Richard Hellman Biography
Richard Hellman is survived by his wife of sixty-two years, Miriam Hellman, daughters, Signe and Kristin Hellman, and granddaughter, Anne-Sophie Hellman.
Dick graduated from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, with a Bachelor's Degree in History and later received his Juris Doctor from Georgetown Law School in Washington, DC. Afterward, he entered the military, serving in the Vietnam War with distinction, having received the Bronze Star as a Captain in Army counterintelligence.
Upon leaving the army, his career in government began at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, where he established its Office of Legislative Affairs as the first Legislative Counsel of the EPA. He created the Legislative Counsel’s Office under William D. Ruckelshaus, EPA's first administrator, before going to work on Capitol Hill. As counsel to the U. S. Senate Public Works Committee in 1972-76, he drafted legislation on air and water quality, noise, solid wastes and toxic substances.
His international roles began when Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee selected him to serve as Executive Director of the U.S. Committee for the Stockholm United Nations Conference on the Environment and then as U.S. advisor at the Conference, where the course of future international environmental action was set. Sen. Baker then named him Chief Minority Counsel of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, where he drafted landmark environmental laws for clean air and water, waste recycling, toxic substances, oceans, mining and noise.
In 1976, he was contracted by the Government of Israel as an environmental consultant. In Israel, he received support from the United Nations to draft Israel's environmental laws and plans. Upon completion of this project, he was named by Israel to be the Chief Environmental Advisor on the District Planning and Building Commission for the rebuilding and restoration of Jerusalem. In this role, he led delegations to the Rome and Venice U.N. Mediterranean conferences.
Upon returning to Washington, DC, his law practice involved environmental and corporate matters. He founded the U.S. Committee for the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP), testifying, writing and speaking on subjects related to the environment, water, and sustainable development.
He was an official advisor to the 1992 U. N. Earth Summit and 1994 U. N. International Conference on Population and Development and served as a consultant to the U.S. State Department and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), among others. He was named among UNEP’s Global 500 Roll of Honour and was President of the Friends of UNEP, USA.
In 1989, he founded the Christians’ Israel Public Action Campaign, the only Christian organization registered with the U. S. Congress to lobby for a strong U. S. - Israel relationship. Over the ensuing decades, he served as CIPAC’s President and led the organization in proposing laws and policy initiatives supportive of Israel, as well as testifying regularly before Congress on behalf of strong US-Israel relations and related foreign policy issues.
Among his legislative accomplishments, he launched and spearheaded the successful campaign for passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. At the request of Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), he co-authored the initial draft of that bill, which eventually passed by overwhelming majorities in both Houses of Congress. When U. S. President Donald Trump finally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017 and then moved the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he did so on the basis of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.
Under his direction, CIPAC also worked to prevent a risky handover of the Golan Heights to Syria and urged greater oversight and accountability of U. S. funding to the Middle East, among other lobbying campaigns. Richard Hellman also was one of the first voices on Capitol Hill to warn against the dangers of a nuclear Iran.