Charles Rangel served continuously as a United States congressman from New York, representing East and Central Harlem, the Upper West Side, and Washington Heights/Inwood from 1971 to 2017. In 2007, he was named Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, one of the most powerful committees in the U.S. Congress and served as chair until March of 2010.
As a member of the House Judiciary Committee in 1973, Rangel voted to impeach Richard Nixon. In 1974, he became Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and became the first black member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Prior to Rangel's election to Congress, he served in the Army during the Korean War. Upon returning from war, Rangel completed his high school degree before going on to receive a BS from New York University and a JD from St. John’s University.
Throughout his life, Rangel has been a powerful leader of the nation’s fight against drug abuse and drug trafficking. He also has strongly supported efforts to revitalize urban neighborhoods and to support underprivileged youth, veterans, and ex-offenders.
Rangel became a key contributor to President Obama’s health care reform law. Additionally, the State Department's Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program has blossomed in recent years; as of 2011, one hundred and eighteen former Rangel Fellows had gone on to become US State Department Foreign Service Officers.