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Joseph F. Holt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joseph F. Holt
Joseph F. Holt (California Congressman).jpg
From 1959's Pocket Congressional Directory of the Eighty-Sixth Congress
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 22nd district
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1961
Preceded byJohn J. Phillips
Succeeded byJames C. Corman
Personal details
Joseph Franklin Holt, III

July 6, 1924
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedJuly 14, 1997(1997-07-14) (aged 73)
Santa Maria, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Alma materUniversity of Southern California (B.S.)
AwardsPurple Heart
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1943-1945, 1951
RankSecond lieutenant
Battles/warsWorld War II
Korean War

Joseph Franklin Holt III (July 6, 1924 – July 14, 1997) was an American politician who served as a U.S. Representative from California from 1953 to 1961.[1]

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Life and career

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Holt moved to Los Angeles, California, with his parents, at the age of one. He grew up there, and attended the public schools. Holt later enlisted as a private in the United States Marine Corps and was called to active duty in July 1943 during World War II; he was discharged as a Second Lieutenant in October 1945. Holt returned home and attended the University of Southern California where he earned a bachelor of science in 1947. He later engaged in the insurance business and then entered the field of public relations. Eventually he became the state president of the Young Republicans of California and served as Richard Nixon's field director during Nixon's 1950 Senate race against Helen Gahagan Douglas. In January 1951, he was recalled to active duty with the Marine Corps and volunteered for duty in the Korean War. He was wounded in action and was awarded the Purple Heart.

Holt was elected as a Republican to the 83rd United States Congress in 1952, and served three terms until he declined to run for reelection in 1960. In the 1952 Republican primary for the newly drawn 22nd congressional district in southern California, he was aided by the strong endorsement of Richard Nixon. His opponent, state senator Jack Tenney, felt that Nixon, a popular U.S. senator, should have remained neutral in the race, but Nixon countered by saying that Holt represented the sort of young veteran that Congress needed.

During a visit to the Soviet Union in 1955, Holt was held at gun point by a Soviet Army officer, who demanded that he cease taking photographs of a church near Moscow.[2]

In 1956, Representative Holt appeared as a panelist on Art Linkletter's Los Angeles-based television show, People Are Funny. A contestant from the audience was selected; an insurance claims collector from Brooklyn, New York, named Lillian Gelting. She had to determine which of the three men on stage was the real member of Congress, among Holt himself, a Chevron service station owner from the San Fernando Valley named Earl Sager, and a press agent for Ringling Brothers Circus named Norman Carroll. The grand prize was $1,000, when she failed to select the Representative, she chose the press agent first, her award dropped to $250. In her second and final attempt, Lillian chose the gas station owner. Since Lillian was unable to select Representative Holt from the panel, both Sager and Carroll were given "a magnificent Magnavox portable television set, for the finest reproduction of sight and sound." Since Lillian was unable to pick Representative Holt out of the panel, the show sent her on "an all expenses paid trip, on United Airlines, the number one radar airlines in the country, to the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas." This was unique as she claimed that a family trip to the west coast had included a trip to Las Vegas anyway; Lillian did ask Linkletter if the show would "cover anything I lose?" To which Art answered with an emphatic "No," with a laugh; Art contended that, "Since you're a Congressman and can't accept gifts from your constituents without being investigated. Every Congressman spends a lot of time in smoke filled rooms, and so we want you to have your own bag of smoke. And there it is, you can open it up, and there comes the smoke." Representative Holt chuckled and responded, "Just what I've always wanted."

Holt voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and the Civil Rights Act of 1960.[3][4]

Holt later attempted unsuccessfully to return to Congress in 1968, but was defeated in the general election by the incumbent, James Corman. He spent the rest of his career as a business consultant and died in Santa Maria, California, on July 14, 1997.


  1. ^ "Joseph F. Holt III, a 4-Term GOP Congressman, Dies at 73". Los Angeles Times. 1997-07-16. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "HR 8601. PASSAGE".
  4. ^ "HR 6127. CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1957".


U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John J. Phillips
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 22nd congressional district

Succeeded by
James C. Corman

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

This page was last edited on 23 March 2020, at 11:23
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