Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor

MONRONEY, MIKE (1902-1980)

Almer Stillwell "Mike" Monroney was born in Oklahoma City on March 2, 1902. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1924 with a degree in journalism and a Phi Beta Kappa key. He worked first as a journalist for the Oklahoma News, then in 1929 took over management of his father's business, the oldest furniture company in Oklahoma. In 1932 Monroney married Mary Ellen Mellon.

Monroney's first venture into politics as a candidate came in 1937 when he ran unsuccessfully in a special election for congressman from Oklahoma's Fifth District. Running again in 1938, Democrat Monroney won the seat. Monroney's twelve years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives spanned the end of the New Deal and World War II, and the beginning of the cold war and the Korean War. Monroney was a strong supporter of wartime wage and price controls and public housing. His most lasting contribution, however, was the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, the first and only major overhaul of congressional machinery in the twentieth century.

In 1950 Monroney was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he authored the legislation establishing the Federal Aviation Administration. He also authored the bill establishing the International Development Association to make low-interest loans to underdeveloped nations. He was reelected in 1956 and 1962.

Monroney came to the Senate during the height of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's controversial hearings on subversive activities, and he played a major role in the censuring of the Wisconsin senator. On more than one occasion, Monroney and McCarthy clashed on the Senate floor. A strong supporter of Adlai Stevenson's presidential bids, Monroney came close to being named to the ticket with Stevenson in 1952. In 1960 he headed the effort to draft Stevenson for a third presidential nomination. Monroney was defeated in 1968 in his bid for a fourth term. He died on February 13, 1980.

Von Russell Creel Oklahoma City University

Creel, Von Russell, and Bob Burke. Mike Monroney: Oklahoma Liberal. Oklahoma City: University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1997.

Fried, Richard. Men against McCarthy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1976.

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