The Hannibal resident was first elected in 1976 to represent Missouri’s 9th Congressional District in Congress. He was the last Democratic federal lawmaker to represent Boone County.
Volkmer was a fairly conservative Democrat, as he opposed gun control and abortion rights. He was heavily involved in shaping agriculture policy, and also served on a committee overseeing the space program.
Ultimately, Volkmer began to be seriously challenged by Republicans in the early 1990s - first in 1992 by Rick Hardy and then in 1994 by Kenny Hulshof. Although Volkmer won both of those contests, Hulshof ultimately won the 9th District seat in 1996.
Here’s what Columbia Daily Tribune Publisher Hank Waters had to say about Volkmer’s congressional tenure after he lost re-election in November 1996:
As victorious Republican Kenny Hulshof noted accurately, one of his biggest election hurdles was to overcome Volkmer’s deserved reputation for good constituent service. Regardless of political stripe, any citizen who called Volkmer’s office for help got it. I’ve heard often through the years that when several members of Congress would be contacted on a given issue, Volkmer’s office was usually the most responsive and persistent in carrying through.
Hulshof will do well indeed if he can merely equal Volkmer’s record in this important area.
According to the Stennis Center, Volkmer was involved with National Rifle Association and the National Commission on Small Farms after leaving Congress. The Quincy Herald-Whig noted he was appointed to the Marion County Health Department and Home Health Agency Board in November 2006 and won a permanent seat on the board.
Condolences to Volkmer’s family and friends.