Eugene Siler

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Eugene Edward Siler, Sr.
Eugene E. Siler, Sr.jpg
Former U.S. Representative from Kentucky's 5th Congressional District
From: January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1965
Predecessor Brent Spence
Successor Tim L. Carter
Former U.S. Representative from Kentucky's 8th Congressional District
From: January 3, 1955 – January 3, 1963
Predecessor James S. Golden
Successor (district eliminated)
Information
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Lowell Jones Siler
Religion Baptist[1]
Military Service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy (WWI)
United States Army (WWII)
Rank Captain (WWII)
Battles/wars World War I
World War II

Eugene Edward Siler, Sr. (June 26, 1900 – December 5, 1987) was a strongly conservative Republican and self-described "Kentucky hillbilly"[1] who served in the United States House of Representatives from the state's 8th (and later 5th) congressional district during the mid-1900s.

A devoutly religious Baptist, Siler refrained from drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, or using profanity.[1] He has been viewed as a forerunner to Senator Rand Paul and Reppresentative. Thomas Massie,[2] both of whom are adamant conservatives with libertarian leanings.

Background

Siler was born in Williamsburg in Whitley County Kentucky in a traditionally Republican area. He attended Cumberland College, graduating in 1920 and later from the University of Kentucky two years later. He served in both world wars, being in the Navy during World War I and the Army during World War II.

He was married to the former Lowell Jones, and they had four children. Among them, his son Eugene Edward Siler, Jr. is currently the senior judge on the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, appointed by President George H. W. Bush.[3]

Political career

Siler ran for governor of Kentucky in the 1951 gubernatorial race; he won the Republican primary[4] though lost the general election to incumbent Democrat opponent Lawrence Wetherby.[5] His support base was mostly in the southeastern portion of the state which traditionally had been a consistent Republican stronghold since the late 1800s.

U.S. House of Representatives

Siler was easily elected to the House of Representatives in 1954 by a landslide in his solidly Republican district, defeating Democrat opponent Mitchel S. Fannin by nearly thirty percentage points.[6] He won re-election in 1956,[7] 1958,[8] 1960,[9] and 1962.[10]

Siler was generally pro-civil rights,[2] voting for the Civil Rights Acts of 1957,[11] 1960,[12] as well as the 24th Amendment to outlaw the poll tax in all federal-level elections.[13] However, he voted against the final passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[14]

Eugene Siler congressional picture.jpg

Along with fellow conservative Republican colleague Harold Royce "H. R." Gross of Iowa, Siler was a strong fiscal conservative who opposed junkets (taxpayer-funded congressional travel), high levels of spending, and government debt.[1] However, his main exception was supporting certain federal measures to benefit his constituency, most notably having sponsored flood control legislation.[2] He also, interestingly enough, voted for the Food Stamp Act of 1964,[15] a key component of the Great Society.

Siler was a strong advocate of school prayer, having been

...100 percent for Bible reading and the Lord’s Prayer in our public schools.[1]

Shaped by his military experiences, Siler was mostly an opponent of interventionism. He was the sole member of the House to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.[1] Due to the fact that he "paired against" the legislation, many records including GovTrack contain no mention of how he voted.[16]

He did not run for re-election in 1964 and was succeeded by Republican Tim Lee Carter.

1968 Senate election

Siler ran for Senate in the 1968 elections on a campaign calling for withdrawing U.S. troops from the Vietnam War,[1] though lost in the Republican primary to Marlow Webster Cook, Sr., the judge/executive of Jefferson County.[17] Cook then narrowly won the general election against Democrat Katherine Peden.[18]

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 FascinatingPolitics (November 2, 2019). The Christian Conservative Who Opposed the Vietnam War. History News Network. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Before Rand Paul, There Was Eugene Siler. Mad Politics: The Bizarre, Fascinating, and Unknown of American Political History. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  3. Siler, Eugene Edward, Jr.. Federal Judiciary Center. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  4. KY Governor - R Primary Race - Aug 03, 1951. Our Campaigns. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  5. KY Governor Race - Nov 06, 1951. Our Campaigns.
  6. KY - District 08 Race - Nov 02, 1954. Our Campaigns. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  7. KY - District 08 Race - Nov 06, 1956. Our Campaigns. Retrieved Mat 28, 2021.
  8. KY District 08 Race - Nov 04, 1958. Our Campaigns. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  9. KY District 8 Race - Nov 08, 1960. Our Campaigns. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  10. KY District 5 Race - Nov 06, 1962. Our Campaigns. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  11. HR 6127. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1957.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  12. HR 8601. PASSAGE.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  13. S.J. RES. 29. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO BAN THE USE OF POLL TAX AS A REQUIREMENT FOR VOTING IN FEDERAL ELECTIONS.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  14. 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 May 28, 2021.
  15. H.R. 10222. PASSAGE.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  16. H.J. RES. 1145. SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT'S ACTIONS IN RETALIATING TO ATTACKS AGAINST U.S. NAVAL FORCES OFF VIET NAM AND PLEDGE U.S. ASSISTANCE TO ANY MEMBER OR PROTOCOL STATE OF THE SEATO TREATY WHICH REQUESTS AID IN DEFENSE OF ITS FREEDOM.. GovTrack.us. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  17. KY US Senate - R Primary Race - May 28, 1968. Our Campaigns. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  18. KY US Senate Race - Nov 05, 1968. Our Campaigns. Retrieved May 28, 2021.

External links

  • Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Profile at Find a Grave