Stephen M. Young

Stephen M. Young

Stephen Marvin Young (May 4, 1889 – December 1, 1984) was an American politician of the Democratic Party from Ohio. He was a United States Senator from Ohio from 1958 until 1971.

Young received a law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio in 1911.

He served as an Ohio state representative from 1913 to 1917, and as an assistant prosecutor of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, from 1917 to 1918. He then served in the U.S. Army during World War I. In 1919, he returned to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office.

In 1922, Young ran for the office of Ohio attorney general and lost. In 1930, he ran for the nomination to be the Democratic candidate for governor of Ohio but lost to fellow Democrat George White, who went on to win the governorship.

From 1931 to 1932, Young served on the Ohio Commission on Unemployment Insurance. In 1932, Young was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He was re-elected to his House seat in 1934. In 1936, instead of running for re-election to the House, Young ran for governor of Ohio again. This time, he lost the Democratic nomination to incumbent Gov. Martin Davey, George White's successor.

From 1937 to 1939, Young served as special counsel to the attorney general of Ohio. In 1940, Young was again elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, one of two at-large representatives elected that year (the other being Republican George H. Bender). Losing that race were Democrat Francis W. Durbin and Republican L. L. Marshall. However, in 1942, he failed in his re-election bid, losing to Bender.

During World War II, from 1943 to 1946, Young served in the U.S. Army, entering as a major and being discharged as a lieutenant colonel. He returned to practicing law in Cleveland and Washington, D.C.

In 1948, Young was elected to the U.S. House for a third time, defeating Bender. He again lost his seat to Bender in the 1950 election. In 1956, Young ran for attorney general of Ohio, but lost to Republican William B. Saxbe. In 1958, Young ran for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican John W. Bricker. Bricker seemed invincible, but Young capitalized on widespread public opposition to the proposed "right to work" amendment to Ohio's constitution, which Bricker had endorsed. Few thought that Young, 70 at the time, could win; even members of his own party had doubts, particularly Ohio's other senator, Democrat Frank J. Lausche. In an upset, Young defeated Bricker. Young knew that Lausche had not supported him and, when he took the oath of office, refused to allow Lausche to stand with him. This broke with the Senate custom of a senior senator escorting the junior senator of his state to take the oath.

Young was re-elected in 1964, defeating Republican Robert Taft Jr.. Young decided not to run for re-election to the Senate in 1970. The Democrats selected Howard Metzenbaum to replace Young, but Metzenbaum lost the race to Taft, who was again the Republican nominee. Metzenbaum eventually won Young's Senate seat back from Taft and held it for the Democratic Party until his retirement.

Young could be feisty and even acerbic at times. He was perhaps best known for returning a letter to a constituent with the note, "Some idiot sent me this letter and signed your name to it." Another constituent once wrote Young on an issue of public policy, ending the letter with a request to have "intercourse" with Young on the issue. Young replied, "Go have intercourse with yourself."

Young lived in Washington, D.C., until his death in 1984. He was buried in Norwalk Cemetery, Norwalk, Ohio.

In the 1998 miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" Young was portrayed by J. Don Ferguson.

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