Charlotte T. Reid
|Charlotte Thompson Reid|
|Former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission|
From: October 8, 1971 – July 1, 1976
|Former U.S. Representative from Illinois's 15th Congressional District|
From: January 3, 1963 – October 7, 1971
|Predecessor||Noah M. Mason|
|Successor||Cliffard D. Carlson|
|Spouse(s)||Frank R. Reid, Jr. (died 1962)|
Charlotte Leota Thompson Reid (September 27, 1913 – January 25, 2007), known as Charlotte T. Reid, was a mostly conservative Republican who served as as a U.S. representative from Illinois' 15th congressional district for just over four terms. Her husband Frank R. Reid, Jr. ran for Congress in 1962 only to die after winning the primary, which led Charlotte subsequently being appointed to run for the House seat in the general election.
Prior to her political career, Reid was a famous singer under the pseudonym "Annette King".
Early life, education, and singing career
Charlotte Leota Thompson was born in September 1913 in Kankakee, Illinois to Ethel and Edward Charles Thompson, being their only child. She attended public schools in the city of Aurora and later Illinois College for two years.
She left college without a degree to pursue interests in music, auditioning for Don McNeill's "Breakfast Club". Thompson won a spot and sang for several years, being the show's featured vocalist that millions of Americans listened to. She married Frank R. Reid, Jr. in 1938, and subsequently left her musical career to raise a family and pursue civic interests.
U.S. House of Representatives
In the 1962 U.S. House elections, Reid's husband Frank ran in the 15th congressional district, winning the Republican nomination. However, he died of a heart attack in August before the general election, resulting in Charlotte being picked to be the nominee. She proved to be an effective campaigner, and won the general election over Democrat Stanley H. Cowan by a margin of over twenty points.
Reid faced a strong challenge in the 1964 election cycle from Democrat Poppy Mitchell, a liberal and supporter of President Lyndon B. Johnson who ran on a campaign accusing the incumbent representative of being unconcerned over education and welfare. Mitchell ran on a mostly grassroots campaign, heading door-to-door and serving coffee to constituents. While the race become more competitive, Reid still maintained the advantage of the district being a suburban, mostly conservative area in her favor. She campaigned with fellow conservative Republicans Charles A. Halleck and Leslie Arends, and ran on a platform opposing Johnson's left-wing agenda.
Despite Johnson ultimately defeating Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election by a landslide, which included a large victory in Illinois, Reid still managed to win re-election over Mitchell by a strong margin. Her following re-elections faced no serious challengers.
Reid voted for the initial House passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 though opposed the final passage. She also voted in favor of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Her vote against the final version of the 1964 bill, being the only member of Congress from Illinois to do so, was likely attributed to her pro-small government viewpoints. While little is recorded about her stance on this specifically, it's important to note that most of the Republicans who opposed the legislation supported civil rights but opposed sections of the bill that they believed would expand the size and scope of the federal government beyond the parameters permitted by the Constitution, including then-U.S. senators Barry Goldwater, Bourke Hickenlooper, Milward Simpson, and Norris Cotton.
Reid opposed the wrongly decided Supreme Court decision Engel v. Vitale which banned school prayer, contending that it "encourages agnosticism and atheism." She introduced a constitutional amendment to allow non-compulsory prayer in public schools, having noted that business in Congress were preceded by prayers.
Stances on Lyndon Johnson's policies
While having differed with Johnson on federal programs, Reid supported the foreign policy instituted by him and later Richard Nixon. She visited South Vietnam in late 1965 amidst the Vietnam War, paying for the costs herself to encourage and thank U.S. soldiers. Reid also voted in 1968 for an amendment to an education bill that would ban students protesting the war from receiving federal loans.
Despite having been conservative on other issues, Reid supported and voted in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment, which was ultimately defeated by a grassroots movement led by conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.
|“||I dislike labels as such, but if I have to have one, it would be as a conservative Republican.||”|
- IL District 15 - Nov 06, 1962. Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
- IL District 15 - Nov 03, 1964. Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
- Reid, Charlotte T.. Our Campaigns. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
- H.R. 7152. PASSAGE.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
- H.R. 7152. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964. ADOPTION OF A RESOLUTION (H. RES. 789) PROVIDING FOR HOUSE APPROVAL OF THE BILL AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
- TO PASS H.R. 6400, THE 1965 VOTING RIGHTS ACT.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
- TO PASS H.R. 2516, A BILL TO ESTABLISH PENALTIES FOR INTERFERENCE WITH CIVIL RIGHTS. INTERFERENCE WITH A PERSON ENGAGED IN ONE OF THE 8 ACTIVITIES PROTECTED UNDER THIS BILL MUST BE RACIALLY MOTIVATED TO INCUR THE BILL'S PENALTIES.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
- TO PASS H.J. RES. 208.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
- Charlotte Reid Quits House. The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
- IL District 15 - Special Election Race - Aug 04, 1972. Our Campaigns. Retrieved May 29, 2021.