Congressman Bruce F. Vento & Malignant Mesothelioma
Bruce F. Vento represented Minnesota's Fourth Congressional District, which consists of Minnesota's capital city, St. Paul, and surrounding communities. Congressman Vento was a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) party and was a senior Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving continuously since 1977 until his death.
Representative Vento was the second oldest of eight children. His German immigrant grandparents homesteaded Minnesota in the late 19th century and his paternal grandparents emigrated from Italy in the early 20th century. The father of three sons, Vento was a lifelong resident of St. Paul's East Side. Vento graduated from Johnson High School and continued his education at St. Thomas College and the University of Minnesota, where he earned an A.A. degree in 1961. He later received a B.S. degree with honors from Wisconsin State University in 1965, attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota and was a National Science Foundation Scholar.
Congressman Vento has worked as a paper carrier; restaurant employee at the St. Paul Hotel; laborer at Horner Waldorf, Whirlpool, Minnesota Plastics and the Hamm's Brewery; and part-time mail room clerk at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He served as a Machinist union steward while working at Minnesota Plastics. Vento went on to teach science and social studies in the Minneapolis public schools for more than ten years. He was a member and former steward of the Minnesota Federation of Teachers and served on the Governor's Minnesota Education Council as well as the Commission on Minnesota's Future. Vento was elected to the Minnesota State Legislature in 1970, where he served three consecutive terms.
Congressman Vento was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in late January, 2000. He underwent aggressive surgery about two weeks later at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. His thoracic surgeon, and MARF Science Advisory Board member, Dr. Dan Miller, removed his left lung. He was then treated with chemotherapy, followed by radiation treatment, which he concluded in August.
Vento dedicated himself as a tireless and effective advocate for the environment, for working people and for the disadvantaged. Congressman Vento's wisdom and compassion continues to be an inspiration and of great benefit to MARF in its mission to eradicate mesothelioma.