Fowler C. West was born on July 6, 1940 in Bosqueville near Waco, Texas. He attended North Texas State University from 1958 to 1959 but received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Baylor University in 1963. He earned a Master of Arts from George Washington University in Legislative Affairs in 1980 and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1988.
West began his government career in Washington, D. C., as a staff assistant in the office of Congressman W. R. Poage following his graduation from Baylor. From 1965 to 1969, he was on the professional staff of the House Committee on Agriculture where he had responsibilities involved with the Farm Bill of 1965 and the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act. Then in 1969 and until 1971, he served as Administrative Assistant to Poage acting as staff director and chief advisor to the Congressman.
In 1971, West returned to the House Committee on Agriculture as a staff consultant where he served as a legislative professional involved in the development and enactment of the Rural Development Act of 1972, the Farm Credit Act of 1971, and the Rural Telephone Bank Act of 1971. He was promoted to Staff Director of the Committee in 1973. As chief administrative officer of the Committee, he managed a staff of 50 professional and clerical employees and represented the Chairman in scheduling and processing of all legislative matters as well as organizing the Committee each session. During this period, the Committee developed several major legislative packages including the Farm Bills of 1977 and 1981 and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974 which created the CFTC. He served under Committee Chairmen W. R. Poage, 1973-1974; Thomas S. Foley, 1975-1980; and Kika de la Garza, 1981-1982.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Fowler West a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 1982 for a five-year term. As a Commissioner, West participated directly in all significant decisions for the CFTC including the designation of new markets; adoption of rules; commencement of enforcement actions; allocation of budget resources; ruling on appeals from Administrative Law Judges in customer reparation and enforcement cases; review of exchange disciplinary and emergency market actions; and maintaining industry oversight.
As a Commissioner, West also chaired the CFTC's Advisory Committee on CFTC/State Coordination; served as CFTC delegate to the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs Consumer Advisory Counsel chairing its Finance Group Task Force; and participated as a member of the National Futures Association Consumer Advisory Counsel. West was reappointed for another five-year term in 1987.
In 1992 when West's second term expired, he continued to serve as a Commissioner until a replacement was named. Then, in February, 1993, he became Executive Director of the North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc. in Washington, D.C. In 1997 he was serving as General Counsel for The Washington Group.
Fowler West married Anne Smith Paine of Valdosta, Georgia. They have three sons : Fowler West Jr., Mitchell Paine West and William Robert Poage West. He participated in the Baylor University Men and Women of Merit Week in 1984 and was the recipient of the Congressional Staffer of the Year Award in 1977.