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Richard Howard Stallings was born in Ogden, Utah, October 7, 1940, to Howard and Elizabeth Stallings. Howard Stallings was employed by the federal government following the Great Depression as a traveling historian who wrote county histories for each of the Utah counties. Richard Stallings attended public schools in Ogden, Utah and graduated from Ben Lomond High School in 1958. Stallings achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand from 1960 to 1962. Upon his return from New Zealand, Stallings married Ranae Garner in 1963.

Richard Stallings received his Bachelor of Science degree in History and Political Science from Weber State College and his Master of Science in History from Utah State University, doing a portion of his graduate studies at Colorado College. He taught at Bonneville High School in Ogden, Utah while working toward his Masters degree. He also taught for the Foreign Study League in Europe in 1969.

In 1969, Richard and Ranae Stallings moved to Rexburg, Idaho with their son Richard, Jr. and daughter Sallianne (their third child, Daniel, was adopted in 1976). Stallings taught at Ricks College--now Brigham Young University-Idaho--in the History Department and served as the department chairman until 1984.

Stallings' political life began in 1974 when he ran unsuccessfully for the Idaho Legislature as a Democrat. He ran another unsuccessful campaign for the state legislature in 1978. Stallings worked on several political campaigns while continuing to teach at Ricks, including those of Democratic candidates Frank Church and Stan Kress. In 1982 Stallings entered the Idaho 2nd Congressional District race against sitting Congressman George Hansen. Stallings was defeated, but when he again challenged Hansen in 1984, he won by 170 votes.

Stallings joined the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat in the Ninety-ninth Congress. He was reelected in 1986, 1988, and 1990, and served in the 100th, 101st, and 102nd Congresses to the three succeeding Congresses. He chose to run for the United States Senate in 1992 and was defeated.

Stallings' congressional tenure included service on the House Agriculture Committee; the Science, Space, and Technology Committee; and, the Select Committee on Aging. Subcommittee assignments on the Agriculture Committee were Family Farms and Energy; Conservation, Credit and Rural Development; Forests; and Cotton, Rice and Sugar. Subcommittee assignments on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee were Energy, Research, and Development and Space, Science, and Applications. Congressman Stallings was a member of the Congressional Rural Caucus, Conservative Democratic Forum, Rural Health Coalition, Environmental and Energy Study Conference, Nuclear Weapons Facility Study Group, Alcohol Fuels Caucus, Travel and Tourism Caucus, and the Democratic Leadership Council.

In a surprising statement by pro-life delegates to the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, Congressman Stallings received three votes for the presidential nomination placing him third behind the nominee Michael Dukakis and second-place finisher Jesse Jackson.

After Stallings defeat in the 1992 Senate race, he was nominated by President Bill Clinton as the United States Nuclear Waste Negotiator. He served in this position from 1993 until 1995 when the independent federal agency responsible for the placement and long term storage of nuclear waste was closed.

In 1995, Stallings was selected to be the Executive Director of Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services, a position he held until 2003. In 1998, Stallings ran for the 2nd Congressional District seat he had formerly occupied and lost to Rep. Mike Simpson. Stallings was elected to the Pocatello City Council in 2001, reelected in 2005, and resigned in 2007. During that tenure, Stallings was elected by the Idaho State Democratic Party Central Committee as chairman of the state party in 2005, reelected in 2007, and resigned in December of 2007.