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Ex-Rep. Scherle Dies at Age 80

Former Rep. William Scherle, a conservative Iowa Republican known for his criticisms of D.C. government failings, died Wednesday in Council Bluffs. The 80-year-old Congressman had been battling prostate cancer.

Scherle, a grain and livestock farmer in southwestern Iowa, was first elected to Congress in 1966 on an anti-tax and anti-big government platform.

During his four terms in Congress, the Hawkeye State lawmaker staunchly supported the Vietnam War, sponsoring unsuccessful legislation to deny federal money for construction projects to those colleges that gave federal scholarship aid to anti-war and other demonstrators.

He also fought for the release of U.S. soldiers, assigned to the USS Pueblo, who were held captive by North Korea for nearly a year beginning in 1968.

Scherle, who served in the Pacific Theater during World War II, was a member of the House Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on the District of Columbia. He once said D.C. was a “scandal-ridden” city run predominantly by “incompetents and political hacks.” He also served on the Internal Security Committee, formerly known as the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

In 1974, Scherle was defeated by Tom Harkin (D), now the junior Senator from Iowa. He went on to be a deputy administrator for the Agriculture Department during the Ford administration, and later worked as a consultant in D.C.

A memorial service will be held in Council Bluffs on Wednesday. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Jane; two sons, John and William; and six grandchildren.

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