Wheat graduated from Grinnell College in 1972 and served in the Missouri General Assembly from 1977 to 1982.
After United States Senator John Danforth said he would not run for re-election in the 1994 election, Wheat chose to leave the House and instead run for Danforth's seat. Wheat lost the general election to former governor John Ashcroft. Karen McCarthy was elected to succeed him in the House.
After his Senate race, Wheat was chosen as vice president of Public Policy and Government Relations at CARE. He served as deputy campaign manager of President Bill Clinton's re-election campaign in 1996. In 1997, Wheat formed the lobbying group Wheat Government Relations. Wheat Government Relations is a full service lobbying firm representing clients on a broad range of issues including: Health Care, Energy, Financial Services, Education, Telecommunications, Information Technology, etc.
Wheat Government Relations represents clients on the issues of: 1) Health Care 2) Federal Budget & Appropriations. 3) Indian & Native American Affairs ;Wheat currently serves on the Board of Directors at CARE. He has three children.
Wheat was the youngest member of the United States House of Representatives ever to be appointed to the Rules Committee, and was also the first African-American to represent a district with a non-liberal white majority. He was also a member of the United States House Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families.
Children: Alynda, Christopher, Nicholas.