Alvin O'Konski

Alvin Edward O'Konski (May 26, 1904 – July 8, 1987) was an American politician and educator who served 30 years in the United States House of Representatives. A Republican, he represented northwestern Wisconsin from 1943 until 1973.[1]

Alvin E. O'Konski
Alvin E. O'Konski.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 10th district
In office
January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1973
Preceded byBernard J. Gehrmann
Succeeded byDistrict abolished
Personal details
Born
Alvin Edward O'Konski

(1904-05-26)May 26, 1904
Kewaunee, Wisconsin
DiedJuly 8, 1987(1987-07-08) (aged 83)
Kewaunee, Wisconsin
Resting placeSaint Hedwigs Cemetery
Kewaunee, Wisconsin
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
  • Veronica M. Hemming
  • (died 1998)

Early life and educationEdit

Born on a farm near Kewaunee, Wisconsin, was born to Antonia (Née Paskaand) and Frank O'Konski, on May 26, 1904. He attended the local public schools and the University of Iowa. He graduated from State Teachers College (now University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 1927 and from the University of Wisconsin (now University of Wisconsin–Madison) in 1932.

CareerEdit

He was a high school teacher in Omro and Oconto from 1926 to 1929, a member of the faculty of Oregon State College at Corvallis, Oregon, from 1929 to 1931, and a faculty member at the University of Detroit from 1936 to 1938. He was superintendent of schools in Pulaski, Wisconsin, from 1932 to 1935 and an instructor at a junior college in Coleraine, Minnesota, in 1936. He was an educator, journalist, lecturer, editor and publisher at Hurley, Wisconsin, from 1940 to 1942.

In 1942, O'Konski was elected as a Republican to the 78th United States Congress. He was then reelected to the fourteen succeeding Congresses serving from January 3, 1943, till January 3, 1973. While in congress, he represented Wisconsin's 10th congressional district. In 1957, he was an unsuccessful candidate in the Republican primary in the special election to replace United States Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had died in office. O'Konski voted in favor of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957,[2] 1960,[3][4] 1964,[5][6] and 1968,[7][8] as well as the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.[9][10][11]

O'Konski represented a district that included much of the northwestern part of the state, including Rhinelander and Superior. However, after the 1970 census, Wisconsin lost a district, and most of O'Konski's territory was merged with Wisconsin's 7th congressional district represented by three-term Democratic Party member Dave Obey. O'Konski retained only about 40 percent of his former territory, a disadvantage he was unable to overcome despite his seniority. Even though Richard Nixon carried most of the district in the 1972 election, O'Konski was defeated. A proposed navy project called Project Sanguine which O'Konski supported may have been a factor in his loss.[12]

While still serving in Congress, O'Konski founded WAEO-TV, the NBC affiliate for most of north-central Wisconsin. He sold the station in 1976; it is now WJFW-TV.

Personal lifeEdit

O'Konski lived in Kewaunee, Wisconsin, until his death in 1987.[13] He is buried at St. Hedwig's Cemetery, a rural church cemetery west of Kewaunee.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "O'Konski, Alvin E. 1904". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "HR 6127. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1957". GovTrack.us.
  3. ^ "HR 8601. PASSAGE".
  4. ^ "HR 8601. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1960. APPROVAL BY THE HOUSE OF THE SENATE'S AMENDMENTS".
  5. ^ "H.R. 7152. PASSAGE".
  6. ^ "H.R. 7152. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964. ADOPTION OF A RESOLUTION (H. RES. 789) PROVIDING FOR HOUSE APPROVAL OF THE BILL AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE".
  7. ^ "TO PASS H.R. 2516, A BILL TO ESTABLISH PENALTIES FOR INTERFERENCE WITH CIVIL RIGHTS. INTERFERENCE WITH A PERSON ENGAGED IN ONE OF THE 8 ACTIVITIES PROTECTED UNDER THIS BILL MUST BE RACIALLY MOTIVATED TO INCUR THE BILL'S PENALTIES".
  8. ^ "TO PASS H. RES. 1100, A RESOLUTION PROVIDING THAT IMMEDIATELY ON THE ADOPTION OF THIS RESOLUTION, THE BILL (H.R. 2516) PRESCRIBING PENALTIES FOR INTERFERING WITH ANY PERSON IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS CIVIL RIGHTS, AND MAKING CERTAIN ANTIRIOT LEGISLATION, SHALL, TOGETHER WITH A SENATE AMENDMENT THERETO, PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR DISCRIMINATION IN THE SALE OR RENT OF HOUSING, BE TAKEN FROM THE SPEAKER'S TABLE, TO THE END THAT SAID AMENDMENT IS AGREED TO".
  9. ^ "S.J. RES. 29. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO BAN THE USE OF POLL TAX AS A REQUIREMENT FOR VOTING IN FEDERAL ELECTIONS". GovTrack.us.
  10. ^ "TO PASS H.R. 6400, THE 1965 VOTING RIGHTS ACT".
  11. ^ "TO AGREE TO CONFERENCE REPORT ON S. 1564, THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT".
  12. ^ Concern was shown for environment
  13. ^ "Alvin O'Konski, 83, Former Congressman". The New York Times. July 9, 1987. Retrieved December 7, 2020.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 10th congressional district

January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1973
District abolished