CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE
March 10, 1960
Mr. MCGEE: Mr. President, I have in my hand a publication of the U.S. Information Agency, and I call it to the attention of my colleagues in the Senate at this moment for two reasons. The first is because of the authors of the article and second, because of the subject of the article. The authors are Olga Arnold and Laura Winslow. Olga Arnold is a constituent of mine from Laramie, Wyo., currently employed by our Information Agency in that country. Her husband was a distinguished dean of the College of Law at the University of Wyoming. Olga Arnold is an esteemed writer in her own right. She has turned out an effective article in what is one of the most efficient instruments working for the American people, the magazine Ameryka. That is one reason for mentioning the article.
The second reason is the subject of the article. The subject of this article is our distinguished colleague in the Senate, the junior Senator from Maine, EDMUND S. MUSKIE.
This particular article was for circulation in Poland. It appears in the Polish language. I ask unanimous consent that the English translation, which I have in my hand, be printed in the RECORD at this point.
There being no objection, the article was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:
THE NEW SENATOR FROM MAINE
(By Olga Arnold and Laura Winslow)
There is something Lincolnesque about EDMUND SIXTUS MUSKIE, who has completed his first year as Senator from Maine. Tall and lanky, with craggy features and a ready wit, Muskie has been something of a political wonder. His liberal philosophy, his deep concern for people, and his warm friendliness have helped him capture the popular imagination. Son of a Polish immigrant, 45 year-old Muskie has risen fast on the political scene: he was elected Governor of Maine in 1954, then again in 1956, and last year he went to Washington as the first Democrat ever to be elected U.S. Senator in the traditionally Republican State of Maine.
The life of a U.S. Senator is a busy one. The pictures on these pages follow Edmund Muskie through a typical day in Washington: keeping up with what's going on, attending meetings, discussing proposed legislation, meeting constituents from his home State. No matter what a Senator's previous occupation may have been -- lawyer or farmer, worker or doctor -- after his election he is expected to devote all his time to the business of Congress. His senatorial salary frees him from the need to depend on any other source of income, and he spends most of the year in Washington -- on the job. The few months that Congress is not in session, Senators are busy back in their home States, meeting with constituents to explain their record in the Senate and to sound out grass roots opinions and wishes on upcoming legislation.
Muskie has found his new job in Washington -- as a freshman Senator learning his way through the Capital's complicated customs -- quite different from being the Governor of Maine. "It's like playing crack the whip on ice skates," he says. "When you're Governor, you do the cracking. When you're Senator, you're just the tail of the whip." But though he is only one of many Senators, already in his first year he was influential in furthering causes very close to his heart.
He cosponsored a bill on Federal aid to education, one on Federal standards for unemployment compensation, one for urban redevelopment. He was also a cosponsor of the bill for Hawaiian statehood, and of another providing for efficient coordination of medical and scientific research conducted by various Government agencies.
The problems Muskie now faces are complex and manifold. As a U.S. Senator, he must keep in mind the interests of the whole country, not just those of his State, and the issues before Congress often involve global considerations. Bridging the gaps among nations, Muskie feels, is today's pressing problem; and it was his desire to strengthen the position of the United States "in a people-to-people relationship" which was the prime motive of his running for the Senate. "I believe I am in a position to do this," he remarks, "having my roots so recently in the Old World."
As Governor of Maine, his interests were, of course, focused mainly on the development of that State. It is a rugged and beautiful State, sparsely populated, buried deep in pine forests, with 3,800 kilometers of coastline, fringed by more than a thousand islands. The cold waters of the North Atlantic pounding against its shores are the best lobster-fishing grounds in the United States. Maine's 6,000 fishermen furnish three-fourths of the lobsters consumed in the whole country. Potato growing and poultry raising are two other mainstays of Maine's economy.
As its dynamic Governor, Muskie sought to improve the State's economy by attracting new industries into abandoned textile mills and getting purchasers easy credit terms with out-of-State realty companies, bringing management and labor together to improve shipping facilities, working for development of the port of Portland, and choosing a hard-driving businessman to revitalize the State's department of industrial development. He consulted with the fishermen and recommended local canning and freezing plants. He hired a full-time State geologist to explore the natural resources of the State. He kindled the legislature and department heads with his own enthusiasm, working amiably with both friends and political opponents to get the necessary work done. The result was 25 new industries by 1956, with a projected payroll of $11 million. The State's budget is heavily taxed by highway-maintenance expenses, since Maine roads tunnel through miles of forest and are subject to the deep frosts of northern winter. Therefore, not enough State funds were available for education, which Muskie sees as one of the most important foundations of any human progress, and as Governor he applied for just that kind of Federal aid to education which he now is furthering as a U.S. Senator.
Muskie's concern for the people's welfare and for generous educational opportunities is deeply rooted in his experiences as a youngster.
He is the son of a tailor, Stephen Marciszewski, who, finding that his fellow Americans stumbled over his last name, shortened it to Muskie. Young Edmund Muskie, one of six children, helped pay for his schooling by waiting on tables in winter and working as a bellhop in a hotel during the summer months. He attended a county primary school and the Rumford High School, where he overcame his inherent shyness so successfully that he became the outstanding member of the debating team and was elected class president his senior year. His great height -- 193 centimeters -- was a boon to the basketball team, and he excelled in track sports. His social and athletic accomplishments did not interfere with his studies; he was valedictorian of his class in 1932.
His excellent high school record won him a scholarship to Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. There he majored in history, and again shone as a debater, producing well thought out arguments and flashing a quick wit in rebuttal. Such a talent led inevitably to law and politics. In college he first showed his amazing tendency to break records, and good naturedly accepted a lot of ridicule for becoming the only Democrat on the campus. He achieved his legal education through a scholarship to Cornell University in the neighboring State of New York, graduating cum laude in 1939. He opened a law office in Waterville. Maine, in 1940, but his practice was soon interrupted by World War II. He promptly volunteered in the Naval Reserve and was assigned to destroyer escort duty.
After his discharge as a lieutenant in 1945, he returned to Waterville, where he added politics to his other interests and again became conspicuous as one of the few Democrats on the local scene. At a luncheon club which met daily in a downtown restaurant he was the amiable target of many jibes by the overwhelmingly Republican membership, but he met the assaults with such skillful verbal ripostes that he soon became locally famous. Apparently, people admired this clearheaded young man with strong convictions and a gift for expressing them. Muskie was elected to the State legislature in 1946, and was reelected twice, becoming Democratic floor leader of the State house of representatives in 1948. Since there were very few Democrats to lead, he gained a great reputation for being able to work successfully with the Republicans, and was made a member of the Governor's budget advisory committee.
He had met a pretty and vivacious girl, Jane Frances Gray, at a veterans' meeting in Waterville in 1946, and with his usual persistence, courted her until she married him in 1948. They now have four children, Steve, 10; Ellen, 9; Melinda, 3, and baby Martha, who was born after the last election. As a householder, he developed a great zeal for carpentry which led to a temporary disaster. While finishing the second floor of his small home, he leaned against a stair rail to admire his handiwork. The rail collapsed and he fell two floors, breaking his back. There followed 15 months of agonizing convalescence, during which he moved his family to a lakeside camp where he could rest and restore his strength by swimming. His indomitable fight gripped the imagination of Maine's sturdy people.
He had barely recovered and was beginning to pay off his debts, when he was approached to run for Governor. He campaigned on a program of attracting new industries, of improving State highways and port facilities, of raising teachers' salaries, and passing a minimum wage law for intrastate firms, not already regulated by the Federal minimum wage law. In spite of his recent injury he traveled some 32,000 kilometers, visiting the towns and backwoods of Maine.
He kept his campaign promises so satisfactorily that he was reelected in 1956, and in 1958 he became his party's logical candidate for the U.S. Senate. This campaign was really historic in the annals of Maine politics. Neither party had ever bothered to campaign much -- the Republicans because they were so confident of success, the Democrats because they had no hope. But Muskie went into every logging camp and fisherman's hut; he stopped at every farm and factory, tirelessly shaking hands, trading stories, and listening to grievances.
"He would start in the basement of a factory," an aide recalls, "and work his way up from floor to floor, shaking every single hand. Many of the workers he could call by name, for he is always interested in people and remembers them. Sometimes he would just say 'Hello,' and introduce himself, sometimes he would stop and have a long chat. He never allowed himself to seem hurried or perfunctory. And yet he would sometimes visit six or seven plants a day. He always felt he could do more by seeing people at work and letting them talk to him. than by merely seeing them at the rallies and talking to them. Though he was very effective at the rallies, too."
Muskie himself remembers the campaign with pleasure. "I visited homes," he recalls, "where the voters hadn't ever laid eyes on a living Democrat." He enjoyed seeing the whole State, with its inlets and islands, its great forests. "I'd be elected right now," he told one friend, "If pine trees could vote."
But even without the help of pine trees, he was elected with a plurality of 60 percent of the votes cast. He took the oath of office in Washington on January 3, 1959.
In speaking of the forces that have impelled him toward a career of public service, he gives much credit to his father, the Polish immigrant boy who was born Stephen Marciszewski in a small village near Cracow, landed in the United States in 1903, and lived to see his son twice Governor of Maine.
"My father's father was a farmer," says Senator Muskie. "He shared the intense patriotism and love of liberty which has characterized my ancestors as a people through centuries of oppression. He early determined that his youngest son (my father) should have an opportunity to build a . . . better and freer life than appeared possible under the old tyranny . . . And so it was that, in his early teens, my father was apprenticed to a tailor. At the age of 17, having learned his trade, he left his home, embarking on a new life. At his knee I have heard him reminisce, for hours on end, out of the fullness of his heart, upon his boyhood life -- the close family ties that bound him to loved ones he was never to see again, the warmth of his father's house, the joys and pleasures of his childhood. It could not have been easy to leave them behind."' And yet, Muskie remarks, "What he had lost had been more than offset by what he had gained. Here a man was completely free to reap the benefits of his own integrity, intellectual, and physical capacity, his own work." If he needed an example to prove it, Senator Muskie wouldn't have to look far: he could find it in the solid achievements of his own brilliant career.