In Memoriam: John Porter

The Inter-American Dialogue mourns the loss of John Porter, who passed away on June 3, 2022 at a hospital in Fairfax County, Virginia at the age of 87. Porter was a 10-term congressman and was a member of the Dialogue since 2001.

John Porter represented Illinois in the US House of Representatives for 21 years, from 1980 to 2001. While in Congress, Porter sat on the Appropriations Committee and served as chair of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Under the jurisdiction of his subcommittee were all of the health agencies and programs, except military and the US Food and Drug Administration, and all of the education agencies and programs of the federal government. He also served as vice chair of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and the Subcommittee on Military Construction. Before his election to national office, Porter served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1973 to 1979. Prior to that, he was an honor law graduate attorney with the US Department of Justice.

Porter was founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, a voluntary association of more than 250 members of Congress working to identify, monitor, and end human rights violations worldwide. He authored the legislation creating Radio Free Asia and served as chair of the Global Legislators Organized for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE USA). Porter received more than 275 awards for his service in Congress. The John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland is named in his honor.