John J. Williams (senator)

John J. Williams (senator)

Infobox Officeholder
honorific-prefix =
name = John J. Williams
honorific-suffix =

imagesize =

office = U.S. Senator from Delaware
term_start = January 3 1947
term_end = December 31 1970
predecessor = James M. Tunnell
successor = William V. Roth, Jr.
birth_date = birth date|1904|5|17|mf=y
birth_place = Frankford, Delaware
death_date = death date and age|1988|1|11|1904|5|17
death_place = Lewes, Delaware
spouse = Elsie Steele
party = Republican
residence = Millsboro, Delaware
alma_mater =
occupation = businessman
profession =
religion = Methodist

John James Williams (May 17 1904 – January 11 1988) was an American businessman and politician from Millsboro, in Sussex County, Delaware. He was a member of the Republican Party, who served four terms as U.S. Senator from Delaware.

=Early Life and family= Williams was born May 17 1904, on a farm near Frankford, in Sussex County, Delaware, the ninth of eleven children. He married Elsie Steele in 1924. In 1922, he moved to Millsboro, Delaware where he and his brother, Preston, established the Millsboro Feed Company. In 1946, he served on the Millsboro Town Council.

=United States Senate= Williams was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1946, defeating incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator James M. Tunnell. During this term, he served in the Republican majority in the 80th Congress, but was in the minority in the 81st and 82nd Congress.He was elected to a second term in 1952, defeating Democrat Alexis I. du Pont Bayard, and once again served in the Republican majority in the 83rd Congress, but returned to the minority in the 84th and 85th Congress. He was elected to a third term in 1958 and a fourth term in 1964, both times defeating Democrat Elbert N. Carvel, who at the time of the 1964 election was the Governor of Delaware. During these terms he served in the Republican minority in the 86th, 87th, 88th, 89th, 90th, and 91st Congress. In all, he served for 24 years, from January 3 1947 until December 31 1970, when he resigned. This was during the administrations of U.S. Presidents Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon. Williams was Delaware's first four-term U.S. Senator.

In the Senate, Williams established himself as an opponent to government waste and bureaucracy. A proponent of free markets, Williams objected to U.S. President Harry S. Truman's continuation of many New Deal and World War II policies. He supported tax cuts, opposed the continuation of price controls, and suggested the federal budget could be balanced by slashing one million federal jobs he felt were unnecessary after the Great Depression and World War II. From 1947 through 1948, Williams worked to root out corruption in the Internal Revenue Service, exposing the illegal activities of two hundred employees of the Treasury Department. In 1963, Williams exposed corruption in the office of U.S. Senate aide Bobby Baker, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson's protégé. He voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1967, Williams helped defeat a proposed rule change that would have eliminated the filibuster, a tool that had been of great use to him in exposing government waste and misconduct. In 1968, unable to defeat the tax increase proposed by President Johnson, Williams worked with Democratic U.S. Senator George Smathers of Florida to simultaneously cut federal spending by $60 billion. Williams, as well as fellow Republican U.S. Senator Prescott Bush, was considered a possible running mate for Republican Presidential nominee Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, but removed himself from consideration. He was also considered for a spot on the Republican ticket in 1964 and as a possible replacement for Spiro Agnew, when he resigned as Vice President of the United States in 1973. Williams was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1948 and 1956.

In 1965, Williams began pressing for a law that would require a mandatory retirement age of 65 for all elected officials. Though mandatory retirement was never enacted, Williams announced in 1969 that he would not seek a fifth term in the U.S. Senate. On December 31 1970, he resigned from the Senate just before the end of his term, allowing his protégé, newly elected Republican William V. Roth, Jr., to gain additional seniority in his new class of U.S. Senators.

=Death and legacy= Williams died January 11 1988, in Lewes, Delaware and was buried in Millsboro Cemetery, Millsboro, Delaware. He was a member of the Methodist Church, the Freemasons, and the Shriners. During his career in the U.S. Senate, Williams was called the "Lonewolf Investigator," "Watchdog of the Treasury," "Honest John," "Mr. Integrity," and most often, "the Conscience of the Senate."

=Public Offices= Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1st. U.S. Senators take office January 3rd, and have six year terms.

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