously worked on the staff of Iowa representative Steven V. Carter, Vander Zee joined Humphrey's presidential campaign during the 1960 primaries, including the decisive West Virginia primary between Humphrey and John F. Kennedy. He then acted as an advance man for the Kennedy-Johnson ticket before joining the Senate staff in 1961. After leaving the Senate staff in 1964, he remained in Washington as a lawyer and lobbyist and worked for Johnson and Humphrey during the 1968 campaign before returning to Texas in 1970. His oral history recounts the personalities and politics of the era among the senators, the staff, and presidential administrations of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.


Scholarly citation: "Rein J. Vander Zee, Assistant to the Senate Democratic Whip and Assistant Secretary of the Majority (1961–1964),” Oral History Interviews, January 28, 1992, Senate Historical Office, Washington, D.C.

Disclaimer: The Senate Historical Office has a strong commitment to oral history as an important part of its efforts to document institutional change over time. Oral histories are a natural component to historical research and enhance the archival holdings of the Senate and its members. Oral histories represent the personal recollections and opinions of the interviewees, however, and should not be considered as the official views or opinions of the U.S. Senate, of the Senate Historical Office, or of other senators and/or staff members. The transcripts of these oral histories are made available by the Senate Historical Office as a public service.