Happy Birthday, Senator Randolph

Today is the 108th birthday of Senator Jennings Randolph.  He was a man of vision and accomplishment.  He worked tirelessly for West Virginia.

Jennings Randolph was a Senator for 26 years and a member of the House of Representatives for 14 years.  He never considered himself a national or international Senator with all those years of experience.  Senator Randolph once said, “I essentially am a West Virginia Senator.”

There are so many examples of his work for West Virginia.  He was most proud of having created the Appalachian Regional Commission.  His vision to create this federal-state partnership brought enormous results throughout the 13 states Appalachian states. 

If only the leaders of our country had heeded the vision of Jennings Randolph in 1943.  He wanted a national energy policy.  In a speech before the House of Representatives where he said,  “In the future, we will not be able to depend on the importation of oil from any foreign country, even though it may appear now to be a very friendly one.”  This same speech is still being made today. 

For three decades, beginning in 1942 when he was in the House, Jennings Randolph pushed for an amendment to lower the voting age from 21.  He pursued his cause of every opportunity, and on his 11th attempt Congress approved it.  The measure became the 26th Amendment on June 30, 1971, attaining the approval of three-quarters of the states.

The accomplishments of Senator Randolph are a matter of record.  I know he would want me to note his work to establish a Department of Peace.  He introduced that legislation in 1946.  After he had announced his retirement from Congress in 1984 his colleagues enacted the United States Institute of Peace Act. 

On his birthday I just wanted to be sure he was remembered.  We were friends for over thirty years.

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