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Roger Kent, (June 8, 1906 – May 16, 1980), American democratic politician.


Roger Kent was the son of William Kent and Elizabeth Thacher Kent, one of seven children. Some of his siblings include Sherman Kent (Yale professor and alumni of the US Central Intelligence Agency) and prominent fine artist Adaline Kent.[1] His father served in the U.S. Congress between 1910 and 1917.

After his family returned to California, Kent attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley beginning in 1919.[2] He then boarded for three years at the Thacher School to prepare for college. He graduated from Yale College in 1928. He stayed in New Haven after graduation, attending Yale Law School, from which he graduated in 1931. Kent practiced law in California and was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1937.

During World War II, he was a Naval officer, receiving the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry in action at Guadalcanal.

After two unsuccessful campaigns as a Democratic candidate for Congress in 1948 and 1950, Kent went to Washington in 1952, at the close of the Truman Administration, as General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Defense, at a time when the Pentagon was under attack by Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Returning to California, Kent became Chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee, helping to elect Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, the second Democratic Governor of the century in what had long been a traditionally Republican state. He remained Democratic Party chair until Brown's re-election defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1966. In the interim, he was also co-chairman of Lyndon Baines Johnson's 1964 Presidential campaign. He was a close, personal friend of Johnson's vice-president, Hubert Humphrey and a favorite political bete noire of fiery San Francisco Congressman Phillip Burton.

Kent married Alice Cooke in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 26, 1930. They had four children, one of whom died at a young age. Roger Kent died in 1980.


  1. ^ Townsend Sherman, Thomas (1920). Sherman Genealogy Including Families of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, England: Some Descendants of the Immigrants, Captain John Sherman, Reverend John Sherman, Edmund Sherman and Samuel Sherman, and the Descendents of Honorable Roger Sherman and Honorable Charles R. Sherman. T.A. Wright. p. 365.
  2. ^ Carla Ehat & Anne Kent, "Interview with Roger Kent," February 15, 1978, Marin County Free Library, accessed June 8, 2008


Roger Kent, "Building the Democratic Party in California, 1954-1966", Oral History Transcript, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1976-1981

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