- Jacob K. Javits
Infobox_Senator | name=Jacob K. Javits
jr/sr=United States Senator
January 9, 1957– January 3, 1981
Herbert H. Lehman
New York State Attorney General
January 1, 1955
January 9, 1957
W. Averell Harriman
Nathaniel L. Goldstein
January 3, 1947
December 31, 1954
James H. Torrens
date of birth=
May 18, 1904
place of birth=
New York City, New York
date of death=
March 7, 1986(aged age |1904|05|18|1986|03|07)
place of death=
West Palm Beach, Florida
spouse=Marian Ann Borris Javits (born 1925)
Jacob Koppel "Jack" Javits (
May 18, 1904– March 7, 1986) was an American politicianwho served as United States Senator from New Yorkfrom 1957 to 1981. A liberal Republican, he was originally allied with Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, fellow U.S. Senators Irving Ivesand Kenneth Keating, and New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay.
Javits graduated from
New York Universityand its law school in Manhattan. He was admitted to the bar in 1927. During World War II, he was a lieutenant colonelin the United States Army.
He was initially elected to New York's 21st congressional district (since redistricted) in the
United States House of Representativesduring the heavily Republican year of 1946. He was a member of the freshman class along with John F. Kennedyof Massachusettsand Richard M. Nixonof California. He served from 1947 to 1954, then resigned his seat after his election as the New York Attorney General.
In 1956, he defeated
Mayor of New York City Robert F. Wagner, Jr., in a U.S. Senate race to succeed the retiring incumbentDemocratic Senator Herbert Lehman. Like Lehman, Javits was for a time the only Jewin the U.S. Senate.
Javits was generally considered a liberal Republican, and was supportive of
labor unions and movements for civil rights. In 1964, Javits refused to support his party's presidential nominee, his conservative colleague, Barry M. Goldwaterof Arizonaeven though Goldwater had said in 1962 that were he a New York voter, he would vote to reelect Javits.
Senator Javits sponsored (1) the first
African-AmericanSenate page in 1965 and (2) the first female page in 1971. His background, coupled with his liberal stands, enabled him to win the votes of many historically Democratic voters. He was highly successful in all elections in which he was a candidate from 1946 to 1974.Fact|date=February 2007
Javits played a major role in legislation protecting
pensioners, as well as in the passage of the War Powers Act; he led the effort to get the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Actpassed. He reached the position of Ranking Minority Member on the Committee on Foreign Relations while accruing greater senioritythan any New York Senator before or since ( as of 2007). He was also one of the main forces behind the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act that by removing immigration quota that favored Western European nations helped to make the U.S. a truly diverse and multicultural country.
1980 Senate race
Javits served until 1981; his 1979 diagnosis with amytrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as
Lou Gehrig's Disease) led to a 1980 primary challengeby the comparatively lesser-known Long IslandRepublican county official Alfonse D'Amato. D'Amato received 323,468 primary votes (55.7 percent) to Javits' 257,433 (44.3 percent). Javits' loss to D'Amato stemmed from Javits' continuing illness and his failure to adjust politically to the rightward movement of the GOP.
Following the primary defeat, Javits ran as the Liberal Party candidate in the general election, having split the Democratic base vote with
United States Representative Elizabeth Holtzmanof Brooklyn and giving D'Amato a plurality victory.
Javits died of Lou Gehrig's disease in
West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of eighty-one. In addition to Marian, he was survived by three children, Joshua, Carla, and Joy.
Among those who attended the funeral were Governor
Mario Cuomo, Mayor Ed Koch, former President Richard Nixon, Attorney General Edwin Meese, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Senator D'Amato, John Cardinal O'Connor, former Mayor Lindsay, former Governor Hugh Careyof New York, and former State Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz.
Also there were U.S. Representative
Bella Abzugof Manhattan; then Senators Nancy Kassebaum Bakerof Kansas, Bill Bradleyof New Jersey, Lowell Weickerof Connecticut, and Gary Hartof Colorado; David Rockefeller, the banker; Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, publisherof " The New York Times"; Victor Gotbaum, the labor leader; Kurt Vonnegut, the writer, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., the actor.
Javits received the
Presidential Medal of Freedomin 1983.
New York's Javits Center is named in his honor, as is a playground at the southwestern edge of
Fort Tryon Park. The Jacob K. Javits Federal Building[ [http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=113749 Jacob K. Javits Federal Building, New York City ] ] at 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan's Civic Center district, as well as a lecture hall on the campus of the State University of New York at Stony Brookon Long Island, are also named after him.
United States Department of Educationawards a number of Javits Fellowshipsto support graduate students in the humanities and social sciences. [ [http://www.ed.gov/programs/jacobjavits/index.html Jacob K. Javits Fellowships Program] , from the U.S. Department of Education website]
*"Who's Who in America, 1966–1967"
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6856871 Jacob Javits at Find-A-Grave]
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