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Congressional Sunbelt Caucus Collection

Identifier: CAC-PP-060
The Congressional Sunbelt Caucus Collection includes documents and a small photograph collection covering the period 1981-1995. The bulk of the collection is from 1981-1982 and 1987-1994. Materials in the collection include administrative, organizational, and membership information; legislation; news and press releases; task force agendas, strategies, and proposals; briefing materials; reports; statistical information; booklets; and journal articles. The Sunbelt Caucus set out to propose and track legislation concerning the Southern and Southwestern states and provided a forum for the evaluation and resolution of problems and/or concerns associated with the Sunbelt region of the United States. Caucus members sought to enhance the economic development and competitiveness of the region in order to improve the quality of life in their states.


  • 1981-1995
  • Majority of material found in 1987-1994

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection (excluding the Photographs Series which is stored on-site), is stored off-site and requires prior notice to access. If you wish to view these materials, please contact the Congressional Archives staff to arrange an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use:

The University of Oklahoma asserts no claim of copyright over photographs in this collection taken by private citizens. Any publication of such photographs requires the consent of the copyright holder.


14.2 Linear Feet (12 containers)

Historical Note:

The Congressional Sunbelt Caucus was formed in 1981 as a bipartisan coalition of U.S. House of Representative members from Southern and Southwestern states. Initially called the Congressional Sunbelt Council, this Legislative Service Organization (LSO) later changed its name to the Congressional Sunbelt Caucus. In 1993, senators were formally invited to join the Caucus, making it bicameral. Caucus members represented the states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Established in part as a reaction to the success and influence of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, the Sunbelt Caucus studied, monitored, provided background information, and formed policy positions on issues, legislation, and government actions affecting the Sunbelt states. The caucus set out to propose and track legislation concerning the Southern and Southwestern states and provided a forum for the evaluation and resolution of problems and/or concerns associated with the Sunbelt region. Also working to improve the quality of life in their states, caucus members sought to enhance the economic development and competitiveness of the region. They also advocated more federal funding for their states.

To help further these goals, the Sunbelt Caucus fostered information-sharing and cooperation among its members and provided numerous services and activities. These included the Sunbelt Report newsletter; issue briefs and updates; news clippings; and briefings, seminars, conferences, and meetings with federal and state officials. Additional services and activities included press conferences, press releases, and opportunities for cooperation with other regional groups such as the Southern Governors' Association, the Southern Legislative Conference, and the Southern Municipal Conference.

The caucus's goals were also met through the activities of its task forces. These were formed throughout the life of the caucus and included the following:

• Battlefield Protection • Economic Growth • Energy Working Group • Environment and Natural Resources • Gulf of Mexico • Health Care • Infant Mortality • Infrastructure, Technology, and Competitiveness • Port Development • Wetlands • Workforce Literacy

As a Legislative Service Organization governed by rules of the House and the Committee on House Administration, the caucus could not receive funding from outside sources, and was therefore supported through dues paid from members' office accounts. The bipartisan leadership of the Sunbelt Caucus included an elected chair and vice-chair, each from a different party. The titles of chairman and vice-chairman were changed in 1990; thereafter, these positions were held by two co-chairs. Charles Wilson (D-TX) became the caucus's first chairman, and Floyd Spence (R-SC) served as its first vice-chair. The following members also served in these positions: Stephen L. Neal (D-NC), Michael A. Andrews (D-TX), E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R-FL), Lindsay Thomas (D-GA), Dave McCurdy (D-OK), and Thad Cochran (R-MS).

John H. Buchanan, Jr., the Sunbelt Caucus's first executive director, was a former member of the U.S. House who represented Alabama. Joseph W. Westphal became executive director in 1988 and held that position until 1995. He has since served as Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) and as chancellor of the University of Maine System.

Arrangement of Materials:

The Administration, Organization, and Membership is arranged alphabetically by folder title, and this series mainly contains materials related to the general operation of the Sunbelt Caucus.  The Press and Newsletters series is arranged alphabetically by folder title. Sets of folders with the same title are further divided chronologically.  The Task Forces, Briefings, Issues, Correspondence series is arranged alphabetical by folder title, with folders of the same title also subdivided chronologically. Incoming correspondence is filed alphabetically by sender, while outgoing correspondence is filed alphabetically by recipient.  The Subject series is arranged alphabetically by folder title and chronologically within. The Photographs Series is divided into four prominent sections: Sunbelt Caucus Member Portraits, Astronauts, Workforce Literacy Legislative Summit, Infant Mortality in the South program. The section of portraits of Sunbelt Caucus members arranged alphabetically by surname. The Infant Mortality in the South program photograph section is grouped by picture content, which for most is the featured person.
Guide to the Congressional Sunbelt Caucus Collection
Language of description
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Carl Albert Center Congressional and Political Collections Repository

630 Parrington Oval
Room 202B
Norman Oklahoma 73109 United States