Richard Russell Jr.
|Richard Brevard Russell, Jr.|
|President pro tempore of the Senate|
From: January 3, 1969 – January 21, 1971
|Successor||Allen J. Ellender|
|U.S. Senator from Georgia|
From: January 12, 1933 – January 21, 1971
|Predecessor||John S. Cohen|
|Successor||David H. Gambrell|
|Governor of Georgia|
From: June 27, 1931 – January 10, 1933
|Predecessor||Lamartine Griffin Hardman|
|Georgia House of Representatives|
From: 1921 – 1931
|Spouse(s)||None (lifelong bachelor)|
Elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1920 at age 23, Russell was a strong advocate of public schooling and the improvisation of highways.
Governor of Georgia
A fiscal conservative, Russell's tenure as the governor of Georgia was marked with the re-organization of the state governments, the reduction of state expenditures, and a balanced budget. Accomplishing all of it in less than two years, he cut no salaries aside from his own, and would move on to be elected into the U.S. Senate.
While initially a strong supporter of FDR's policies, Russell later began to split with Roosevelt and became a leader in the Conservative Coalition in 1937.
After John F. Kennedy was assassinated, succeeding president Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Russell to the Warren Commission, a body established to investigate he president's death. While most members concluded on the "single bullet theory," Russell, along with John Sherman Cooper, a Moderate Republican from Kentucky, were dissenters of the view, believing the theory was absurd.
Civil rights opposition
Russell, a lifelong opponent of civil rights, had led racist Southern Democrats in opposition to civil rights legislation ever since the 1930s. Democrat filibusters led by Russell included blocking Republican anti-lynching bills and, eventually during the 1960s, trying to halt the 1964 Civil Rights Act before the Senate was able to enact cloture.
Russell has the Russell Senate Office Building named after him. Over forty years after it had been named for Russell, liberals such as Chuck Schumer demanded that the building be renamed for RINO John McCain.