Cecil Heftel

Cecil Heftel

Cecil Landau Heftel, popularly known as Cec Heftel (born September 30, 1924), is a politician and businessman from Hawai'i. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1976 to 1986 for the First Congressional District, encompassing most of urban Honolulu.

Early years

Heftel was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1924 where he attended public schools. He then moved to Tempe, Arizona to study at the Arizona State University where he obtained his bachelor's degree in 1951. Heftel moved on to the University of Utah and New York University for graduate work. He settled in Honolulu and established Heftel Broadcasting. He owned KGMB-AM-FM-TV and several other television and radio stations across the country. From 1943 to 1946, Heftel left his business to serve in the United States Army.

In 1957 Heftel was a pioneer for what was then called Top 30 programming, when he purchased KIMN in Denver. In one of the nation's most competitive radio markets, KIMN became the dominate #1 rated radio station in Denver. Heftel sold the station in 1960 returning to Hawaii but once again in 1975 re-entered the mainland with the purchase of WHYI-fm, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Identifying the station as Y-100, Heftel hired consultant John Rook, who secured the services of Birmingham, Alabama programmer Bill Tanner. Together they crafted a Top 40 format described by Tanner as being "predictable unpredictability" that propelled the station to the top of the south Florida ratings, where it stayed for a decade until it was sold by Heftel.

Cecil Heftel also purchased WJAS-am in Pittsburgh and WCFL-am Chicago. Both were later sold.

Political career

Upon returning to his business in Honolulu, Heftel decided to run for political office. He became a delegate to the 1972 Hawai'i State Democratic Convention. There, he was elected in caucus to become a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Four years later, he was elected to Congress from the First District and was reelected four more times. While in Office, Heftel was part of the U.S. fact-finding mission to the Philippines, largely responsible for the forced ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Heftel resigned on July 19, 1986 to run for governor, but lost the Democratic primary to John Waihee. Heftel blamed the loss on a smear campaign against him.

In 1998, he briefly returned to the political realm, authoring a book, "End Legalized Bribery", in which he attempted to prove that the current state of campaign finance corrupts politicians, prevents qualified individuals from running for office, and costs citizens billions of dollars in pork barrel spending and corporate welfare. The book also contained arguments in favor of a national Clean Elections law and mandatory free commercial airtime for political candidates.

After 18 years out of the spotlight, the 80-year-old Heftel made a successful return to elective politics by being elected in November 2004 to the state Board of Education for the Oahu-At Large seat.

External links

* [http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=H000449 Congressional biography]

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